Friday, January 29, 2016

Book Review: The Element of Fire by Martha Wells

Pistols fire at an invading Unseelie host. The king is a weak, emotionally battered young man. Strong and ruthless, the king’s mother tries to keep the kingdom intact. These are some of the many events of _The Element of Fire_ by Martha Wells. This book has many elements that weave together to form a powerful entertaining Fantasy for readers. Vivid characters, a convincing plot and detailed setting add up to a great adventure.

Thomas Boniface is the Captain of the Queen’s Guard, an excellent swordsman, clever but cynical. He works for the Dowager Queen Ravenna. She is an aging, strong willed woman who keeps the kingdom from falling apart. Her son Roland, the king, is controlled by the cold, vicious man Denzil. Another entry into this volatile mix is Kade Carrion, the half human half fairy daughter of the dead king. She is a wildã rejected member of the family, but a powerful sorceress. The author brings these characters to vivid life with her subtle descriptions and their actions. These characters  bring the plot to fruition.

Ms. Wells has created a very convincing plot of court intrigue, nasty fairies and mages, and a very dysfunctional royal family. Thomas must maneuver through all these things to keep Ile-Rein in one piece. The book starts out with the rescue of a sorcerer from a Bisran renegade. Then, Kade Carrion, the exiled illegitimate princess returns to court. This sets off a murder and invasion by the Unseelie fairies of the palace. Thomas evacuates the royal family and tries to discover who is the traitor to the crown. The plot is neatly set up and tightly woven to produce a hard to put down story of intrigue and adventure.

Lastly, the setting of Ile-Rein is a detailed place that brings the story to life. LMartha Wells created an unforgettable setting with rich descriptions of the culture and court life. The little details combine with the overall background to give a realistic feel to the kingdom of Ile-Rein. Readers can almost feel the bitter cold and smell the odor of gunpowder and death in the air. Ile-Rein becomes a memorable Fantasy world.

Vivid characters, a convincing plot and detailed setting weave together to make _The Element of Fire_ a very entertaining book. Martha Wells is an excellent author. She creates rich Fantasy worlds full of interesting characters, cultures and magic. Her stories add a fresh view to the Fantasy genre. This book is currently out of print but might be found in a used bookstore. Seek out her other books too: _City of Bones_, _Death of a Necromancer_ and _Wheel of the Infinite_.


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