For a thousand years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies—elementals of earth, air, fire, water, wood, and metal. But in the remote Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy—the Marat horde—return to the Valley, Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness will be a power greater than any fury, one that could turn the tides of war…
-from the Amazon Kindle book description of Furies of Calderon
You might be more familiar with Jim Butcher’s other works, especially his Dresden Files series, but he writes more than just the adventures of Harry Dresden – more recently, he wrote The Aeronaut’s Windlass (which I’ve read and will likely review later), and back in 2004, he wrote the first book in the Codex Alera series – Furies of Calderon. I’d been meaning to read through the series for quite some time, and started the series late last year – and I’m currently working on the last book in the series. Furies of Calderon is the start to what I feel is a really great series – it seems like a bit of a hidden gem in the fantasy world, as I don’t really hear people talk about the Codex Alera series as much as, say, Game of Thrones. The world of Alera gripped me more thoroughly than the world of Westeros – I couldn’t put down any of the books in this series, and Furies of Calderon is no exception.
Furies of Calderon and The Codex Alera series has some very interesting inspiration. The series was, believe it or not, inspired by a writing challenge where, at one point, Butcher said “give me two terrible ideas for a story, and I’ll use them BOTH” – and the ideas given were the Lost Roman Legion and Pokémon. I was a little skeptical about the possibility of the series being based on ancient Rome and Pokemon (both things I enjoy), so I did some research – and it’s apparently true. (Check out the sources at the bottom of this post – there’s an interview at Comic Con with Jim Butcher where he talks about this!) This book series is totally based off the Lost Roman Legion trope and Pokémon. Somehow, Butcher took those two terrible ideas and made an engaging and enjoyable fantasy series out of them – and Furies of Calderon is the first book in this series.