Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Furies of Calderon Book one of the Codex Alera by Jim Butcher

Jim Butcher
Furies of Calderon Book one of the Codex Alera
Read by Kate Reading
Penguin Audio
Approx. 20 hours
Audiobook published 2008

Jim Butcher has created a wonderful new world of fantasy in the series known as Codex Alera. This first book in the series introduces all the main characters and the creatures and events that make Alera a great world in which any reader could get lost.

The narrator, Kate Reading, delivers the punch when needed in this epic adventure and when needed vocalizes the perfect emotional tone during the various emotions in the tale. Kate Reading's voice easily relays the sense of loss or hope, and when needed, she can drum up the excitement for all the battle scenes. Jim Butcher has written all the words to describe the various scenes and settings that make this an exciting read, but Kaet Reading's delivery makes it so the audiobook listener gets completely immersed in the land of Alera.

The people of Alera have special abilities called fury-crafting. The Alerans have tamed the furies to assist them in their every day jobs. The furies represent the main elements; earth, metal, wood, fire, water and air. The earth furies manipulate earth and stone and allow earth fury-crafters to gain more strength and be great hunters/trackers. The metal crafters make superior swordsmen. The wood crafters manipulate plants and trees great for making camouflage and increasing accuracy of arrows. The fire crafters not only manipulate fire but can also use the fire furies to manipulate human emotion. The water crafters tame the waters to communicate over long distance, heal others, keep a youthful appearance and detect emotions. The air crafters have the ability of flight and increased speed and agility as well as the ability to bend air to listen or see long distances.

All these powers make the Alerans masters of their domains and yes some small skirmishes may erupt but the land is governed by Gaius Sextus, First Lord of alera. Gaius is getting older and after the death of his son, lacks an heir, so a war of who could be First Lord seems imminent.

In the Calderon Valley there lives a "disabled" boy by the name of Tavi. Tavi lives on Bernardholt with his uncle Bernard an earth and wood crafter, and aunt Isana, a water crafter. The reason Tavi is disabled is that he lacks any fury crafting skills, and this does not happen in Alera. Tavi has learned to use his intelligence to get out of a situation instead of relying on furies.

In Furies of Calderon, which is book one of the Codex Alera, which so far there are six books in the series, the Tolkienesque adventures in Alera are unleashed. Tavi has lost his flock of sheep and he and his uncle go out to find them, instead they find that the Murat (a violent and dangerous race of humanoids that have tribal affiliations with certain animals in the realm) are invading the Calderon Valley, after a near fatal encounter Bernard is wounded and may die if not healed soon, Tavi stays to mislead the Murat warriors so that Bernard can be taken to safety. At the same time a strong Fury Storm erupts in the valley and Tavi has to seek shelter or die from the Murat attack or the furies in the storm. As he's running for shelter he finds a runaway slave girl, Amara (who is actually a spy sent from Gaius to find what is happening in the Calderon Valley) and risks his life to help her.

At this same time three mercenaries find their way to Bernardholt seeking shelter from the storm. The three are looking for Amara to keep her from warning the steadholders of the coming war, and are also there to start the war so Gaius looks week and House Aquitaine can take the throne.

Amara takes Tavi into the night to warn the Count ruling calderon, since Tavi is the one who has seen the Murat. During their escape Tavi and the slave with a secret, Fade, are captured by the Murat, Amara and Bernard make it to the garrison to warn the count but meet opposition from a second in command that does not believe them and barely prepares the garrison for the battle, Isana and one of the mercenaries are captured by an evil steadholder who wishes to "break" them and make them his slaves.

As the separate parties go on their own adventures working to stop a war in Alera excitement abounds in this first book of what is proving to be a great fantasy series. Be prepared for a fun read with some all the highs and lows of the emotional gamut.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:32 PM Comments: 0