Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher

Cover Image Furies of Calderon

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, and metal. But now, Gaius Sextus, First Lord of Alera, grows old and lacks an heir. Ambitious High Lords plot and maneuver to place their Houses in positions of power, and a war of succession looms on the horizon.” “Far from city politics in the 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 – return to the Valley, he will discover that his destiny is much greater than he could ever imagine.” Caught in a storm of deadly wind furies, Tavi saves the life of a runaway slave named Amara. But she is actually a spy for Gaius Sextus, sent to the Valley to gather intelligence on traitors to the Crown, who may be in league with the barbaric Marat horde. And when the Valley erupts in chaos – when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies – Amara will find Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness to be a power greater than any fury – one that could turn the tides of war.

***Ani’s Review***

I realized that I’ve been remiss in reviewing this series by one of my favorite authors, Jim Butcher. The Codex Alera begins with the Furies of Calderon. This is a story woven around Tavi, a teen that finds himself in the middle of a potential war. This introduction to the Calderon Valley is where we meet Tavi, a typical teenager who thinks he is more capable than his elders, and who also lands in a lot of trouble. I can’t really say enough how much I enjoyed this book and this series. Jim Butcher writes as if he’s been thinking about this world for a very long time. The characters are well developed, the world is full and rich, and there are plenty of obstacles for young Tavi from the Calderon Valley to overcome. A totally engrossing and entertaining read. The other books in the Codex Alera series (all featuring a growing Tavi) are just as gripping and thorough as The Furies of Calderon. Happy Reading!

Some fun ones for you…

I generally don’t read a lot of Middle Reader books unless they have a lot of hype to them (Harry Potter, Percy Jackson etc.) and those’ve already been talked about so much that it would be boring for everyone if I wrote about them… The ones I want to mention here are Kat Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis, Epic by Conor Kostick, and The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. All of these are great for 10 and up. I hope you find one you like…

Kat Incorrigible came out just last month and is 1st in a series of books about the youngest daughter of 3 girls whose mother has passed away but left them a legacy in magic. This first book was a ton of fun to read if not the most original story. Kat is a lively character and lots of girls can relate to her. They dealt with learning about their magical legacy and what society thinks about that, being 1 of 3 girls and what role they play in that relationship, and coming of age issues. A fun, light read with a bit of drama added to the mix!

The City of Ember came out in August of 2008 and was turned into a movie with Tim Robbins and Bill Murray (check it out on Netflix). This story  is about a community of people living in a”ruined domed city surrounded by a dark unknown, was built to ensure that humans would continue to exist on Earth, and the instructions for getting out have been lost and forgotten.”  This book has male and female protagonists which is not too common in YA books. The 12 year old main characters discover clues that help them find a way out of the city but in the quest for the truth they become wanted criminals by a leadership that is afraid of change. I really enjoyed the novelty of this story. The details about how they lived and their limited knowledge was very interesting. They know what a lightbulb is and that their stove runs on electricity but not how either are made. No one knows how to make fire except by accident and everyone is afraid of it. It is a city of hoarders as well. In a place where everything is running out, people make a living on selling and reusing old bits and pieces and nothing is ever thrown away.

Epic released 5/08, “On New Earth, society is governed and conflicts are resolved in the arena of a fantasy computer game, Epic. If you win, you have the chance to fulfill your dreams; if you lose, your life both in and out of the game is worth nothing. When teenage Erik dares to subvert the rules of Epic, he and his friends must face the Committee. If Erik and his friends win, they may have the key to destroying the Committee’s tyranny. But if they lose . . .” I had to use the summary from the book flap otherwise I’d have to go on and on to describe this book. Erik was a typical teenager who likes to game. He was very focused on one goal and once he accomplished that goal,one no one else had ever succeeded at, he became sort of a hero in his little town. So much so that he became the master strategist in a very real game of life and death. I was surprised that adults would just hand over the reins so to speak but I was corrected by a twelve year old book club member. He reminded me that a gamer is always learning the game and this character had spent so much time in the game that we was qualified to lead. It was a thought provoking comment. I liked the concept of this story and by the end of this book I was intrigued about the sequel, Saga,  but haven’t read it yet because I don’t think it centers much on the evolution of “New Earth” which is what I was really curious about.