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Fire in the Mist (Arhel #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  1,362 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Faia, a shepherd girl, develops her magic powers until she is ready to seek revenge on those responsible for the destruction of her family., From the author whom Mercedes Lackey calls "one of the hottest writers I've come across in a long time", comes a mesmerizing, action-filled story. A simple shepherd girl discovers her wild mage powers after a murderous magician destro ...more
Paperback, 291 pages
Published August 1st 1992 by Baen Books
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Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fire in the Mist by Holly Lisle isn’t a particularly original story. In fact, it starts with a theme that is extremely common in fantasy books. A young person, in this case a 19-year-old female shepherd named Faia, experiences a tragedy which triggers a powerful display of magic, at which point mages seek her out to teach her how to handle her magic safely. There was more to the story, of course – that was only the beginning. There’s something evil lurking around the mage school that Faia is tak ...more
Mar 07, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
The Goodreads description for this book is a bit misleading. The main character, Faia, drives her sheep home after months in the highlands, only to find her entire village dead of plague and unburied. She calls upon her untrained magic to cleanse the place, reducing the entire village to slag. Far-off magic users feel the power drain, and track her down to bring her under control. So this uneducated shepherd girl finds herself in the big city, at an all-female college of magic. Both students and ...more
Simon Mcleish
Jan 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Originally published on my blog here in January 2002.

When shepherdess Faia returns to her home to find that the whole village has been wiped out by plague, she uses one of the spells taught her by her mother to turn it into a pool of lava as part of her response to her grief. This turns out to be a hugely powerful spell, and commands the attention of mages (female) and sages (male) from the town which houses the university in which magicians are trained. An untrained, strong talent is very dange
Kelley Ceccato
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 22, 2010 rated it liked it
After the death and destruction of her country village, Faia is taken to city for learning to control her powerful and wild magical talent. The city is split into separate centers of learning for men and women, a division that an ancient evil returns and takes advantage of. Faia is a character that is very likable and easy to identify with. Her outsider and disenchanted viewpoint makes an interesting viewpoint on the magical city. I found the plot line for the ancient evil to be a bit confusing ...more
May 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Another strong female lead. This time, a young girl is left village-less and strikes out to be on her own.

Before Harry Potter, there was Faia. Seriously, J.K. Rowling probably either read this or channeled this book.

An overwhelmingly comforting read for me, I enjoy reading it over and over and over again.
Michael Lucas
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Started off amazing, really great evocative writing, an interesting character in Faia, and a compelling fantasy world. I didn't mind what some people called cliches (a peasant with powerful magic, etc.) because that's the whole point of this book -- it's advertised that way and you pick it up if you want that kind of story. So it delivered on its promise in that regard.

The other characters in the book are great, notably Medwind Song but also Yaji, the Mottemage, and Flynn the cat. What's really
Feb 28, 2017 rated it liked it
The start of the book is rather cliche, with strong Conan-ish vibes. (view spoiler) Faia , daughter of Scooter, is the Strongest Mage on Earth(tm), apparently, but also sexually liberal and unusually feminist.
After accidentally nuking a village from orbit nuking a village from orbit, she meets a disposable support character (who is soon disposed of), and eventually makes her way to the people who can (view spoiler) teac
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Faia is a shepherd girl who comes home to find her town dead from plague, travels with the one other survivor to her first city, gets wisked away from him on a flying horse, and helps save another city from war.
Nov 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, adventure
Lovely book, fast paced.
Hubert Lange
Sep 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
An average that turns really really bad somewhere in thhe middle. In the beginning the book seems quite ok.
The story follows the main character which struggles with the personal tragedy. She seems strong willed and intelligent. We quickly find that she possesses a powerful magic talent.
She is found by the mages from the magical university located in city practically devoted to magic, because she is too dangerous to remain in the world untrained.

And there the book seems to unravel. It looks th
Karen Field
Dec 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
After the destruction of her village, Faia’s powers are realised not only by herself but by every mage in the world. Suddenly, she is wanted by all and feared by them as well, however, as everyone agreed that it was important to train the wild magic before more destruction occurs something had to be done. She is taken to the city, where men occupy half and women occupy the other half. The division is long standing and the reasons behind it are debatable. Upon her arrival, mysterious things start ...more
Lindsay Stares
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-on-kindle
Premise: Faia's mother tells her she should learn to use her gift, that she needs to decide what she will do with her life. Faia just wants to continue to be a shepherd. But when tragedy strikes, Faia's gift for magic will manifest in a new way, and she'll be thrust into the power struggles of a city not her home.

This was a great book. Stuffed with great characters, an interesting world with a tangled history, interesting magic and cultures.

It had such a great tone, too. A predominance of comple
Sep 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: magic
It took me ages to get a hold of this book; ages! When I finally find a copy and settle in to read I was thrilled at the start of the book. A man with a plague and a horse with white feet, okay so maybe he was the bad guy! He would go spread plague while working for some evil hiding out... Nope. Plague just happened. The book could have even taken that out and still it would have ended with the main character leaving sooner or later.

The book really did start out well and was very interesting, un
Raven Oak
May 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I stumbled across Holly Lisle‘s book, Fire in the Mist by complete accident—standing in a Half Price Bookstore looking for fantasy novels involving magic.
The main character, Faia, starts off as a simple shepherd. Tragedy strikes, and she finds herself a magic user with a gift she can’t control. She ends up at a university of study where she’s corrupted by the spirit of a murderer. It’s very much a struggle of good vs. evil, but with unusual twists and character growth. I won’t spoil the ending.
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers
This is the third fiction book by Holly Lisle that I read (after Hunting the Corrigan's Blood and Warpaint, which are more recent novels). Perhaps it's only because I've read so much of her non-fiction on writing, but a number of the plot twists were clear as day to me far earlier than they should have been. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable read and the world she's created in it is fascinating. It was a little hard to believe the extreme nature of Ariss' mage(female magicians)/sage(male magician ...more
Laura of Lurking
Sep 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am taking one of the author's courses and was curious to see what the processes she is teaching us help her produce. And wow am I glad I am taking this course now.

This novel has a deep and rich magical, environmental, historical and cultural background, all woven together with great skill. The world feel vibrant, from the stuffy mages and sages - the male and female wizards who have split the magical city and university so they do no have to have contact, to the full of decapitating barbarian,
Nov 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fast-paced, engrossing, but feels like it lacks something . . . the characters were difficult to empathize with and the whole male / female segregated city was just weird, and presented a slightly distracting, overt undercurrent of social commentary that I could've done without. The same thing could've been achieved with just rival schools, surely?

Also, the second half of the novel felt disjointed from the first. I have a lot of questions about the beginning of the novel that were never answere
J. King
Feb 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Clearly one of Holly's early books, and I can see the difference between it and her most recent Talyn and Hawkspar . However, I enjoyed Fire in the Mist immensely, immediately upon finishing it desiring to read the next in the series (which I'll have to find on the used market). These early characters display a depth of personality that Holly still is known for. And the fictional world is all Holly Lisle, up to her usual standards. A wonderful read.
Jul 03, 2011 rated it liked it
If you like high fantasy and strong female characters, this book is for you. Although it was originally published in '92, it feels like old fantasy to me, something from the 70s or maybe 80s. In any case, it was a fairly engaging tale, if a touch predictable, and there were a lot of great women in this. I feel like I've been starved for awesome ladies in fantasy lately, and this definitely solved that problem.

It's the first book in a trilogy, although it doesn't end abruptly. I don't think that
Apr 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
Fascinating book to read. Some of the scenes and chapters were truly amazing and I read them with hunger, but unfortunately those were just moments and in between them were longer tedious phases. For a first book this was still really good. This was interesting book to read because I had previously known Holly only from her writing courses, which are great, and from the little glimpses of fiction that I've gotten from them. I am really interested in reading more from her and to see how she has d ...more
Coyora Dokusho
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Read at least (2) times

pause at chapter 7

It's really a different experience reading in recovery. I read this book first when I was a teen and there was a part that just completely flew over my head about the nature of responsibility and how we are responsible for our own actions. Yeah... I didn't get it. I wonder what it would be like being raised knowing you were responsible for your own actions rather than blaming other people for them...

Jeremy Stephens
Apr 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-of-2011
This book seemed like a much darker version of Harry Potter (only this came out way before). What I liked about this was that the main character, Faia was so believable. Having a likable anti-hero as the main character was a lot different than what I'm used to with fantasy novels. The idea of a cockney, stubborn yokel who beds down with strange men made the story more enjoyable and is a nice change from the always-virtuous main characters that I think are becoming the norm.
Sean Talbot
Feb 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
the best of the three books starting from the role of a tender of sheep to becoming a poweful mage and a friend to sages. this book was well written showing a very Amazonian style to the mage way of life. it had a somewhat happy ending for our heroine and a way to start the next book.

this was at one point one of my favourite books in fantasy genre as it was fun to read
Apr 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a new author to me and so as usual was a little skeptical.However I found the novel to be well constructed, the characters certainly engaging and drawing you in to care about what happens to them.
Dec 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually read fantasy but this was just one of those books I couldn't put down. It amazed my how deep the characters were, how I grew so attached to them. Holly Lisle is a very talented writer and I cant wait to read her other books!
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this because I was thinking of taking one of Holly Lisle's writing courses, and I wanted to see her writing style. I'm glad I did as this is a terrific tale. Lisle's world building and magic system is rock solid, too. It is well worth reading if you enjoy fantasy.
Tracy Banghart
Apr 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I've reread it more times than I can count! <3
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Holly Lisle has been writing fiction professionally since 1991, when she sold FIRE IN THE MIST, the novel that won her the Compton Crook Award for best first novel. She has to date published more than thirty novels and several comprehensive writing courses. She has just published WARPAINT, the second stand-alone novel in her Cadence Drake series.

Holly had an ideal childhood for a writer…which is t
More about Holly Lisle...

Other Books in the Series

Arhel (3 books)
  • Bones of the Past (Arhel, #2)
  • Mind of the Magic (Arhel, #3)

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