Furies of Calderon (Book One of the Codex Alera series) first intrigued me when I found that one of the reasons Jim Butcher wrote it was in response to a challenge to create a quality novel from dubious cliches. One of these ingredients was, believe it or not, Pokemon.
When I first heard of the book, I was only familiar with Jim Butcher through his gritty, urban fantasy Harry Dresden books so I was curious how he would fare with a high fantasy novel. I shouldn’t have been, but I was surprised to see that he handled it quite well. The writing was tight and I found the suspense and action pulled me in about halfway through the first chapter.
Had I not known beforehand about the influence of Pokemon on the book, I would have missed the correlation. In Furies, the cute little creatures become ethereal, powerful forces that can, in some instances, be called on to assist their “owners,” but in other cases, the furies can be dangerous, even lethal beings that lend greatly to the book’s suspense.
If you’re looking for a high fantasy novel with a different twist, you might enjoy Furies of Calderon, but if the activities of a hormone-driven young man bother you, beware. The book does contain sexual content–which, incidentally, I feel was not necessary to move the story along.
Here’s the blurb on the back cover:
For a thousand years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies–elementals of earth, air, fire, water, wood , and metal. But in the remote Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy–the Marat horde–return to the Valley, Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness will be a power greater than any fury, one that could turn the tides of war…”
Furies of Calderon, Codex Alera, Book 1)
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
Paperback, 512 pages
Published in 2005