reviewed by Maryom
The reason I picked up this book to read must be one of the strangest ever. I was having a conversation on Twitter about authors and their hair (don't ask!), and was informed that Jim Butcher was a male author with a head full of long flowing locks and that if I hadn't read any of his books I was missing out. So the only thing to do was dash off to the library ASAP and find a Jim Butcher book. Amazingly they had several in, but most fell partway through the Dresden Files series. Picking a series up in the middle can be confusing so I went for this book, Furies of Calderon, the first of the Codex Alera series.
The Aleran people have a special gift - the ability to join with one or more Furies - elementals of earth, fire, air, water or metal - to give them extra strength and powers. All except one boy, Tavi, who finds himself at the centre of the Aleran people's struggle to survive when invaded by their savage enemy and betrayed by power-hungry traitors. Tavi is, of course, to the plot.
So, did this bizarre method of choosing a book work - yes, strangely, it did. It's not the best fantasy novel ever but it's a long, long way from the worst. The characters appear as real people rather than 'cardboard cutouts' or stereotypes. The action moves along quickly and, with a desire to know what happens next, so does the reading. There's rather a lot of political manoeuvering and an awful lot of fighting - a little bit too much I felt at times, not in the amount of blood and gore, but just in the blow by blow accounting of who struck whom. On the whole though an enjoyable, interesting read and I will go on to read the next in the series, library stock permitting.
Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - Orbit
Genre - Fantasy