If a reader likes one book in an author’s series, chances are that he will like another. Or if he likes one series from a given author, then chances are he’ll like a second series by the same author.
This was actually my reasoning to offer Past the Event Horizon free on Kindle Select for the first time ever, and put an ad on Freebooksy. Today it is listed in Freebooksy, but it will be free for a few more days through Amazon. Hint. hint.
So, with this cunning insight, why did it take so long for me to read Jim Butcher’s stepchild series, The Codex Alera? This series has lived in the shadow of the hugely popular Dresden Series. This was supposed to be Butcher’s main series, but Harry Dresden took off with the popularity of Urban Fantasy, and the rest is history.
I’ve read every single one in the Dresden Series in spite of being a sci-fi reader. There are times that I slip up and slide into fantasy.
Okay, I’ll admit it. Mea Culpa.
So with the enthusiastic endorsement of a Powell’s bookstore cashier, I bought and read Furies of Calderón by Jim Butcher.
While I like new and fresh, I still take comfort in old tropes. The orphan boy, the cunning aging king, twists and plot turns, loyal sidekicks, budding romance– all these are favorite story elements for me.
I’m not into zombies or werewolves. So, fair warning.
I was surprised to find the book was written on a dare. If you are expecting Harry Dresden, he isn’t here. However, like the Dresden Files, once you get past the setup, it ‘s page turning action. So, wear a seatbelt or tie yourself down.
Tavi is a shepherd boy living in the sleepy Calderón Valley of Alera. In this world, children bond with elementals of air, water, fire, metal or earth. But Tavi ‘s parents are dead, and he lives with his stalwart uncle who runs the homestead and amazing spinster aunt. They both wield strong magic. Tavi, however, is the only one in the whole homestead who has no elements to do his bidding. He herds the sheep. But don’t count him out.
Far away at the palace, an heirless king faces plots to dethrone him and sends a newly graduated young female spy to the Calderon valley where he suspects treachery is afoot. There is a strong flavor of Rome in the story starting with the king’s name of Gaius Sextus. Other Roman elements also appear throughout the story.
It was part of the dare.
The king is right to suspect wrongdoing, as his longterm trusted advisor has thrown in with a powerful Lord to depose him through collaboration with a barbarian horde–the Marat. They plan to invade the valley and take over the kingdom.
Amara, the royal spy, gets caught in a storm brought on by Furies while traveling to the valley. Tavi saves her life, thinking that she is a mere slave because she has disguised herself by wearing a slave collar and tatty clothes. Sometimes men don’t look past surface appearances.
Soon Amara uncovers the plot and is dismayed to find her old mentor, Fidelias, is a major player in treason against her king. Butcher portrays him as a vicious villain. Grab a tomato.
But no one has accounted for the brave shepherd boy who controls no furies, yet proves that courage and right action contain the strongest of all magics.
The first few pages introduce the characters, and then the action plunges forward and doesn’t stop until the end.
For writing a book from a dare, then turning it into a series, Jim Butcher did very well, and I recommend this to start.
2 responses to “Furious Series in Fantasy”
I enjoyed the first book too, Sheron. I haven’t read the whole serial yet. .
That can be a problem with series. I’ve noticed that readership drops off as the series numbers get higher; yet my later books are my better books.
I sometimes read the first and don’t get around to the others for various reasons. Lack of availability or memory lapse can be the cause even when I liked the first. Breaking convention, I have decided to review even later books on a series I really like. Readers need to know if the later books are worth their time and effort.