©2005 Jim Butcher; (P)2008 Penguin Audiobooks
This is a wonderful series with great characterization and complex plot, lots of political machinations without becoming bogged down. This is not just a tolkein clone, Butcher has created new creatures and magic system. as well as intresting characters that are complex not just cardboard cutouts. I would love to see more of his books as audio.
The only annoyance is the random trumpet noise that I have to assume announced the end of a cassette or a CD originally.
Overall a great series well written adn well read.
The audiobook was clearly remastered into chapters which is awesome, but the horns trumpeting were clearly the end of the CD previously.. Please Audible, Go back and take that out..the book is awesome but one more than one occasion it interrupts in the middle of a sentence!
Love Kate Reading reading and Jim Butcher has a unique writing style. 5+ for that but minuses for the horrid conversion from CD.
The Furies of Calderon kicks off the Codex Alera series which follows the life of Tavi, a young boy with no furycrafting skills, in a world where everyone has access to furies and their abilities. The fantasy world of Alera is very interesting and the magic of the various types of furies hooks you in quickly and makes for a diverse set of circumstances. Tavi is hard pressed to get by compared to the rest of the world due to magical handicap but he also learns to use skills that others neglect due to their reliance on furycrafting.
Once I started on the first book it quickly became obvious that I was going "all in" and that I would be listening to the rest of series one after the other. Six books later I was still as satisfied as when I first began the journey and I can definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Epic Fantasy.
Kate Reading, a veteran of the Wheel of Time series, does an excellent narration job as always.
This review applies to the series (posted at book 3 also). Normally, I listen to sci-fi and decided to give this fantasy series a try because of the high ratings the books got at Amazon, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. The characters are excellent, the plot good, etc. The first book takes a little getting use to the new concept of furies and the author doesn't really try to explain how one gets these furies powers. (This probably explains some of the poor reviews on the 1st book) He does implied that it is genetic, but how many people in today's society really understand genetics? Who's ya daddy! The sixth book of this series is due out in November and I looking forward to it.
Kate Reading does one of the best jobs of narration in this series that I've heard anywhere! If you like a narration performance, you'll like this one. Lots of blood and guts, but very, very few 4-ltr words, if you don't count 'CROWs' - this series swear word.
Audible needs to cross-reference these audio books with the book reviews in Amazon, their parent company (I believe). This is especially true where there are few or no reviews on the book. Just a note about my high 5-star ratings - I usually only rate books that I really enjoy, hence high ratings in all my rating history.
Those who have read Butcher (The Dresden Files) are already familiar with some of the author's narrative conventions. You'll find them all here. Maybe that's bad. But once you immerse yourself in the world of Alera, you'll easily overlook those minor issues. Where Butcher excels is in the development of characters you love with motivations you can actually understand. He has also created an unusual and compelling world for those characters to inhabit. Sure, it is not difficult to find parallels with other fantasy epics. I like to characterize this series as Lloyd Alexander meets Anne Mccaffrey ... and that works for me. The narration is about as good as it gets; as others have noted, the production feels a little off sometimes ... but not to the point where it's a problem. Kate Reading (aka Jennifer Mendenhall) is more than up to the task of handling dozens of voices. Furies of Calderon is far from perfect and sometimes predictable. Still, it is a solid, entertaining read/listen that should draw you in if are willing to let it.
This is one of my favorite fantasy series. It had me interested from the beginning and I couldn't wait to read the following books. The main character actually develops and turns into a true hero that you enjoy following in the story. If you're looking for a CHANGE from Robert Jordan's long winded style with plots that go nowhere, then this is your book.
Commodities broker, father, husband, and avid scifi/fantasy/self help fan.
If you follow my reviews, you know that I like to roll the dice, to randomly buy a series on a whim, on the luck of the draw. Sometimes, it's a bust.
This time, it's a definite win, but if you go by how the series was created, you'd probably run in the opposite direction.
Here's one for the books: Jim Butcher is well-known for his "Dresden Files" series, created a fantastic fantasy series on a BET. Yep, a bet. Read on.
To quote the Codex Alera Wiki site, "the inspiration for the series came from a bet Jim was challenged to by a member of the Delray Online Writer’s Workshop. The challenger bet that Jim could not write a good story based on a lame idea, and Jim countered that he could do it using two lame ideas of the challenger’s choosing. The “lame” ideas given were “Lost Roman Legion", and “Pokémon”.
It DOES sound lame.
Well, Butcher makes it work. To the nines.
I've finished this first novel, and I'm enjoying this unique story line of humans with Roman similarities binding with elemental furies. Add unique races, backstabbing, politics, military battles, duels and an interwoven story line that pulls it all together, and you get a fantastic story that's simply put, a VERY VERY good listen.
The whole concept of fighting alongside elemental familiars used here is wonderfully executed. It's deep, well-thought magic-based partnership of man and magical creature is a pleasure to experience.
So, what about the writing?
Again, if you follow my reviews, you know that I love ENGAGING fantasy or scifi writing. Anything less won't do. And this is definitely engaging. There's great characters that plot, backstab, challenge, fight for their beliefs, devour their enemies, and celebrate their victories. You're taken on a great romp of a story, and in the end, isn't that what we all want in a good listen?
I know I do, and I so enjoyed this first audiobook in the series, that I bought the entire series. Yep. And I'm not disappointed with the decision.
Who knew that Lost Roman Legions and Pokemon could knock it out of the park?
Home run, Jim. Home run.
I love to read sci-fi, fantasy, and an occasional murder mystery. If one day I can be a successful author I will consider myself one of the few and fortunate.
This novel just proves Jim Butcher's ability as a great writer. I started out with Dresden files, which is another great series, and stumbled upon furies of Calderon. The novel is nothing like Dresden files, but still very well written. No longer are you inside the head of one character, now third person dominates the narrative. If you are expecting Harry Dresden in medieval times you will be disappointed. Instead think of Romanesque legions and law, complete with a king and a senate. The outer dwellings with stead holds and strategically placed citadels. Now imagine Furies or elementals bonding with humans giving them each unique abilities (varying in strength depending on the character) relating directly to the nature of the fury. Imagine a world with deadly and mystical creatures, savage natives, and treachery from every angle. Can you imagine the new depth of fighting? Attacks from the air, the ground, and even from within your own body. Jim Butcher creates a novel with familiar parallels while at the same time breaking the rules (in a clever and intriguing way) Kate Reading is a great narrator. She is perfect for this type of novel. Her voice is elegant and her British accent sets the mood for the novel perfectly(Think Lord of the Rings narrator). Never have I been so pleasantly surprised as I was when listening to this novel. I'm just one person but I say GET IT! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as my wife and me.
I just finished book 4 of this series and am so glad to have found this series. The writing and characters are deep and well crafted. The language is truly some of the best fantasy I have listened to (read? :-p). Also Kate Reading is a skilled Narrator.
I find myself staying up listening just to hear what is going to happen next. Download it. You wont regret it.
I am thoroughly impressed with these works. I am generally hard to please, as a reader, as there are far too many wannabe authors in the world who think they are good writers. Jim Butcher is an excellent writer and a brilliant story teller. These books get better and better which each in the series. I literally could not put them down and listened to all of them back to back, every chance I had - and the finale is due out November of 2009.
Tavi, the protagonist, is a great "fool" who stumbles his way into a very archetypal hero's journey, and manages to arise victorious through cunning, wisdom and intelligence, not magical powers.
Is this a children's book/series? No way. Very graphic violence, and adult situations (not pornographic though).
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