Warning: systemic sexual violence
In this extraordinary fantasy epic, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Dresden Files leads readers into a world where the fate of the realm rests on the shoulders of a boy with no power to call his own…
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…
“Because a sound tree doesn’t have bad roots, Amara. No enterprise of greatness begins with treachery, with lying to the people who trust and love you”
This was okay. It had an interesting idea. Take the Roman Legion and combine it with Pokemon. Wondered how that could possibly work, and I’ve heard good things about it! I came in expecting to love this, but I kind of finished with reservations. I should love this, I love Dresden, I’ve been enjoying this type of story lately. I just kept picking at it instead.
This is a story where a young boy without powers and a young woman with powers but has never lead before step up against an enemy that no one knew of. This enemy has become allies with a powerful enemy they’ve had forever that is mysterious. There are politics and danger and the fear of inadequacy involved.
Half of this book, the perspectives with Amara and Tavi have the feel of a young adult novel. They’re trying to find themselves, make their way in the world. They try and fail, and try and succeed despite what they thought they could do. Tavi, despite being 15 feels closer to 10, especially the part where he is competing against another. Amara’s age is never said, but I assume 22-25 years old based on her experiences to date, but she feels closer to 18 years old.
The other half of this book, with the perspectives of Bernard and Isana, Fidelius, Odiana, and Aldrick and all the adults feel more like a dark fantasy novel. We see the darker part of the world. This is where all the violence happens. And this is where the attempted rape, sexual violence, human trafficking, and the control necklace of evil comes in. This is not a very pretty world, and I have no idea why they’re trying to save it so hard.
Some of the perspectives are better than others. I like Tavi the most, and he does feel like the main character of the story. The problem with him being the main character is that after the first half of the book, he barely even shows up – it is adult time then. I would like Bernard if I didn’t think it so damn creepy that he wants a relationship with Amara, despite the age difference. As near as I can tell, Bernard is around 40 based on what we know of his life. It wouldn’t be so creepy if it was an arranged marriage, or if the entire novel took place over more than about 3 days time, most of which Amara was lying to him. I just felt creeped out, and there really was nothing indicating them even knowing each other enough to want each other that much.
The hardest thing about The Furies of Calderon is it just tosses you in the deep end and expects you to keep up – without actually explaining anything. At the end, I was still left guessing about most of what was going on. It didn’t matter what it was over. It was the politics of the realm, it was the furies, it was how Tavi could possibly be furyless, it was the enemies, the Marat. Hell, I don’t even really know anything about the world itself, or how this Calderon Valley is even connected to Alera, other than being away from the capital.
I’m really hoping this gets better as the series goes on. Or at least picks a direction in which it wants to go.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Codex Alera series page!