Furies, addendum

What I forgot to mention in the last post about The Furies of Calderon: two more linguistic oddities, besides the grammatical and cliche issues.  First, there was the weirdness of the touches of Rome throughout.  Centurions.  Legionaires.  Latinate names like Gaius and Pluvus Pentius – and then others that felt less Roman.  It took a lot of getting used to; it was just so out of keeping with the rest.  The magic was nothing out of Roman legend; the structure of society, such as it was, didn’t strike me as particularly inspired by Rome; Amara was a countess, which isn’t very Roman, I don’t think.  It was just peculiar.

The other thing was something that always irritates me in fantasy: the commingling of mundane animals with creatures completely specific to the writer’s world.  It bugs me no end to have horses and gargants on the same page – especially when, to me at least, it’s completely unclear what a gargant is supposed to be.  At first I was picturing something like huge oxen – water buffalo, only moreso.  Then later they seemed more like elephants.  Dunno.  So, there were horses and sheep and crows – and the latter were reviled, used as a curse, and that was nicely done and well explained within the context – and there were the gargants and slives (lizard-y things, and nasty), and then, on page 335, the sudden appearance of velites.  Which – I don’t know.

The furies themselves are a bit of a conundrum.  It’s a clever idea; he gets most of the information about them across pretty well… And I understand it’s a glancing blow at Rome after all:  “Furies in Roman mythology were female chthonic deities of vengeance or supernatural personifications of the anger of the dead” … but these aren’t, er, those.  These are more like elementals – and Jim Butcher sure should know from elementals.  I like the way they’re used, is the upshot here; I just kept getting distracted by the fact they’re called furies.  Partly because there’s the whole other definition for the word “fury” – I kept expecting them to be, you know, angry.

There’s hope for the next book; there’s something between Tavi and the Marat girl whose name I can’t remember.  Hopefully there will be more information about Tavi’s parentage, and why it’s secret, and Bernard and Isana’s past lives.  And, of course, Fade’s, though that may have a fairly simple answer.  As I said, it’s not what I hoped for – but there’s plenty of room for improvement.  Fingers crossed.

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