Furies of Calderon
by Jim Butcher
Reviewed by Coral
The people of Alera are ruled by their First Lord, Gaius. But all is not well in their world, discontent is brewing and, with the death of Gaius' only son and heir, many believe the old line is failing. Talk of rebellion is stirring, as is rumors of a rogue army, pay rolled by rich lords. Worse, the Marat, an old enemy of Alera, have returned. Barbarians, who control vicious war birds have once again returned to the Calderon Valley where they killed Gaius' son, another weapon, Gaius believes, his enemies intend to wield against him.
To save himself, and his kingdom, Gaius sends his agent, Amara, into the Calderon Valley to learn the truth behind these rumors. Along the way she'll encounter friends (including Tavi, a boy who lacks the Aleran power to summon the furies of nature) and enemies (a traitorous agent, a traitorous swordsman, and a crazy witch). And, if she is to save her kingdom, she must somehow earn the trust of the Valley's inhabitants, to help her stand against the enemy army about to come marching through.
At four times in this book - yes, I counted - there's a moment when a character, or a group of characters, really could have saved themselves future grief if they just killed the enemy/prisoner/person-who-knows-too-much right away. Instead, they either don't or they intend to wait - for what? Them to kick your ass? - and the chance goes away. I think this happens mainly because the people who would have otherwise ended up dead are needed further down the plotline road, which only serves to make it seemed contrived.
In two such cases, it results in these huge tangents from the main plot, which I found pointless and stupid.
And man, did I hate the ending. To me it read just like Gangs of New York, with everything building to one giant battle that you get gypped of seeing when the dust settles. Just for this alone, it loses the B rating I was going to give it.