Author: Jim Butcher
Series: Book 1 of The Codex Alera
Pages: 512 pages
Summary: Tavi of Bernardholt is an awkward teen growing up in a valley far off from the world of politics and the Emperor. He is singularly unique, for unlike anyone else in Alera, he does not have any furies--elemental manifestations of magic--to call his own. Considered at an endless disadvantage, he cultivates his wits and mind to make up for the lack.
When old enemies appear in the valley, Tavi must struggle save not only his family but the whole of Alera, along with the woman claiming to be a slave, Amara. With no magic, can he do it?
Notes: I loved this. OMG Squee, lol. I once tried reading it, and I'd put it back, but I now know why--because it's so complete different than Butcher's other works (The Dresden Files) that it completely threw me off.
This is written in rotating third person POV, and Butcher uses it effectively. BUtcher is, too, a master of world building and even more of the long-stretching plot, as you will see when you read on in this series.
Tavi is imminently clever and yet not unrealistically so. He reminds me of no one quite so much as Miles Vorkosigan in Bujold's Vorkosigan series--held at a disadvantage by his people and using his intelligence and ingenuity to make up for the lack. He is also, because of his "disability," more open minded than any of his brethren, and this continually stands him in good stead. Like Miles, I love Tavi.
I fell in love with all of the characters in this book and even more so as the series continues on. Butcher even does one thing most people don't do--some of his "bad guys" have very good reasons for doing what they're doing. Even mad Odiana--who I kinda heart in a twisted sort of way--has a reason for being how she is.
Rating: 8 / 10
Other: One thing I can say is that I wouldn't read these books immediately after or before his Dresden books, for it threw me off the first time and they're so different it can cast this series in a poorer light. It is very much a horse-and-sword book, a quest, and if you don't like that sort of thing, you probably won't like this.