The Furies of Calderon, by Jim Butcher, is a well told and perhaps somewhat generic fantasy adventure. The book starts out much stronger than it finishes, and the relationships between some of Butcher’s characters come off as fake or forced. Additionally, I feel like Butcher was prone to over description in some places. This, combined with his sometimes-unusual writing style, created a few rough spots that didn’t flow very well. However, not all is bad; the Romanesque world Butcher has crafted is intriguing, and the story is easy and fun to read. On top of this, I feel like Butcher did an excellent job creating and relating the magic and culture of his world. Ultimately, I would be comfortable recommending this book to someone looking for a fun fantasy read.
- Butcher’s system of magic was familiar, but had a interesting twist. Individuals bond with elemental forces called furies. This bond grants the individual supernatural powers. People with wind furies can fly, those with water furies can heal, and so on.
- Butcher’s writing style is easy to read and digest, although he sometimes makes what I would consider to be odd choices with his wording and sentence structure that seem a bit redundant. Despite this, I can’t recall having to re-read any sections to understand them and enjoyed reading the book itself.
- The overall pacing of the novel was very solid and the story is engaging. While Mr. Butcher doesn’t engage in a major departure from generic sword and sorcery, he does add enough individual twist to the recipe to revitalize it. This results in a rich and interesting fantasy world and a story that held my attention for most of book.
- Most of the moments of sexual tension felt clumsy and unnecessary. There were several times while reading this book that I encountered too-long scenes of sexual tension between certain characters. Reading these sections frequently gave me pause and made me stop to ensure that I wasn’t reading a romance novel. I have nothing against sex and sexuality in fantasy, but a page or two of talking about warm lips, hot breath, hard muscles, burning need, and tracing fingers takes it a little far for me.
- Whenever metal-crafters fought, colored sparks fell from their swords. Nothing terrible really, but this detail jumped out at me every time it came up. It just felt overly flashy and silly to me. These men are already fighting with superhuman speed and ability; the colored sparks just felt garish. When I read the other books in this series, I’ll be looking out for an explanation of this one.
- Bernard and Amara’s “relationship” felt forced and silly to me. Emotionally closed off guy is love struck by a strange woman his nephew found in a storm, whom he believes to be lying. Not a single part of that makes legitimate sense. Had he played the lust angle, I don’t think it would have bothered me as much. However, Bernard takes every opportunity to behave like the ultimate white knight.
- I wasn’t feeling my best when I read it, so that could heavily influence how I look back on it. However, I found the climatic battle scene between the Marat hordes and the knights at Garrison to be slow and boring.
Amara is a Cursor in service of the First Lord Gaius. Most of the realm thinks that her only responsibility is to carry correspondences for the First Lord; however she is much more. Amara, and all other Cursors, are loyal special agents in the service of the First Lord. Strange things have been occurring in the remote northern mountains of Alera. Gaius has sent her into the Calderon Valley to act as his eyes and ears and what Amara discovers could threaten the entirety of Alera.