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Monday, December 10, 2012

Fire Logic - Laurie J. Marks

Fire Logic by Laurie J Marks is a story of political intrigue set in a fantasy world with mild elemental magic.

When the ruler of Shaftal, an earth witch, dies without leaving an heir, the land is left in turmoil. The guardians of the hidden receptacle of his power try to keep it safe, while the tribes war among themselves.

While the premise of this story is intriguing, the narrative ruins any enjoyment I may have had while reading. The story moves at a steady pace throughout the novel; however, the writing is choppy. I often found myself having to go back a few paragraphs only to find that I hadn't missed anything, but that the author had made a sudden shift in the setting.

It was clear to me that the author intended for the tribes to be different from each other just by little tidbits that managed to make it into the narrative. Despite the fact that the author afforded many opportunities to illustrate the differences between the tribes, she failed to do so.

Another major problem I had with the novel is the characters. While the circumstances of the characters are sympathetic, I didn't feel empathy toward any of the characters due to their lack of personality. This also led to my overall disinterest in the many relationships between the characters

The use of elemental magic was inconsistent. Earth users could do healing and water users could manipulate the element of water, yet the fire users didn't seem to have an ability beyond a sixth sense.  Fire is often associated with intuition, but it seemed odd that the other two elements had tangible abilities and fire didn't.

While the plot line is obviously stated for the summary of the book, any semblance of a plot line can't be cobbled together in the actual novel until about half-way through. Up until that point, it's a bunch of confused events told by multiple characters that seemingly have nothing to do with each other. When these story lines do finally come together, it still doesn't make much sense.

The events that happen and the actions the characters take felt contrived to me. I felt as if the story was doing the characters, rather than the characters doing anything of their own volition.

For me this novel falls into the "great premise, poor execution" category.

Books in this series:
Earth Logic
Water Logic

Recommended Reads with elemental magic:
The Singers of All Songs Kate Constable
Singers of Nevya by Louise Marley
Sing the Four Quarters by Tanya Huff

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