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Fire Logic (Elemental Logic #1)

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  994 ratings  ·  98 reviews
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 by the invading Sainnites. The Shaftali have mobilized a guerrilla army again
Paperback, 359 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by Tor Books (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

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I both really enjoyed and yet was disappointed by this book at the same time. I liked the setting and admired the bold society she set in place, but at the same time parts of their culture was grating.

I think the main reason I was disappointed was that over the years I've really raised my standards regarding fantasy novels. I tend to only read weird-fiction fantasy these days, and I was expecting this to be a bit weirder -- the third book in the series is printed by Small Beer, Kelly Link's pres
Tamora Pierce
I'm re-reading after some years away, and loving the book even more than I did the first time! Marks creates a realistic society in which women are the dominant sex. The home country has been conquered by an army with no home to return to, and its leaders have been fighting a long, guerilla war against them. What they need is the leader who is joined by her magic with the earth, but the one who inherited the office from the former leader is a drug addict and former prostitute who doesn't believe ...more
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.
Gritty elemental fantasy with a focus on interesting, well-developed female characters who happen to be queer? Sign me up, yo.

I knew Zanja would steal my heart, because the crux of her character is that she is a diplomat! A learner of languages, crosser of borders, and traveler to strange lands! That she is a warrior also doesn't seem to negate this, which is neat considering that usually characters like her get slotted into pacifist roles, since they understand other people so well and all tha
Dan Clarke
Jul 13, 2012 Dan Clarke rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Dan by: Victoria A
Fire Logic disappointed me, and not only because I found it difficult to connect to any of the characters on any meaningful level. The book had an interesting premise - a world at war, the rebels against the overbearing Empire (uh, sounds familiar, but it really was thought-out!), and even an interesting-if-overdone elemental division.

The writing was just not good enough to bring all of these elements together. It improved near the end of the book, but then fell off again for the denouement. Th
I read this weeks ago, and for complicated reasons promised myself I would figure out how to review it before reviewing anything else, so at this point there is a ridiculous pile of books jostling behind this one, and none of them are even half as good, and I still don't know what to say.

It's a fantasy about a land overrun by foreign warlords, and elemental magic systems, and guerilla warfare, and it's not any of the things you are imagining right now because it is so much more. It is politicall
Michelle Ruedin
I wanted to like this so much. A female lead in an epic fantasy? Awesome! Elemental based magic in a war-torn country where the people struggle in a guerrilla war against the evil oppressors? Hell yes, I want some of that! What's that? An LGBT positive lead? YES! Go diversity! The actual book? Dull, dull, dull, dull, dull. I was more entertained when I washed up the dishes by myself earlier tonight. I was filled with dread at the notion of finishing the next 309 pages. This writer's style is j ...more
This is a terrific feminist fantasy series with primarily queer female characters. If that's up your alley, you will enjoy this. If it is not, you will not. I loved all three of these books and I am chomping at the bit for the last one to come out. Morally sophisticated fantasy with complex protagonists. I read a review of this book which said it depicts a world where women are the dominant gender; I don't think that's the case at all-- I think it depicts a world where people are not judged on t ...more
The Logic series (there are 2 more and someday a 4th) are an unusual read. They’re more challenging than the usual fantasy fare, as the author is interested in war/conflict but considers the subject from a philosophical/anthropological viewpoint, focusing on cause and result with little interest in glory yet aiming still to be entertaining. The result is consistently surprising for a fantasy read, though challenge and surprise won’t please every genre reader. The author is also interested in sex ...more
One-sentence summary:
Half-fleshed out book with water/fire/air/earth elementals ("logics") running around.

What a half-fleshed out book. What does fire logic have to do with fire? What is special about fire elementals, besides that they have some form of prescience? Are all air elementals truthkens? (Again, what does that have to do with air?) Are people just randomly born elementals? There is a connection between being an earth witch and manipulating earth (for Karis, at least), but the random u
John Eich
This is a good solid fantasy novel - well developed cosmology, a steady march of plot that makes sense, and complex, believable characters. The elemental magic bit is a little muddled (earth/water witches very powerful, fire/air ones just "intuitive"??).

