Cover: amazing, love it
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, wood and metal. But in the remote 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 horde – returns to the Valley, Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness will be a power greater than any fury, one that could turn the tides of war...
It’s been a while since I read some epic fantasy, but I was sucked into this world immediately, and I absolutely loved it. It has everything a good fantasy needs: intrigue to dethrone the king, treason, loyalty, war, fighting, magic (furies), a touch of romance, friendship, adventure, and some amazing main characters.
It has two main characters, whose adventures we follow and whose paths cross. Amara, a young Cursor, working for the First Lord in secret. Her mentor, Fidelias, has just betrayed her and his First Lord, but he believes to be working for the greater good, the prosperity of Alera. The First Lord is old and has no longer an heir, and his new wife does not seem to be getting with child. Before the country is torn apart by civil war, he will help put a new First Lord on the throne. Associating with the Marat horde to accomplish his goal, killing thousand of innocent citizens in the process, is a small price to pay in his opinion. But Amara does not agree with him, and she will do whatever is necessary to thwart his plans and save the First Lord. Escaping her capturers, Amara flees as far as her wind fury can take her, but Fidelias will not let her escape that easily. She knows too much of his plans, and too much of how he works. Amara is the best student he has ever had, and she just might foil up his plans. So with the help of the country’s best swordfighter Aldrick, and Odiana, a waterwitch, he sets out to Calderon Valley to meet with the Horde.
Meanwhile, Tavi is trying to find the missing sheep he did not bring in last evening, as he was busy picking rare flowers for a young maiden whose kiss made him forget his duty to his uncle. So now, instead of attending to some very important Hold matters, Bernard and Tavi are searching for the sheep. Tavi is mad at himself, his future hings on those sheep, as his uncle has promised to give him some if he performs his duties without fail. Tavi is the only furyless boy in the village, and he is bullied by the other boys because of that. But if he can sell those sheep, he will have enough money to attend the Academy in town, and learn a profession that does not require him having furyhelp.
But Bernard and Tavi don’t just find the missing sheep, they find something much more dangerous: a herdbane has killed some of the sheep. And where there is one, there is usually its mate, and of course one of the Marat. Together they manage to kill the herdbane before it kills Bernard, but Bernard is severely injured. With the help of his earth fury, they manage to get away, but the Marat is faster, and to draw attention away from his uncle, Tavi lures the warrior after him.
But night is falling, and the furystorm is just waiting to break loose. Dangerous furies are in the winds, and it will become freezingly cold. After escaping the Marat, Tavi will have to find shelter, and fast. But then he hears another voice calling for help and so he finds Amara.
And then there is an other evil man to deal with. Tavi’s aunt Isana finds out firsthand what her neighbour and his depraved son have been up to all those years, tormenting and abusing his slaves. But with some help from an unsuspected corner, Isana manages to escape, taking her fellow prisoner with her. It just shows that a common enemy makes strange allies in dangerous situations.
A very exciting story follows, where they have to reach the Garrison to warn about the upcoming Marat attack. Who will believe them, and who has already been bought by the traitors?
I was really captivated by this story, and I will dive into book 2 immediately. I sure have my suspicions about who Tavi really is though... Especially as Fade is revealed as not being an idiot after all ...
I would have like a little bit more information on how a young person acquires his of her furie or furies. And I did miss the part where Amara got rid of her slave collar that she wore as a disguise ...
I do recommend this series to everyone who loves fantasy and adventures. I enjoy Jim Butcher’s writing style, and it is very different from his Dresden File series.
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian