SF Site review by Margo MacDonald
Fire Logic is a tale of war and magic, of duty, love and betrayal, of despair encompassed by hope. The magic in this world is inherent to the people who wield it — it is in their blood and part of their soul — and though most people do not carry magic in them, every once in a while a child is born with it as part of their DNA. There are four types, based on the four elements of water, air, earth and fire. The type of magic as well as the personality of the wielder are determined by which element is in their blood. Earth blood means healer; water means time and space; air means truth-seeing; and fire means prescience and passion.
It's a thinking person's adventure. Or, perhaps more accurately, a thinking woman's adventure. For the best thing about Fire Logic, as it is with all of Marks' work, is that the women in her worlds are treated no differently from the men. They have equal power and equal vulnerability. You will never know for sure whether the 'Captain' being spoken of is a man or a woman until Marks specifically refers to her as a she or to the 'seer' as a he. It is the same with love. Love between woman and woman or man and man is just as accepted, expected and as common as love between woman and man in Marks' worlds. It is all very refreshing, particularly as Marks manages to present this equality in such a quiet and simple manner that you don't feel like there is any agenda attached to it. You are not being beaten about the head with a political message. In Laurie J. Marks' fantasy worlds, this is just how it is. Perhaps one day, if we are lucky, this ideal will not be confined to the realm of fantasy.
A BookPage.com review by Gavin Grant
While easy to slip into, Fire Logic is definitely not a simplistic fantasy where one side is right and the other must be wrong; like real life, it is all about shades of gray.
Marks has a wide-angle view and has written an immensely political and unflinchingly optimistic novel. Differences are celebrated as often as scorned, and love can be found even with an enemy, without the costs that might be expected in our world.
Fire Logic questions both the real magic behind faith and the self-selective
blindness involved in following a leader: religious, military or political. Characters and story come
together effortlessly even as Marks refuses to shy away from complex issues of self-determination, ownership
and multicultural coexistence. ... the action in Fire Logic is strong enough
to push readers into thinking about similar themes in their own world, which is as much as this satisfied
reader could ask from any book.
Read the whole (brief) review...
A Broad Universe Broadsheet by Susan Harris
I have never been a big fan of high fantasy, largely because I associate it with what the historians call high politics. It's hard for me to get interested in monarchs, kingdoms, alliances, territorial wars, or court intrigue. I have never been a fan of battles, in general; I don't know a pike from a halberd and my military imagination is no better than my notoriously wretched sense of direction. So I would not have expected to fall in love with a book that begins with a young paladin learning that the G'Deon of Shaftal is dead, the House of Lilterwess has fallen, and years of hand to hand combat between the native Shaftali warriors and the invading Sainnite armies are surely about to ensue. And yet, I have. I loved Fire Logic, and because I want everyone else to love it too, I'm going to tell you why.
The term "character-driven" is starting to crop up all over submissions guidelines these days. If you have ever wondered what that really means or why it matters, Fire Logic is your answer. The mystery of human personality is at the center of everything about this universe, including and especially the magic. Many of the central characters are elementals — people gifted with special powers that are governed by one of the four basic elements. The most compelling thing about this system is that earth, air, fire, and water influence not just what the elementals can do, but who the elementals are.
My partner told me, "You'll like Fire Logic. It's got a lot of heart." That is certainly true, and certainly important. It is clear from page one that Marks is totally committed heart and soul to this world and these people. But Fire Logic also has a lot of brain. This book is smart about the realities of colonization in a way that most fantasy — and, alas, many a real-world leader — isn't. The book is about accepting the terrible consequences of that kind of history, and redefining the war against oppression so that it can do something besides more damage.
We need more books with this kind of heart; we need more stories with this kind of intelligence. And
this kind of book doesn't happen without a struggle. The industry is still fighting some of the things
that make Fire Logic what it is. Broad Universe members will probably already
know something about how hard Marks had to fight to get this book to the shelves. The war isn't over yet,
but I'm glad that Fire Logic won this battle.
Read the whole review...
A MEview by Lisa DuMond
After you've been writing reviews for awhile you start to become somewhat protective of superlatives. After all, there just might be a finite number of stunnings and amazings allotted to each reviewer before the computer implodes in protest. Then, a book like Fire Logic comes along and there's nothing to do but pour out the highest praise you've held in check. Suddenly, words like absorbing and powerful seem inadequate to describe a book of this calibre.
Admirers of Marks’ fiction will not be surprised by her incredibly vivid language and the almost tangible details of the world she creates. Surfacing from a lengthy session of reading Fire Logic (which, by the way, will stretch out without time seeming to pass) is like being snatched back from an alternate reality. A moment for reorientation is advised. Most stunning, perhaps, is the fact that Marks’ achieves this concrete grounding with the force of her characters as much as with her talent for descriptive passages; it is the people in the story who hold us in place, not so much the landscape.
Is it too much to say that a book is absolutely engrossing, that it will transport the reader to another
time and place, apparently not if it is Fire Logic. In this case, it may not
be saying enough.
Read the whole review...
A few reviews in print
- Marks, Laurie J. Fire Logic. (Brief Article). Jackie Cassada. Library Journal 127.9 (May 15, 2002): p129(1).
- Fire Logic. (SF/Fantasy/Horror). (Brief Article). Publishers Weekly 249.16 (April 22, 2002): p55(1).
- Marks, Laurie J. Fire Logic. (Young Adult Review) (Brief Article). Paula Luedtke. Booklist 98. (June 1, 2002): p1699(1).
- Thinking with Fire Logic, Carl Brooks, The Mass Media Issue date: 3/13/03 Section: Arts