Tuesday, January 12, 2010

FLESH AND FIRE The Vineart War book 1 by Laura Anne Gilman

Publisher: Pocket Books
Publishing Date: October 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4391-0141-4
Reviewed by Dawn
Obtained by: Library

Wine is the magic in the world and the Vineart’s are the ones who coax it along and produce the magic in all the wines. When slave boy Jerzy, finds himself taken from the fields and brought to his master for training into being a Vineart, his entire world changes within a blink of an eye. Possessing a rare ability to sense the magic in the wines, Jerzy sets out to learn all he can about the magic in the spell wines when mystery strikes the reclusive Vinearts. Someone is sabotaging the fields and Jerzy is to set out for his master to find out why and who is doing this. Slave-Student-Spy, Jerzy will have to be all three in order to get to the bottom of the mystery that isn’t just plaguing the Vinearts but the entire world as more mysterious events occur.

FLESH AND FIRE is the first book of an intriguing series by prolific author Laura Anne Gillman. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure about this one as I have read this author’s other books and loved them. This starts out slow and plods along as the author introduces you to the art of making spell wines and the magic within the wines. It is a unique story idea that appealed to me and once you get to the middle of the book, the pace picks up quite a bit. The author delves into a world where magic is in the wines and she does an admirable job in letting the reader into this world. With some interesting characters, an interesting land to explore and more, Ms. Gillman delves into a story that will keep you entertained till the end.

FLESH AND FIRE introduces you to the slave Jerzy, a boy with a secret gift- he can sense the magic in the grapes. This is a very rare gift that Vinearts have, the ones who craft the spell wines that everyone uses. Coming to the attention of his master, Jerzy finds his life is about to change and it is for the better- or so he thinks. I liked the character Jerzy as he tried to make his master happy even as he struggled with the art of wine making and magic. The dynamics between the characters kept me intrigued, especially as the mystery of the plagues against the Vinearts and other parts of the world land on Jerzy’s master’s door. Ms. Gillman also introduces some really interesting secondary characters that brought a smile to my face as well.

Overall, FLESH AND FIRE is a satisfying start to a new series by Ms. Gillman. It does start slow but it speeds up as you find yourself thrust in a world of politics, mystery and magic. I have to admit, the ending left me feeling eager to know what happens next. I just hope I don’t have to wait to long for the next installment of THE VINEART WAR. If you enjoy a different fantasy story, then grab FLESH AND FIRE and settle in for a highly enjoyable reading adventure.


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