The strength lies in the political and personal sub-plots. The author creates a very robust society and inter-personal dynamics, and the ethical dilemnas within them are interesting to follow as they play out. The author reminds me a bit of Heinl
Yes!! This was so good! I love when sf/fantasy truly breaks the mold and this book does it. I've never ever before read a fantasy novel in which the author posits a world with NO gender issues at all. None! Every character's job or main role in life is based on their personality and motivations, not their gender. It's not just a flip-flop either. There are army commanders of both genders, farmers of both genders, raising-kids-focused people of both genders, family structures of all kinds, queer ...more
Nov 29, 2013 kat rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to kat by: Yarrow
It took me a couple tries to start this one, but once I did, I was hooked. It's nothing like what I was expecting, which I suppose was something like Children of the Triad and something like your typical epic fantasy novel. It's darker and grittier than Children of the Triad (or at least, than I recall that series being).

My one gripe is that it was hard to get a sense of the characters' inner worlds. It took me until halfway through the book to figure out that Zanja herself largely acts (or reac
Brilliant. Amazing. Read this right now.
People are gay, and its not even a thing. Thank. God. They just happen to be queer people caught up in a very interesting, well written story. Gender is also very well handled, in terms of the female/male ratio of side characters and main characters.
(spoiler alert) When Karis comes to get Zhanja from the box. I DIED. I want to quote what Zhanja says later in my wedding vows "You found me paralyzed and mutilated and lying in my own shit. Yet you never sham
Feb 04, 2015 thefourthvine rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to thefourthvine by: Jenne
When I started reading this book, I realized I'd tried it once before and bounced off the beginning. Not a surprise; the first few chapters have LOTS of things I don't like in them (endless scene-setting, lots of violence and death, the story doesn't actually start for quite a while, forced introduction of too many characters). This time, because it was recommended to me by Jenne, who said if I liked The Steerswoman, I might like this, I persevered.

And, as it turned out, I liked it a lot. I lik
I must have bounced off of this book earlier, because the first half seemed really familiar.

The setting is during a time of war, but really, the main characters try to stay well away from the fighting. This is a tale of how a few people, in the right place, at the right time, can shape the history of a nation. In this case, they also have the added talents of prescience and magic, but that's almost secondary.

Secondary to the overall story, but not to the plot. This is a well-thought-out system o
A little slow to start (too many characters/ cultures/ situations introduced in the first 50 pages), but became gripping and hard to put down! Really enjoyed the quality of the writing and the ideas presented through the characters. As a side note, the seamless integration of characters' varying sexual orientations was refreshing.
Fire Logic is a well-written, complexly woven tale of many cultures and elemental magic. It is a story of exile and invasion, resistance, tolerance and intolerance that spans more than fifteen years. Inter-connected strands of the lives of people and peoples whose beliefs and cultures are vastly different come together in a beautiful tapestry of love and rebuilding.

Shaftal is a region which has been invaded by Sainnites, who themselves were driven from their land. The harsh rule of these inva
Horrible, boring, slog.

Let me just put it this way. Here's the message the book conveys: "Men are bad. Men are violent unthinking brutes. The only good man is, gay, weak, and/or ineffectual, preferably all 3.

I love strong female characters, but the author needs to realize that strong female characters doesn't mean that the male characters need to be repulsive.

This is one of the worst examples of boring messagefic I've ever had the misfortune to pick up. Thank God I got it at the library.
This was an interesting read. When I started it, I really disliked the writing style - it has kind of a remote, cold feel to it, as if our narrator isn't really immersed in the worlds of our characters. I was moments away from giving up on it, when suddenly the main character turned out to be lesbian. My curiosity was peaked, (I'm sure that's the reason it was on my reading list to begin with, but it had been added so long ago that I didn't remember anything about the description of this book or ...more
Fire Logic by Laurie J Marks is like Avatar the Last Airbender for grownups in a world where bisexuality is the default (Except minus the jokes, alas)

Which is to say: a mutiple POV, morally complex story about a rag tag group of people with different elemental magics trying to survive and fix a fantasy world torn apart by war. The main character is dark skinned and into girls and there is genuine equality for women and lgb people (no trans, non-binary or intersex people afaict, but they may show
This book was very disappointing to me and I stayed up late last night just to finish it and be DONE. It was one of those novels that I liked enough to want to know what happens to the characters but not enough to want to spend any more time with it. There are some elements I like: the clash of cultures, the complicated characters, the introspection of various characters and the unusual social structures presented.

