I’ve heard a lot of great things about Butcher’s books, and although he’s most famous for his Dresden Files series, all the things I heard about that series didn’t spark my interest in it. However, Codex Alera is a different matter; the combination of two totally different concepts that I loved: Roman and Pokemon? In a high fantasy book? Now THAT is something that sparked my interest. I’ve had this book on my TBR shelf for a year already, and now that I finally got around to it, I’m sad that the first book didn’t really meet my expectation.
“The course of history is determined not by battles, by sieges, or usurpation, but by the individuals.”
To sum up my review in the simplest way possible: this is truly an “okay” book. I mean it, the book isn’t bad, it’s decent enough but there’s also nothing special about it. The plot is good enough when it features Tavi as the POV, the rest of the characters are mostly okay, the world-building is good enough, the prose is vivid and the action scenes are well written. However, almost all of them get bogged down by something that I didn’t enjoy.
Picture: Bernard and his Earth Fury, Brutus. Fanart by sandara on deviantart
For the first book of any fantasy series, I prefer the book I read to focus more on the characterizations first rather than the actions. Don’t get me wrong, I seriously love action scenes in the book I read, but for me, the characterizations are more important, especially for a huge six-book series like this; it is pivotal for me to be able to care about the characters first. I seriously think this is the most action-packed first book to a high fantasy series I’ve ever read; out of 600 pages, I’m pretty sure that almost half of them are action scenes. The thing is, well-written action scenes are pointless to me if I can’t bring myself to care about the characters fate, and that’s exactly what I felt about this book.
The other problems I had, other than the book being very formulaic and predictable, Butcher over explained everything too many times and yet, he didn’t elaborate on the Furies magic system and limitation. I’m sure it will be explained in the future installments but for now, seems like everyone just conjured this Furycrafting without any problem. This is not a bad thing, just not my preferences.
“No enterprise of greatness begins with treachery, with lying to the people who trust and love you”
Although my review sounded really negative, I still think of Furies of Calderon as a good start to a series but for now, I don’t know if I’ll continue the series until the end or not. I heard from trusted friends and reviewers that the series only gets so much better as it goes, which brought me to the decision to see how the second book goes first before dropping the series entirely, so I will still continue for now, but not immediately like I planned. I will recommend this to anybody new to adult fantasy but for a veteran of the genre, I must say that the start of the series disappointed me and I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it to you.