Codex Alera by Jim Butcher
While I can’t say that I loved this series, I did certainly enjoy it. For the most part. Some parts require a little slogging through, but I am glad I stuck with it until the end.
First of, I dig the worldbuilding. I liked the way people bonded with elementals, and the abilities these bonds afforded them. It’s a pretty interesting take on magic. I also really liked the Canim. Giant wolf/man beasts with an unshakable sense of honor, and substantial thirst for blood.
My least favorite part was some of the POV changes. It wouldn’t be epic fantasy without them, and I understand why it was important to see what was happening elsewhere in the world, but some of the characters were just not interesting to me. I groaned out loud each time (and there are plenty) the story shifted to Amara. Had the story been all Tavi all the time, I would have given it 5 stars.
Let’s talk Tavi. He is kind of awesome, and we get to watch him grow up, from an unsure teen boy who screws everything up and who alone in the land has no magic, to this unstoppable superpower who can single-handedly change the tides of war. His story is a little predictable. Standard epic fantasy plot line, but I didn’t enjoy him any less because of it.
The romance parts of this series made me happy. Holy crap, right? Me liking the love story in a fantasy book. Madness.
Kitai is amazing. Like Tavi she grows up during the course of the book, and we get to watch the transformation through Tavi’s eyes. From their first meeting when she tries to kill him, and he thinks she’s a boy, to the passionate (and sarcastic, and also a little bloodthirsty. I have a type, okay?) young woman she becomes. Kitai is a Marat. Considered a barbarian by most folk. Her kind don’t have magic of their own, but they sort of soul bond with their animal companions. And from the moment Tavi saves her life, he becomes Kitai’s… animal companion.
Soul bonding, you guys! Who doesn’t love that?
There is a lot of war and fighting in this series, and a lot of research and detail went into describing war tactics and military procedures. Perhaps a little too much. It gets a little bogged down in things I didn’t need to know.
One of the main complaints people seem to have about this series is that Jim butcher does not like to kill main characters off. You know, I am okay with that. I don’t generally enjoy my favorite characters being brutally slain, thank you very much. Perhaps that’s why I don’t read a whole lot in this genre.
|Book 1: Furies of Calderon
In the realm of Alera, where people bond with the furies-elementals of earth, air, fire, water and metal, fifteen-year-old Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. But when his homeland erupts in chaos-when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies-Tavi’s simple courage will turn the tides of war.
|Book 2: Academ’s Fury
In “Furies of Calderon,” bestselling author Butcher introduced readers to a world where the forces of nature take physical form. But now, it’s human nature that threatens to throw the realm into chaos.
|Book 3: Cursor’s Fury
The power-hungry High Lord of Kalare has launched a rebellion against the aging First Lord, Gaius Sextus, who with the loyal forces of Alera must fight beside the unlikeliest of allies-the equally contentious High Lord of Aquitaine.
Meanwhile, young Tavi of Calderon joins a newly formed legion under an assumed name even as the ruthless Kalare unites with the Canim, bestial enemies of the realm whose vast numbers spell certain doom for Alera. When treachery from within destroys the army’s command structure, Tavi finds himself leading an inexperienced, poorly equipped legion-the only force standing between the Canim horde and the war-torn realm.
|Book 4: Captain’s Fury
After two years of bitter conflict with the hordes of invading Canim, Tavi of Calderon, now Captain of the First Aleran Legion, realizes that a peril far greater than the Canim exists-the mysterious threat that drove the savage Canim to flee their homeland. Now, Tavi must find a way to overcome the centuries-old animosities between Aleran and Cane if an alliance is to be forged against their mutual enemy. And he must lead his legion in defiance of the law, against friend and foe–or no one will have a chance of survival…
|Book 5: Princeps’ Fury
Tavi of Calderon, now recognized as Princeps Gaius Octavian and heir to the crown, has achieved a fragile alliance with Alera’s oldest foes, the savage Canim. But when Tavi and his legions guide the Canim safely to their lands, his worst fears are realized.
The dreaded Vord–the enemy of Aleran and Cane alike–have spent the last three years laying waste to the Canim homeland. And when the Alerans are cut off from their ships, they find themselves with no choice but to fight shoulder to shoulder if they are to survive.
For a thousand years, Alera and her furies have withstood every enemy, and survived every foe.
The thousand years are over?
|Book 6: First Lord’s Fury
For years he has endured the endless trials and triumphs of a man whose skill and power could not be restrained. Battling ancient enemies, forging new alliances, and confronting the corruption within his own land, Gaius Octavian became a legendary man of war-and the rightful First Lord of Alera.
But now, the savage Vord are on the march, and Gaius must lead his legions to the Calderon Valley to stand against them-using all of his intelligence, ingenuity, and furycraft to save their world from eternal darkness.