Fire Logic Hardcover – May 17 2002
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In the wake of the successful movie adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, bookstores have been flooded with new high fantasy. Much of it is derivative and badly written; some is well written and singular. Among the rare and glorious successes is Laurie J. Marks's Fire Logic, an original, skillfully written, powerfully imagined novel of war and intrigue, a high fantasy that owes little to Tolkien's trilogy, though both are intelligent, adult works that may also be enjoyed by younger readers.
In the world of Fire Logic, the rare individuals born with magic talent are known as elementals, because they possess the power of fire, earth, air, or water. The fire elemental Emil is a Paladin, a Shaftali soldier-scholar who is about to embark on his most desired studies when the invading Sainnites capture the capitol and kill the wizard ruler, leaving no heir; now Emil must become a war commander in the remnants of the Shaftali army. Another fire elemental, Zanja na'Tarwein, is the Ashawala'i Speaker, but she cannot convince her own people of the full danger of the Sainnites. Karis, a half-giant blacksmith, has tremendous earth powers that might defeat the Sainnites--if she weren't addicted to a potent, deadly drug that steals her will. Her guardian, Norina the Truthken, is an air elemental able to see through any lie, yet she is blind to dangerous truths about both her half-giant charge and Paladin treachery. --Cynthia Ward
From Publishers Weekly
The use of magic to combat war has been used to drive fantasy plots since the genre began some with tepid results, and some, as in this case, with compelling effectiveness. In her first novel since Dancing Jack (1993), Marks has created a work filled with an intelligence that zings off the page. The land of Shaftal, occupied by the nasty Sainnites, has just lost its Earth witch ruler and, in doing so, has seemingly lost the magic that the witch held. What follows is bitter guerilla warfare. Into this war comes Zanja na'Tarwein, speaker for the people of the Ashawala'i, a woman who holds the power of elemental fire. What was not her war suddenly becomes personal when the Sainnites turn on her people and obliterate them in one night's battle. As sole survivor, Zanja becomes a resistance fighter, aiding the Shaftali with her premonitions (the gift of fire elementals) and her determination to survive. Zanja is not alone in her quest she becomes friends with other magicians who play vital parts in the war effort: Emil Paladin, a fire elemental; Norina Truthken, an air elemental and a reader of truth; the seer Medric, whose magic may be fire; and the mage Karis, whose very life is a puzzle. It's a neat trick to make the main character die (mostly) and then be "reborn," but it takes an author who can manipulate emotions skillfully to do it more than once. This beautifully written novel avoids the holes in logic typical of most stories of this nature and includes enough blood and adventure to satisfy the most quest-driven readers.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
The characters are strong and fairly well developed but to be honest not particularly diverse. Almost all the primary female characters are extremely masculine (...). Of course most of the male characters are effeminate and gay, except one who is masculine, and gay. In fact one must wonder just how there are any little Shaftaler's running around at all, the concept of heterosexual romance seems to be totally unheard of in this world. Well if you're interested in that type of romance then I suppose you will find FIRE LOGIC entertaining. For those of us who find it rather uninteresting it is merely dull.
The plot itself is decent. It's not the type that grabs you and won't let you put the book down from beginning to end, but it's good enough to keep you interested and maybe even look forward to the next volume.
Average, professionally done work. Good enough to be RECOMMENDED but don't think you'll be reading the next great American novel.
What I liked best: Compelling characters that seemed real and unique to me, antagonists who had real reasons (in their own minds) for doing bad things, and several sweet twists in the plot that kept me reading.
Aspects I wish were better: Not enough description in some spots so that I didn't feel I was fully SEEING the world of the book. Also, violence that got a bit repetitive. I mean, torture loses its impact if a character gets hurt and healed repeatedly . . .
All in all, though this was a great book, and I will be reading all Ms. Marks previous books and her future ones as well. Well worth buying in hardcover, as this is one you will loan out to friends. :-) Mine is already loaned out.
Author Laurie J. Marks creates an intriguing world with a magic system based on cryptic glyphs and upon the elements of air, earth, fire, and water. Law has always been used to constrain and control these magics, yet the magics remain the center of the civilization--a contradiction that threatens to destroy what is left of the nation. Marks may also please or upset readers through her frank discussions of the gay and lesbian relationships between many of her characters--relationships that are perfectly understood and accepted within her fantasy world.
FIRE LOGIC is enjoyable reading, yet Marks falls short of delivering the full emotional intensity deserved by her subject matter. The physical and social suffering that Zanja survived shoud have been powerful and compelling--instead, it was matter of fact. The love between Zanja and Karis was described, but not really felt. This was almost a truly wonderful novel.
Most recent customer reviews
The G'deon who ruled Shaftal died, without an heir. Thus Shaftal had been thrown into turmoil and the Sainnites began invading. Read morePublished on Oct. 23 2003 by Detra Fitch
Laurie J. Marks is an undiscovered treasure of a writer. Her plots are some of the most original I've ever read -- see also Dancing Jack -- and her characters feel, if alien, like... Read morePublished on March 10 2003 by Tracy L. Benton
I struggled with the first hundred or so pages of this book, adrift in the world Marks was creating and unsure how to orient myself to the characters. Read morePublished on July 31 2002 by Katya Reimann
I've been trying to figure out why I liked this book so much, and concluded that it's because it's ultimately a pretty inspiring story of many different kinds of courage. Read morePublished on July 23 2002
Generations of people in Shaftal lived together in a balance of the elements Earth, Air, Water and Fire. Then the ruling earth witch dies without choosing a successor. Read morePublished on June 7 2002 by C. Penn
The G'deon who ruled Shaftal died, without an heir. Thus Shaftal had been thrown into turmoil and the Sainnites began invading. Read morePublished on May 14 2002 by Huntress Reviews
Fire Logic is a masterful novel that works as both a riveting adventure and an in-depth look at character and the relationships between people. Read morePublished on May 3 2002 by Silver