The Codex Alera by Jim Butcher

If you are tired of waiting for the Song of Fire and Ice series to finish up, have watched all the episodes of the TV show and are looking for another epic fantasy series, why not try Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series?  It’s not quite as intense as George R.R. Martin’s series, but it is fun.  There are two great things about it: first, the series is finished, so you don’t have to wait for the next book to come out, and second, it was written as a bet.  Jim Butcher was challenged on an online writers’ forum that he could write a book based on a bad idea.  Butcher took up the challenge, upping the ante to two bad ideas.  Those ideas?  The Lost Roman Legion and, of all things,  Pok√©mon.

Set in an Imperial Roman style world.  All humans have one or more "furies" magical creatures who are associated with the major classical elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water with metal and wood tossed in for good measure.  These furies allow their "crafters" to manipulate their respective elements for various purposes.  Watercrafters can help heal, serving as doctors.  Firecrafters can manipulate emotions, etc.  The more furies one has control of grants people Citizenship in the Empire, with all duties and privileges that entails.  And then there's Tavi.  He has no furies, and is the only one in the world not to.  Guess who the hero is?

In the world of the series, every human has the ability to control “furies”, creatures that are able to manipulate earth, fire, wood, water or metal.  The more control you have, the more powerful you are, and you get to become a Citizen in the Roman empire-type place they live in.  Of course, this is a fantasy series, and there needs to be a unique hero.  Enter Tavi: he’s the only known person who doesn’t have a fury.  He needs to rely on his wits rather than his power to make it in the world.  With an incoming invasion of beasts and an emperor with no heir, there’s a lot to deal with.

I realize that this series isn't new.  In fact, it finished in 2009.  However, the most interesting part is how it came to be.  That alone is a great selling point.  It doesn't hurt that the books are pretty entertaining on top of it.  
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