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Fire Logic by Laurie J. Marks
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Fire Logic (edition 2004)

by Laurie J. Marks

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4011126,637 (3.88)26
Member:litalex
Title:Fire Logic
Authors:Laurie J. Marks
Info:Tor Fantasy (2004), Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:SF/F, LGBT

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Fire Logic by Laurie J. Marks

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Hooray for queer feminist fantasy! I need more of it in my life.

Shaftal is a conquered nation. The ruling earth witch died without leaving an heir, and most other leadership has been killed by the invading Sainnites. The Shaftali are fighting back in a guerrilla war that’s lasted fifteen years, but as they fight Shaftal is razed to the ground around them.

Zanja is an ambassador and warrior, with nothing left but revenge. However, her fate soon becomes tied to that of Shaftal and two of its citizens. Emil is scholarly Shaftali general, fighting with reluctance. Karis is a blacksmith and earthwitch, who while possessing great powers is bound by her addiction to a deadly drug.

The world of Fire Logic is without sexism or homophobia. All three of the main characters I discussed above are queer, and the main romance is between two women. And there’s never drama or angst about being with someone of the same gender. It’s presented as natural and normal and not even worthy of comment. Women are present in an equal number and hold all the same positions as men, from soldiers to judges to councilors, on both the Shaftal and Sainnite sides. There’s never any hints of gender discrimination, anywhere.

I knew going in that Fire Logic had an elemental magic system, but it wasn’t anything like what I was expecting. Each element seems to be more like a set of personality traits with some associated powers. Zanja and Emil both have fire-logic, which seems to means they’re impulsive and fall in love easily (or was this just a stereotype of fire-logic people?) and have some minor prescience. Karis has powers that are more like what I associate with earth element magic, but I don’t know if this is because she’s earth elemental or because she’s specifically an earth-witch. Actually, I don’t know if there’s any difference between the two. Could there be a fire-witch? Fire Logic is very vague about how the elemental magic works, but it didn’t bother me much.

Fire Logic is a book set among the dirt filled camps of the rebel army and the ordinary farms of the countryside. There may very well be some cross over with military fantasy, although it seems more focused on the characters than the battles and tactics. Guns and explosives are commonly used, making the technology a bit different than what I normally see in second world fantasy.

I liked all of the central protagonists, although I’m not sure I could say why. Maybe it’s because all of them felt messy and flawed and human. Karis especially stood out to me for those reasons, and I’m glad that the next book looks to be focusing on her. And make no mistake, I will be reading the next book in the series. Maybe not right away, since the library doesn’t have a copy, but I will be getting to it eventually, I swear.

There are a couple of things that I do want to note. The first is that Fire Logic does magically cure disabilities. I was hoping we’d see how a character can be plot important and paralyzed, but nope. And while it’s not relevant to the book itself, I can’t figure out what’s going on with the cover. None of the characters in the book are blond warrior women. Zanja, who is a warrior woman and the protagonist, has brown skin. It looks a lot like this cover was whitewashed. I know authors don’t have any control over these things, but it’s a real pity.

Anyway, as I’ve already established, I liked Fire Logic a lot and will be reading the sequel. This is definitely recommended to anyone looking for fantasy set in a gender egalitarian world or focusing on queer characters.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | Jul 26, 2016 |
An excellent beginning to a really promising series. Several damaged women--the last survivor of a slaughtered tribe, a gifted blacksmith with a drug addiction, and their few friends--band together to fight against the invaders that have destroyed their lands. It's got wonderfully imaginative storytelling, complete with a really great new style of magic set in a believable yet fantastic world. However, what really drew me in were the characters. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
I really loved this book, but any description I can think of makes it sound really boring. It reminded me of a less fucked-up KJ Parker, sort of. Also please ignore the totally lame cover.
Just, if you like fantasy, and having people of various genders and races and sexualities where being of that gender/race/sexuality isn't the point of the story but just part of life, you should read this book! ( )
  JenneB | Apr 2, 2013 |
I tried. I wanted to like it. Reviewers whose opinions I value liked it. I just couldn't. It could be the breadth of the story: this is not something that can be told to my satisfaction within one book, which is one of my criteria. I also just couldn't bond with Zanja.
  GinnyTea | Mar 31, 2013 |
An extremely well written fantasy with lesbians as the main characters - I've died and gone to heaven! ( )
  jms1203 | Jun 24, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Essentially, Fire Logic is a war novel in a fantasy setting. But in Marks' gentle care, it becomes much more. As the characters search their souls for their motives, and make mistakes, and seek to justify their actions we are drawn into something deeper than just a question of how does the land find peace. It becomes a rather quiet look at how does each person find peace.
 

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laurie J. Marksprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dobbs, Anita RoyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jennings, KathleenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For three enduring friends, who, with their elemental talents of fire, earth, water, and air, bound into this book their insights, truths, joys, and intelligence: Rosemary, Delia, and Didi
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In the border regions of northern Shaftal, the peaks of the mountains loom over hardscrabble farmholds.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 081256653X, Mass Market Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:21 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Earth-Air-Water-Fire: These elements have sustained the peaceful people of Shaftal for generations, with their subtle powers of healing, truth, joy, and intuition. But now Shaftal is dying." "The earth witch who ruled Shaftal is dead, leaving no heir. Shaftal's ruling house has been scattered and destroyed by the invading Sainnites. The Shaftali have mobilized a guerrilla army against these marauders, but every year the cost of resistance grows, leaving Shaftal's fate in the hands of three people: Emil the Shaftali Paladin: an officer and a scholar whose elemental powers make him an excellent judge of character; Zanja the Diplomat: the sole survivor of a slaughtered tribe, her fire powers bringing the gift of prescience; and Karis the Metalsmith: a half-blood giant whose earth powers can heal and create, but only when she can muster the strength to hold off her addiction to a deadly drug that suspends her will." "Separately, all they can do is watch as Shaftal falls from prosperity into lawlessness and famine. If they can find a way to work together, they may just change the course of history."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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