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Fire Logic: An Elemental Logic Novel by [Marks, Laurie J.]
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Fire Logic: An Elemental Logic Novel Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in Elemental Logic (3 Book Series)

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Length: 346 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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About the Author

Laurie J. Marks: Laurie J. Marks's Elemental Logic novels (Fire Logic, Earth Logic, and Water Logic) received multiple starred reviews and the first two both won the Gaylactic Spectrum Award. Marks final Elemental Logic novel, Air Logic, is forthcoming. She lives in Worcester, Massachusetts, and teaches at the University of Massachusetts.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1072 KB
  • Print Length: 346 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0312878877
  • Publisher: Small Beer Press; Anv edition (16 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00E5LUOSI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #289,031 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top customer reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Fire Logic is one of those books that I'd heard people talking about, usually people recommending LGBT-positive SFF, but which I'd despaired of getting my hands on due to being on the wrong side of the Atlantic (so minimising the chances of getting hold of the paperback secondhand) and hideously expensive ebook versions. However it recently appeared (alongside Archivist Wasp and other books from the same small press publisher) in a Humble Bundle promotion so I snapped it up...

Anyway, on to the book itself, which is the first of a series of 4 (with 3 published to date), covering the four elements which comprise the different kinds of magic in Shaftal, where all the books are set. At the start of Fire Logic, the earth witch leader of Shaftal has recently died and the fellow members of his council have mostly been killed by an attack from the Sainnites, who're waging an ongoing war in order to try and take over the country. Much of the early story is told from the perspective of Zanja, a powerful fire witch who is a representative to the council from an allied tribe and whose people are later wiped out by a Sainnite attack. Forced onto the back foot, the people of Shaftal then wage a guerilla war against the Sainnites and Zanja eventually joins them in this.

Since I don't want to spoil the storyline too much for anyone who's going to read it, I suppose the best way to sum up Fire Logic is to say that even fighting the Sainnites isn't enough to let people always overcome their worst natures. Zanja and her friends find that there are as many problems caused by their supposed allies as their enemies, with the line between the two being blurred by the appearance of a seer who the Sainnites have been using but who is now certain he ought to be on the side of Shaftal instead.
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By Detra Fitch TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Jan. 2004
Format: Hardcover
The G'deon who ruled Shaftal died, without an heir. Thus Shaftal had been thrown into turmoil and the Sainnites began invading. The Shaftali created a guerrilla army to withstand the Sainnites, but slowly they began to lose.
Emil was a Paladin and of fire blood. Zanja was the Speaker for people, also of fire blood. Norina was a Truthken and an air elemental. Karis was a giant, worked as a metalsmith, and an earth witch. These four souls would be called upon by Fate to determine the course of their people.
**** The story followed Zanja as she and the others dealt with war, torture, honor, politics, betrayal, lots of courage, and a bit of friendship. There were parts that left me breathless. Often reality intruded upon my reading and I found myself eager to return to this magical world as quickly as possible. Author Laurie J. Marks proves her talent for creating realistic characters and awesome plots! Recommended! ****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It took me a couple of tries to get stuck into this book, but that was down to outside interference rather than a fault of the narrative itself. One I was sucked into the plot, it was a real struggle putting it down. I actually hit my cousin when he tried to prise it from my hands so he could read the blurb. I finished the book yesterday, but am now in that unstable state I get in when I just finish reading a really good book. The only remedy?

