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Fire Logic (Elemental Logic #1)

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  1,330 Ratings  ·  137 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 and destroyed by the invading Sainnites. The Shaftali have mobilized a guerrilla ar
ebook, 336 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Tor Books (first published 2002)
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Ari If you're ok getting a used copy, I'd recommend checking out (this isn't sponsored at all I just buy a lot of books there). It ships…moreIf you're ok getting a used copy, I'd recommend checking out (this isn't sponsored at all I just buy a lot of books there). It ships from the US but both the books and shipping aren't too expensive.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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
Apr 17, 2009 Tamora Pierce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, adult
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
B.R. Sanders
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 class
Jan 27, 2015 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 24, 2015 Michelle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
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
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.
Dec 02, 2015 Mel marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mel by: Ed
I am totally bored. There is a kingdom in upheaval and war and doom to come but I simply don't care.

I believe it's because of the distance to the characters in the narration. I don't care for them because I don't get to know them. I knew I was a reader who prefers character-driven novels but most of the time the narration isn't that detached from them.

Genre: high fantasy
Tags: lesbian
Rating: dnf, no star rating
Dan Clarke
Jul 11, 2012 Dan Clarke rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 was really exited about Fire Logic after reading the blurb but I just could not manage to get through it. It's one of those fantasy books that dumps you in the middle of a complex world and a group of characters and you are just supposed to pick it up as you go. Sometimes that can work and you don't necessarily want a giant info-dump at the beginning of a book. However for me sometimes its just too difficult to muddle through confused and trying to understand why you should care about what's g ...more
May 26, 2011 Chelsea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
May 17, 2009 Julian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 06, 2014 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
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
Jun 03, 2013 Lightreads rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, lgbt
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
Shaftal is thrown into turmoil and war once the earth witch ruler, the G'deon, dies without naming an heir. The Sainnites, an violent, invading force that threatened the peaceful Shaftalis for fifteen years, finally attack after the passing of the Shaftali leader. The Shaftali forces are mostly defeated, and can't hope to defeat the Sainnites in open battle, and must rely on guerrilla warfare. Shaftal can only rely on Zanja, Emil, and Karis, three unlikely heroes that may lead to a new era of pe ...more
Apr 02, 2017 Marlo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took a while for me to get into this one, especially because there is a lot of warfare which isn't really my thing, but by the time Zanja has stuck around with the South Hill company for a while, it grew on me. The relationships are my favourite part. The way elemental powers work is also interesting because it is very different from other approaches to the elements that I've seen. I'm going to read the next book, Earth Logic, for sure.
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 citize
May 28, 2012 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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,
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
Oct 27, 2015 Ana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I didn't read this book years ago, it was so phenomenal. There were so many things to love here:
- a queer woman of color being at the center of the story, treated with respect and tenderness, getting to be a visionary
- so many complex women who are so different from one another, sometimes come to blows, and yet also find friendship and common ground
- gay/lesbian/queer relationships and affections featuring prominently and happily
- the idea that if we limit our vision of who is v
C Hellisen
Dec 11, 2016 C Hellisen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is an elegantly, subtly written book about a people under occupation, and the magic that interweaves the various factions.

I admit it took me a little while to get into the story because the earlier narrative feels a little stilted, with large elements being related in a way that felt almost flat and devoid of action, but I persisted, and a beautiful, fierce and tender story began to unfold for me. There were no simple answers to the problem of invasion and guerilla warfare. The enemy was ev
Although this book didn't completely grab me, there were a lot of interesting things in it. It's set in a fantasy world that's been invaded. Magically, the world has a lot of different types of people with powers--some are related to the four elements and seem to come down to either having a certain personality/insight based on the element, or being an actual [element] witch who has powers. There are also truthkens, who seem to be able to just tell if people are telling the truth and therefore c ...more
Aug 04, 2010 Isk rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
OK, let's get to the good stuff first! Women in power: it just is: It is never questioned. People's relationships are also never questioned, whether they be straight or queer. Out of the two main female protagonists, Karis was my favorite, as she was a bit more complex. I liked that certain people can be of a certain elemental: earth, air, fire, and water. And if you are one of those elementals, it influences your behavior in a way. Many characters come and go, but in the end, a little family tr ...more
Dec 29, 2011 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2012-reads, lgbt
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
John Eich
Apr 08, 2011 John Eich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 01, 2017 Isis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbt, fantasy, ebook
Not sure why this didn't work for me, but it was a struggle to finish. I think it was the pacing, which sometimes seemed confusingly fast, with information skipped over and referred to later as though it ought to have been obvious, but more often was as slow and rambling as a D&D campaign where you haven't yet figured out where you're supposed to go for the quest. I never quite figured out what the elemental powers are, what being a fire blood actually means in a practical sense, and the cha ...more
Aug 12, 2009 kat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 19, 2014 Danika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gayyyyyyy
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
Jun 08, 2013 Isana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great book! It didn't take too long for me to get into it. All the characters were wonderful and the story was very interesting. I'm not saying it was the most amazing book but it was satisfying and entertaining in a way that makes it worthy of five stars. I mean, brown women-loving women being boss. What more do I want out of a book?
Jun 06, 2010 Meg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy, lgbt
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.
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Other Books in the Series

Elemental Logic (3 books)
  • Earth Logic (Elemental Logic, #2)
  • Water Logic (Elemental Logic, #3)

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“ impossible it
is to really make a choice, when the best choice of all is an option you
couldn’t even imagine.”
“She dreamed that the kiss had been like flint on steel, and Karis had ignited like tinder.” 0 likes
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