Furies of Calderon (Potential for Spoilers)
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Summary from www.bn.com:
In the realm of Alera, where people bond with the furies—elementals of earth, air, fire, water, wood, and metal—fifteen-year-old Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. But when his homeland erupts in chaos—when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies— Tavi's simple courage will turn the tides of war.
At the start of Butcher's absorbing fantasy, the first in a new series, the barbarians are at the gates of the land of Alera, which has a distinct flavor of the Roman Empire (its ruler is named Quintus Sextus and its soldiers are organized in legions). Fortunately, Alera has magical defenses, involving the furies or elementals of water, earth, air, fire and metal, that protect against foes both internal and external. Amara, a young female spy, and her companion, Odiana, go into some of the land's remoter territories to discover if military commander Atticus Quentin is a traitor-another classic trope from ancient Rome. She encounters a troubled young man, Tavi, who has hitherto been concerned mostly with the vividly depicted predatory "herdbanes" that threaten his sheep as well as with his adolescent sexual urges (handled tastefully). Thinking that Amara is an escaping slave, Tavi decides to help her and is immediately sucked in over his head into a morass of intrigues, military, magical and otherwise. Butcher (Storm Front, etc.) does a thorough job of world building, to say nothing of developing his action scenes with an abundance of convincing detail. This page-turner bodes well for future volumes. Agent, Jennifer Jackson at Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Oct. 5) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
The tone and style is completely different from the Dresden books. There are no harry-like comments....you know the sort...the short phrases that just ooze sarcasim. But there is plenty of witty banter (just of a more subtle nature) to keep one entertained. Yet while the tone is all different they both share a similar theme....love, loss, loyalty and betrayal.
I also admire the writing of Jim Butcher so much more after starting this book. The "voice" is so different that they could almost be two people. Only a truly talented author can accomplish that....and those authors are a rare breed.
If you are a fan of the Dresdon books...and also enjoy the more typical fantasy type novels then I highly recommend that you try this series as well.
Yes its different.
But just because something is different doesn't make it bad.
The one little irk I had with it was towards the end when Kord trapped Isana and Odiana in the barn. I think that JB waited too long to getting back to them and then there just seemed to be some inconsistencies with the timeline when he finally went back to them.
I also thought that the character of Aldrick went through an abrupt character change. In the begining he seemed like this uber tough willing to do whatever it took to get his job done even if it meant killing everyone in his way. While Fidelias was the one who tried to convience that maybe killing everyone wasn't always the best way to go. Then as things progressed they seemed to swap personalities a bit. IDK - maybe that's just me....or maybe JB got his index cards mixed up.
Overall though I thought that the story was well written and the characters were well devloped and I look forward to seeing how the story progresses.
I feel that whenever you first meet a character they start out very one dimensional, and as information is added to their “picture” as the book goes on, that they are fleshed out.
I think in this case we were introduced to Aldrick and Fidelias at extreme moments in their lives, so our first impression is of these extremes.
Aldrick as the bad cop. Fidelias as the good cop. Aldrick wants to scare her into talking, and Fidelias wants to rely on the bond he has with Amara to convince her to work with them. Also we are also seeing him interact with one of the few people he’s ever actually cared about. We very rarely in the see him that “weak.”
Next we get another extreme with Fidelias. He is a Cursor, and they do what needs to be done, and in a way this is a mission. He needs to stop any word from getting out. If that means killing, he has been trained for that. He has also just betrayed someone that he cares for and because of that needs to see her dead. How else is he supposed to act, but to internalize those feelings and concentrate on getting the job done, and keeping himself alive.
So here, very quickly we see these two extremes of Fidelias which gives us a very distorted picture of him right off, without much more to fill out your picture of him.
I'm reasonably sure I know who Tavi and Fade are, but I'm not sure why they are where they are or with the people they are with although I can make a predictable educated guess.
I felt the time line with Isana in the warehouse was a little off and the fact that she could not notice anything going on outside, not even shouts seemed strange to me.
And regarding Aldrick and Fidelias I suspect they are both deep down very similar and "cold blooded" when it comes to getting the job done. I would be interested though to see if Alrick ever has to make a decision in battle between saving Odianna or completing the mission. I think it was very telling that Fidelias only tried to save Amara because he was scared she would see the dagger.
Overall awesome book. It was a really good page turner and the action kept on coming. I am saving book 2 till this weekend so I have 2 whole days to devote to it if I need with out having to put the book down and go to work.
Just had a thought, is it ever mentioned about a "timeline" for being resurrected from the dead so to speak as in how much time do they have to bring someone back?. Also is there a limit to how many times one can be brought back.
It is obviously difficult and dangerous as mentioned in the scene when Bernard is injured for both healer and patient. So for me that says a lot about Odianna's powers as she revived Fade and presumably revived (or had to seriously heal) Bernard (again) while still recovering herself from a pretty bad ordeal.
What does everyone think?
It could so easily have been a great book.
It just needs the Furies and crafting explaining properly, and all the minor plotholes fixing. Isana is a watercrafter, how can she light a furylamp which would be a fire ability?
How do Fid and Aldrick fail to kill anyone at all whilst at BernardStead, and how do Bearnard and Islana escape?
Why dies Gaius not command any Knights Aeris
Why do we not hear about the other types of crafter - Fauna etc.
Why is wood crafting combined with earth
etc etc etc.
Still I enjoyed it and will read the rest.
ETA: Also as a first novel this one was the weakest. Things do get better, although JB never really does explain fury crafting you just sort have to try to pick it up as you move along. Maybe at the end of Book 6 he'll have a list of Appendices (ala LOTR) that will further explain things about the history of the world.
It seemed to me as well those who had multiple furies generally had complimentary furies such as wood and earth. Perhaps when the furies are very similar in nature it is possible to acquire another fury? But lets face it some of those scenes would not nearly have been as cool if JB played by the rules.
Reading_fox until you mentioned them I did not really pay attention to those plot holes. I was having to much reading the book! but now you mention it how did Isana and Bernard get out and no one else die hmmmm? Perhaps Aldrick had a change of heart decided he really was a nice guy and that with out Tavi, Amara, Isana and Bernard present there was no point to go on a killing rampage?
"Remember where you are," Fidelias said. "This is the most dangerous area of the Realm. Powerful furies, dangerous beasts. This isn't one of the old plantations of the Amaranth Vale. It breeds strong crafters. Did . . . Think about it."
Aldrick shrugged. "They don't go armed. They're Steadholders, not warriors. We could kill them all."
"Probably," Fidelias said. "But what if that retired Legionnaire Steadholder is a strong crafter to boot? What if some of the other holders here are that strong? Odds are some of them would escape--and since we don't know who the boy we're looking for is we'd never know if we got him."
Then when Tavi let's the horses out and Aldrick and Odiana come in and inform Fidelias there priority is to go and get the boy who knows of the Marat and the agent of the First Lord helping him, and there is no time to go on a killing rampage.