I’ve first became a fan of Jim Butcher’s work thanks to The Dresden Files TV series. While the show was a poor but improving urban fantasy series it introduced me to the fantastic novel series. I tore through the first 7 books of the series in a few weeks and it has become perhaps my favourite series of books. After I finished reading them and discovering the next story was 6 months away I looked for more of his work and found The Codex Alera.
Now I’ve never been a fan of traditional fantasy so I was a little wary at first, and it took me a while to get used to the change in tone and style from The Dresden Files books, but around half way in to the first book, The Furies of Calderon, I became hooked.
Since First Lord’s Fury is the sixth book in the series I’ll give a bit of background. The story takes place on the world of Carna, a world with many different intelligent species, who seemingly were lost on this planet. The humans of Carna live in the realm of Alera, a realm based on the customs of Ancient Rome, but the Alerans have developed the skill of Furycrafting.
Furies are elemental beings who reside in the air, fire, earth, water, wood and metal of Carna, and the people of Alera have learned how to use and control Furies and master the world around them.
The story starts with a boy called Tavi, who is the apprentice shepherd on his uncle’s steadholt. He has no powers of furycrafting and he is considered a freak amongst his people. When he becomes embroiled in a plot to start a war with the Marat, a barbarian race who killed the Princeps of the realm 15 years prior, he has to use the brains and wit he has to avert a battle that could cost thousands of lives.
From that moment on the story draws you in to its world of different races and tells a strong story with lots of action, with twists and turns. Some fairly predictable with the clues dropped along the way, others that seem a bit cliché at times but always entertaining and hard to put down.
Now I’m going to get on to some details of the final book, so if the stuff so far has interested you then I recommend you stop reading now and go read the series so you don’t pick up any spoilers because there are some pretty big spoilers.
After the death of the First Lord in the battle with the Vord at Alera Imperia High Lord Aquataine has taken command and is acting as Princeps of Alera. He commands the forces of Alera from the city of Riva where the they retreated to after losing the capital city when First Lord Gaius Sextus unleashed the Great Fury below the city in an attempt to land a crippling blow to the Vord.
Meanwhile Tavi is sailing back from Canea with the last remnants of the Canim civilisation, hoping to bring their long time enemy together with Aleran legions in an effort to have a united front against the Vord. When he learns of his grandfather’s death he begins to plan how he can defeat the Vord and claim his rightful place as First Lord in time for there to be a realm left to fight for.
I’ve enjoyed this series immensely and like the way Jim Butcher weaves elements of the story in early in the series that come to fruition much later, and characters aren’t interchangeable, they’re introduced and disappear in to the framework of the story to come back later, not just forced in to the story for the sake of being there, or only there to perform the role the plot demands then disappear
It is one of the few book series that I find hard to put down and fly through in a day or two and leaves me wanting more, or even to go back and read them all over again.