Suramya's Book Review Cafe

September 21, 2020

Flesh and Fire (Vineart War 01) by Laura Anne Gilman

Filed under: Fantasy — Suramya Tomar @ 11:24 pm

Flesh and Fire (Vineart War 01)

by Laura Anne Gilman

Description:

Once, all power in the Vin Lands was held by the prince-mages, who alone could craft spellwines, and selfishly used them to increase their own wealth and influence. But their abuse of power caused a demigod to break the Vine, shattering the power of the mages. Now, fourteen centuries later, it is the humble Vinearts who hold the secret of crafting spells from wines, the source of magic, and they are prohibited from holding power.

But now rumors come of a new darkness rising in the vineyards. Strange, terrifying creatures, sudden plagues, and mysterious disappearances threaten the land. Only one Vineart senses the danger, and he has only one weapon to use against it: a young slave. His name is Jerzy, and his origins are unknown, even to him. Yet his uncanny sense of the Vinearts’ craft offers a hint of greater magics within — magics that his Master, the Vineart Malech, must cultivate and grow. But time is running out. If Malech cannot teach his new apprentice the secrets of the spellwines, and if Jerzy cannot master his own untapped powers, the Vin Lands shall surely be destroyed.

In Flesh and Fire, first in a spellbinding new trilogy, Laura Anne Gilman conjures a story as powerful as magic itself, as intoxicating as the finest of wines, and as timeless as the greatest legends ever told.

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Rating: (2/5)

Review:

This is a book that I have read multiple times and I had loved it. This is the book that got me interested in Wine Tasting & the whole field of making Wine. I actually seriously considered doing a certification on Wine Tasting at one point in time.

I felt like reading something light and ended up picking this book again to read. Have you ever have it happen that you love a book and then you notice something in the book that completely spoils it for you? That’s what happened to me with this book.

I love the world setting and the details on how the magic works, however what destroyed the book for me was the fact that it appears to justify slavery as something that is required to raise people above their station & gain the power of magic. I didn’t notice it the last time I read the book but this time it was glaring enough that I couldn’t finish the book. Example quote from the book on this subject:

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 soil and subjected to the elements in order to shine.

Someday he would explain that to the boy and set him on his own course, to acquire and scour his own slave population for the ones he in turn would train, to carry on their tradition. But that day was years to come, assuming the boy survived. For now, they would begin as always.

This was not at all needed and this one paragraph ruined the book for me. If it didn’t have the slavery justification then I would have rated the book at 4 or 4.5 but with this in there, I don’t think I can rate it above a 2.

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