Finished reading the first book of the new Jim Butcher series yesterday. The book is called Furies of Calderon: Book One of the Codex Alera. Ladies and gentleman, this is high fantasy at it's best.
Honestly, I think that Butcher may have begun carving himself a niche with the likes of Terry Brooks and the almighty Tolkien. Okay, this may not be LotR caliper stuff, but it is some of the best fantasy that I have ever read.
I have even opined that Furies of Calderon is better than the Dresden Files books. Rachel doesn't necessarily agree with me, although she liked this book very much, as well.
We are introduced to a 15 year-old boy named Tavi, who, at the beginning, is a simple shepherd's apprentice, simply trying to get his own sheep so he can eventually afford to go to the Academy. The people of Alera apparently all have the ability to command what are called "furies," which are all related to one of the basic elementals, earth, fire, water, and wind. Standard stuff, you know, but so well written that it held my interest all the way through.
Tavi gets himself into some major trouble/adventure by doing a favor for (any guesses?) a stupid girl! How many adventures/misadventures are sparked by infatuation, eh? This results in Tavi discovering, quite by accident, a plot to overthrow the High Lord, Gaius Sextus. Wackiness and adventure ensue immediately. It's great fun.
I'm telling you, this is a "must-read" for any fans of serious fantasy.
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