Book Rec- "Flesh and Fire" by Laura Anne Gilman
Laura Anne Gilman
I have never in my life so wanted a glass of a good, dry red to sip while reading so much in my life.
Laura Anne Gilman has managed to create a source of magic that appeals to the gardener in me, as well as the closet lush, and is so original I was just as enthralled with how things worked as what was happening.
Wine. A world with a source of magic that is grapes, in the vintages made with each different strain of grapes. Wait, before you wander off, think about that a minute. Think of how much goes into a bottle of wine, from how the grapes are grown to how each harvest is gathered and pressed and bottled. Then add in a touch of magic along with the flavor, binding an intent with each batch. It made for a phenomenal structure to build on. Each area has its own particular vintage, its own magical specialty.
Laura's descriptions are vivid, and beautiful, and will have you reaching for that wine glass as you frantically turn each page, enthralled and needing to know what happens next.
From the first few pages, the love of the Vinearts, the magicians/vintners, for their vines is a tangible presence, and beautifully communicated to the reader. The wine is their livelihood, but it is also their passion, their art.
The Vinearts are a solitary caste, tending their vines and wines and rarely communicating with each other. The creation myth of the vines themselves is based on this structure of each tending to their own specialty. But as the book progresses, it becomes apparent to one Master that this solitude cannot continue as it is. Something is going very wrong in the vineyards, from pests to plagues out of season, and it drives that Master Vineart to break that solitude and try to gather information before the vines are lost. Monsters emerge, adding to sense of disorder threatening the world.
The threat is very real, and the sense of urgency pulls the reader from page to page. The reader starts following the development of a new apprentice Vineart, where we gain a sense of the Vinearts love for their vines, and the magic that they infuse into their wines. And from there the world widens, as the reader learns of the problems emerging throughout the Vin Lands. Everything unfurls beautifully. No reveal seems forced or rushed.
Flesh and Fire is due out in October. Trust me when I say it is going to be worth the wait.