Read the book again.
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By Detra Fitch TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Jan. 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The G'deon who ruled Shaftal died, without an heir. Thus Shaftal had been thrown into turmoil and the Sainnites began invading. The Shaftali created a guerrilla army to withstand the Sainnites, but slowly they began to lose.
Emil was a Paladin and of fire blood. Zanja was the Speaker for people, also of fire blood. Norina was a Truthken and an air elemental. Karis was a giant, worked as a metalsmith, and an earth witch. These four souls would be called upon by Fate to determine the course of their people.
**** The story followed Zanja as she and the others dealt with war, torture, honor, politics, betrayal, lots of courage, and a bit of friendship. There were parts that left me breathless. Often reality intruded upon my reading and I found myself eager to return to this magical world as quickly as possible. Author Laurie J. Marks proves her talent for creating realistic characters and awesome plots! Recommended!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow start, worth the wait. 13 Dec. 2013
By Supified - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book starts out slow, with a lot of lore thrown at you fairly quickly, but bare with it because it gets better. As the book continues you start to get a broader view of the politics and the situation with which the world exists in. The style is at some points dry but in others the story flies and I couldn't stop turning pages. I would say one of the strongest parts of this book is the intrigue and the moral ambiguity. There really isn't a situation where someone gets revenge or the bad people get whats coming to them, rather there isn't a lot of judgement placed. Good people and bad people make good and bad decisions. Good and evil is not a black and white concept and I really appreciate that. One of the weakest aspects of this book is the world still feels a little scant. Though there are plenty of nameless characters, there arn't enough people who arn't characters in the world. Just about everyone named in the beginning has an important role to play later on. It gives a slight ghost town feel. Another weak spot is the romance. No, I'm not complaining that there are gay characters, I prefer that in my books as it exists in the real world, it was just a little mushy for my taste. Ultimately though I think the book is very good and worth reading. I'd recommend it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you work with the elements, you'll love these books 12 Mar. 2013
By CDS - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Many reviews here that echo my appreciation for these books, so I'll address another aspect of them - their approach to the elements. Like many, the spiritual work I do works with the elements. I loved getting to know another facet of the elements through the characters in these books. Particularly Fire, with which I'm very familiar and at home - but the author's approach to fire was so refreshing, and deep. The approach that, for Fire, what is imagined and envisioned is as real or more real than what takes place in shared reality has given me a lot to think about - mostly the connection between that truth, for Fire women, and their lack of groundedness, because we continue to try to ground in the world of shared reality, and that's often not our reality.

The Earth and Water books were enlightening for me because I am not as at home in those elements, and getting to know them through characters who embodied them also gave me a whole other way to relate to them.

Mostly I loved, as the books went on, the way the elements turned to one another to bring what the elements, all four, bring - a whole, and complete tapestry in how to walk in the world and shape it.

I read a lot of fantasy, hoping for the books that do for me what this series did. Whether your spiritual work is with the elements or not, if you appreciate Ursula LeGuin and the Riddlemaster of Hed series - books you read more slowly because there's so much richness there - I think you'd like this series very much.
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book 24 Sept. 2015
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book! It largely escapes the typical problems with a lot if quasi-medieval fantasy: the government makes sense, everything isn't magically sparkly clean, and most characters have complex and understandable motivations- no one's evil just for the sake if evil. While an element based magic system is nothing new, it's presented in a refreshing way. I particularly liked the portrayal of divination. I also love the diversity or characters - a number of main characters are queer and there's racial and religious diversity (which is realistic - anywhere with trade routes will accumulate diversity)

There are a number of surprising plot twists though they still follow logically from what's been previously established
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book could not ask for a better heart than Zanja. 12 July 2016
By B R Sanders - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
NOTES ON DIVERSITY
Hey, are you looking for a diverse book? MAYBE YOU SHOULD READ THIS ONE.

Seriously. Zanja, one of the POV characters, is a lesbian woman of color who also experiences an extended period of disability.1 Karis is half-giant and a smoke addict. Her addiction greatly impacts her functioning day in and day out. Emil is a soldier, and continues to be a soldier well into middle-age despite a consistent difficult knee injury. The lot of them are poor; living hand-to-mouth. Emil is classically educated, but many of them are not. And, so many of the characters are queer--and various flavors of queer.2

REVIEW:
When the leader of Shaftal dies without naming a successor, the country falls apart. The Sainnites take advantage of the power vacuum and slaughter the bulk of Shaftal’s remaining leaders, throwing the country into chaos and war overnight. Zanja, a trader in training from the northern mountains, witnesses this and witnesses in the intervening fifteen years the havoc the war wreaks across the land of Shaftal. But she can do little about it until the war comes knocking at her tribe’s door. It isn’t until then, that her own tribe is threatened by the Sainnites, that the story really starts. Because then Zanja’s fate becomes tied to Shaftal’s.

This is a long and complex book. Zanja is not the only narrator--that paragraph is my paltry attempt to summarize the book without giving anything away, but it doesn’t get into the depth of the book. Karis, the half-giant addict is also a narrator. So is Emil, the old paladin commander Zanja winds up befriending. And Medric, a young seer who holds the fate of both the Sainnites and the Shaftalese in his hands. It is a fantasy epic, but instead of kings and castles, it is an epic about farmsteads and ironworkers.

