My rating: 4 of 5 stars
To start off with, Furies of Calderon was a good book. I enjoyed it. It read quickly and, for the most part, was believable in a fantasy way. First, an overview of the magic.
Magic, in the world of Alera, is more akin to elementals or pets than traditional magic. I find this to be a refreshing and unique perspective. Rather than spells and memorization, the user generally has to pit their elemental to a task. The stronger the elemental, the bigger tasks they can accomplish. The more stamina they have as a person, the longer they can perform such tasks. I like this very much and find it interesting to both read and think about.
There are a number of characters in Furies of Calderon most of which are well fleshed out. There were a few too many instances of tears for my taste but this book seemed to have a bit of a YA audience in mind so perhaps that’s okay. Some of the races were a bit… stereotypical as well. We haven’t been introduced to them all by the end of this first book, but the Marat had very few features that weren’t stolen directly from Native Americans. Hopefully, some of the other races will have more thought put into them. My only real problem with the book is the lack of weight.
If you read George R.R. Martin’s Song series, you know how deadly a fantasy setting can be. It felt like Butcher was going for a setting with more weight but just couldn’t quite bring himself to kill the characters off. This is hardly a problem for most readers as they expect 8/9 Fellowship of the Ring members to make it out alive but I felt a bit betrayed. I have a feeling in later books, the death count will be higher but for now it felt a little too safe.
That one comment aside, it’s a good read and you should enjoy it. If you like fantasy with a very innovative and unique magic system, you’ll like Furies of Calderon.