Things that drove me nuts:
The extensive telling of every sensation, expression,
3.5, I think. My attention wavered during this from time to time, and I don't think the author quite got the emotions of the characters across how she meant to (the main characters all felt the same to me -- quite cold and practical -- even though they were described as being different, I just didn't get it from their POVs). Yet I really like the world and how it was built: almost no reader hand-holding, very cleverly disguised exposition, no idiot audience stand-in character from furrin' parts ...more
Nick Fagerlund

This whole series was stellar, and all of you should read them. I am eagerly awaiting the final volume.

I was going to try to say some smart things about these, but got tied up trying to track down which other people said which smart things about them first. So I'll just point to this review and that review and say they probably covered most of the interesting ground w/r/t thematic content and how thoroughly the series isn't the subgenre it appears to be.

There are so many things I loved about t

An interesting background, but as a first novel in a four-part series, it spends too much time stalled in character introduction and development.

The book begins very well indeed. In the town of Kisha lives the seat of power of the country of Shaftal. Unfortunately, the single person who wields this power (referred to as an Earth elemental) has died, and left no heir to his power. With no delay, Shaftal is invaded by the Sainites, and the country falls to them.

The story follows three main charact
Doc Opp
I'm waffling on how to describe this book. In some ways, it vastly exceeded my expectations. In other ways, it failed to live up to its potential. The book has a vaguely Count of Monte Cristo flavor (the book, not the bastardized movie version). Starts out a simplistic story of revenge, that isn't particularly well written. Then, midway through, the author starts throwing in the perspective of the bad guys, and with the new found empathy you find yourself having trouble rooting for them to get t ...more
As I started reading this book I though it was an intriguingly different, although not particularly compelling, style applied to the tired fantasy genre. It spends a lot of time developing the personalities of a few main characters. It downplays or skips fight sequences that would be the mainstay of many fantasy novels. The elemental magic system is tacked on and inconsistent, serving primarily to indicate personality types rather than to do magic. The politics/history make no sense.

And then as
The Elemental Logic series was recommended by skadi in coffeeandink's recs thread:
Laurie J. Marks has a fabulous Elemental Logic series that I've been recommending to everyone I know who enjoys fantasy/sf. Most of the characters are white, but Zanja (who is the hero of the first book, Fire Logic, and a big player in the following books) is a character of color. She is amazing. She's an example of a book character you grow to love and respect so much you find yourself forgetting she's not real.

Shaftal resides in a world free of patriarchy, where women can be hardened and brusque and men can be gentle and caretaking, and vice versa. Homosexuality is just as common as heterosexuality, merely a fact that exist in the world. In fact, among the named characters, homosexuality seems a more natural orientation.

Zanja na'Tarwein, a Fire blood, is Speaker for her tribe to the much bigger country Shaftal. The country falls, overtaken by Sainnites. Her entire tribe is slaughtered. She is captured
Laurie J Marks is a new writer for me and did she deliver. This is a rich full body story of Shaftel world being invaded by Sainnites. The characters are real and war is bloody, mix in a story line that will keep you guessing with many surprises stirred in. You will meet Zanja from a border tribe and Karis the half-blood giant to which the fates have pulled together for ill or good. I enjoyed this book greatly and am now reading the 2nd book "Earth Logic".
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Left Bank Books L...: Fire Logic: Postponed Again! 19 24 Jun 05, 2012 08:22PM  
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Other Books in the Series

Elemental Logic (3 books)
  • Earth Logic (Elemental Logic, #2)
  • Water Logic (Elemental Logic, #3)
Earth Logic (Elemental Logic, #2) Water Logic (Elemental Logic, #3) Delan the Mislaid (Children of the Triad #1) Dancing Jack The Watcher's Mask

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