This is a wonderful, thoughtful book populated by wonderful, thoughtful characters. It could have been tighter, but that’s ok with me. I don’t mind a shaggy book. Your mileage may vary. The thing that most irked me about FIRE LOGIC--and this is a fairly minor point, though it is enough that i am willing to knock it down a star--is an uneveness in the worldbuilding. There was such a fine and deep eye towards some elements, things like the historical use of specific words like porringer and dray horse that lent the book an authenticity I loved. The elements of guerilla warfare were intricately drawn with almost too much detail. And yet I still have little sense of the magical mechanics of the world. It’s stated that elementals are rare, but yet most of the characters I came to know over the course of the book are elementals. And if they are so rare, how are they handled? Would Karis really be left to be a blacksmith? Would Emil really simply be a paladin commander? Perhaps, this makes sense given the current state of disarray in Shaftal, but is there no specific training or guidance for people with these gifts? There was, at least, for Zanja among the Ashawala’i. It was because she was a fire elemental that she was first introduced to Shaftal as a trader, after all. Why are the elementals of Shaftal untrained? Or are they? It was a huge open question for me throughout the whole of the book given how prominent and important elemental magic turned out to be for the plot, and without some of these questions answered, the fire logic that drove the plot felt like contrivance more than once.

I also wanted to know more about the peculiarities of the elemental magic and how they impacted, specifically, the way these gifted people are perceived and embark into relationships with others. Yes, I understand that fire logic makes Zanja and Emil and Medric all very intuitive and prescient. All three of them seemed to be prone to fall in love awfully fast and awfully hard. Is this bad writing? Or is it a trick of the magic? I want to give Marks the benefit of the doubt here, but without some explanation, there is room to lean towards it seeming just like pat instalove. But then again, it could be that fire logic--that weird prescience, a kind of imprinting. I wanted more insight into how that works, if that was the case. How would Zanja or Emil’s prescience work when turned towards a person instead of grand events? Could it be turned towards a person? Is that healthy?

Beyond all of that, it is Marks’ handling of the way the big political shifts of Shaftal impact the formation of this found family that made the book really sing for me. Zanja and Emil and Karis and Norina and Medric and J’Han are all broken, wounded people. They love each other, and they need each other, and they are better and stronger together--and that is, ultimately, what family is. Marks allows for a great deal of space and breathing room for these relationships to develop organically, for this little family to form on its own against all odds. And when it does, it is so emotionally gratifying.

Marks has a way of cutting to the heart of the desperate human need for connection, and it’s this that propels the book forward:

"Annis talked to Zanja about her experiments with gunpowder and other unstable compounds. It seemed incredible that she had not injured herself when she clearly deserved to be blown to bits. In this community of huge, fantastically intermarried families, Zanja’s loneliness was becoming intolerable. She experimented with touching Annis’s arm, wondering if she herself would be blown to bits."

The characters’ decisions are hinged on their relationships to each other. I was gripped by how they interacted, what they drew from each other, how they pushed and pulled each other. All of the characters, from Zanja down to the antagonists--the xenophobic Willis and the arrogant Mabin--are drawn with depth and clarity and motivation. Each is a joy to read. Norina hit me too close for comfort. Karis is a study in paradoxes. Zanja is the heart that holds the book together.

A book could not ask for a better heart than Zanja. I have rarely seen as fully realized a character as her, or as agentic a character as her. Or one with as much respect for those around her. I love what she tells someone at the end of the book:

"Scholars like Emil and Medric will study the obscure history of your life a hundred years from now and never quite make sense of it. So what, so long as it makes sense to you?"
_____
1: Zanja’s physical disabilities are magically healed, but the experience leaves her profoundly shaken. Her life changes absolutely because of her experience of having had a disability. FIRE LOGIC does not fall into the trap of either pretending that being magically cured wipes away forever the experience of ever having been disabled in the first place or that other people with disabilities exist in the world. Other characters with disabilities do continue to exist throughout the book, some of whom are healed, and some of whom are not.

2: In the case of one character in particular, Marks does a wonderful job depicting a fluid change in sexuality that is at once honest and heartrending and deeply emotionally gratifying.
4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed the book 18 May 2016
By Natalie Corbett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed the book. It was a fun read and good fantasy novel. I liked the portrayal of gay and lesbian characters as just being normal. Also this book has both strong and weak male and female characters. It is written in a way that the gender of the characters is not at the forefront but their personality is, which is how it should be.
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