Monday, October 26, 2009

Book Blog Tour of Flesh and Fire: Book One of the Vineart Wars by Laura Anne Gilman

Thank you so much to Sarah and Pocket Books for including me in the Book Blog Tour of Flesh and Fire: Book One of the Vineart War by Laura Anne Gilman! This is my first taste of Laura Anne Gilman's writing and I am excited to share my thoughts about the book.
Flesh and Fire (The Vineart War, #1)
"Vinearts did not appear full-blown from the earth, after all. It was an ironic gift from Sin Washer: generations of trial and error had proven that only the deprivations of slavery, the removal of all family ties and comforts, pushed a man to the point where magic would surface. Even now, he could not coddle the boy, or risk ruining him. The skills were inherent and easily proven by the first test, but the refining of them required a combination of elements. . . Like the grapes themselves, a Vineart must be stressed to produce the finest results, grown in poor soils and subjected to the elements in order to shine."
-Flesh and Fire: Book One of the Vineart War by Laura Anne Gilman

In their early history, magic in the Vin Lands flowed through the prince-mages who alone had the power to craft spellwines. But inevitably corruption and greed led to an abuse of power by the prince-mages and it took the intervention of a demi-god to "break the Vine" and thus destroy the prince-mages' hold on power. The system that evolved 1,400 years later established a clear separation of power between those that craft the spells from wines and wield the power of magic (the "Vinearts") and the nobility and royalty that hold political power.

The split is deeply established. The Vinearts are entrenched in their customs and traditions in the selection, training and development of apprentice Vinearts and in the creation of the spellwines which serve as repositories of magic. It is universally understood that while stress and deprivation produce the magic and the Vineart, too much stress can ruin the man and his skills.

The Vine Lands are hit with mysterious disappearances, magical monsters, and sudden plagues which seem to be the work of a dangerous new force. Only Master Vineart Malech seems aware of this new threat and he has only one weapon to use against it: the young slave Jerzy. Jerzy shows unusual promise and an uncanny sense of the Vinearts' craft which Master Malech must develop and strengthen. Malech is forced to cram the training that would span years in months and trust in Jerzy's skill and judgment if they are to save the Vine Lands.

In Flesh and Fire, Laura Anne Gilman has created a rich, complex fantasy world and a satifying and enjoyable read. I was hooked from the start - with the mysterious attack on Vineart Sionio and the first descriptions of the young slave boy Jerzy.

Jerzy's voice is painfully honest and I quickly found myself emotionally invested in his growth and his success. As Jerzy grows into his role as apprentice to Vineart Malech, the tension in the story heightens. Plot twists and action move Flesh and Fire forward at a good pace. The only disappointment that I have is that I've finished the book and must wait for the next installment to learn how Jerzy and his new friends will rise to the challenge. I loved Flesh and Fire and recommend it highly to those who enjoy fantasy novels. This one is a winner!
Publisher: Pocket (October 13, 2009), 384 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of the author's website:

Born in the late 1960’s in suburban New Jersey, Laura Anne endured only moderate trauma – and some good times – before escaping to Skidmore College. After graduation, given the choice between grad school and employment, the lure of a paycheck took her to NYC and a career in publishing, while working nights and weekends to get her writing career started.

In 2004, she and corporate America decided they needed a break from each other. Her first original novel contract in-hand, Laura Anne became a full-time freelancer, and never looked back.
She is the author of the Cosa Nostradamus books for Luna (the “Retrievers” and “Paranormal Scene Investigations” series), a YA trilogy for HarperCollins, and the forthcoming Vineart War books from Pocket, while continuing to write and sell short fiction. She also writes paranormal romances for Nocturne as Anna Leonard.

Laura Anne is also an amateur chef, oenophile, and cat-servant. She lives in New York City, where she also runs d.y.m.k. productions. Learn more on Laura Anne Gilman's website at

Participating Sites:

All About {N}:
Beth’s Book Review Blog:
Drey’s Library:
Revenge of the Book Nerds:
The Neverending Shelf:
Layers of Thought:
Fantasy Freak:
Undercover Book Lover:
Carol’s Notebook:
Starting Fresh:
Pick of the Literate:
My Friend Amy:
Cheryl’s Book Nook:
Opinionated? Me?:
One Person’s Journey Through A World of Books:
My Life In Not So Many Words:
Geek Girl Reviews:
Sci-Fi Guy:
Wendy's Minding Spot:
Found Not Lost:
Brizmus Blogs Books:
25 Hour Books:
Temple Library Reviews:

Many thanks to Sarah and Pocket Books for this review opportunity!

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