Wow! Rarely do I read a first-in-a-series book that I'm this impressed with. Granted, the first part was a little slow, but once the characters were all set up, the story really took off. I listened to the audiobook and loved the narrator. I was a bit surprised they chose a female. But she did fabulous. Please excuse the spelling of the names if I get them wrong.This world that Butcher has built is truly amazing. It's built around the idea of people, common or no, having these deep connections with the elements, called furies. These furies are like living things that sort of build a relationship with their people. Some people have command of more than one fury, and some, like the main character Tavi, have none. Tavi is a teenage boy who is suddenly thrown in the middle of an upcoming war between the King of Calderon and a would be usurper. Though he controls no furies of his own, his inner strength and cunning prove to be invaluable to his family and country. He has a lot of help along the way, and the sides-tories are plentiful and engaging. There are a couple of really brutal/disturbing scenes that made me want to cover my ears, but they just make the scenes more vivid.I usually read female authors, as I'm a sucker for mush, but I'll definitely be reading more of this author! There is romance, gore, brutality, and epic fantasy all rolled into one. I'm left excited to get to the next book, and frustrated because I have to wait for it at the library. Butcher wrote this story in such a way that you have a pretty good idea of what is coming up, but getting there is so interesting that you don't care. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy or paranormal.