Customer Reviews for

Flesh and Fire (Vineart War Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Great Read!

If you like wine and science fiction, this is the book for you! This book about "spelled" wine is very well written, imaginative, and one of a kind. You won't be able to put this one down, and will find yourself wishing there was more when you've read it all!

posted by Shelly2g on August 24, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Drier then a mediocre Merlot

The premise and idea was interesting. Spellbound wine in a world in which there seems to be three major groups: Vinearts (who control the wine, the spells, and answer to no one), the Princes (who think the Vinearts and the Washers should answer to them but understand t...
The premise and idea was interesting. Spellbound wine in a world in which there seems to be three major groups: Vinearts (who control the wine, the spells, and answer to no one), the Princes (who think the Vinearts and the Washers should answer to them but understand the command) and The Washers (who seem to be priestly beings ensuring moral behaviors and that the Sin Washer's commands are upheld). Very creative, a fantasy about magical wine. I love it! As a person who loves wine.... I was game!

Sadly, this book didn't maintain my interest and I REALLY had to force myself to finish it. It isn't because it is badly written, it's not at all. It's because it seemed dry, dull, and I felt absolutely ZERO connection to any of the key characters until the last quarter of the book. The first half of the book was so disconnected to the characters that when Jerzy and Master Malech start working together, I could care less that the Slave was being primed to become a vineart due to his natural skills. The characters had nearly zero personality, except for near the end. I have an idea that the next book in this series will have more focus on Jerzy, the student Vineart, Ao, the trader, and Mahault, the daughter of the lord maiar who wants to be a soldier, as a trio.

I can not say I glowingly recommend this book, however, I also can't say I don't recommend it. I am very indifferent. The author's writing style is beautiful and descriptive and I believe that the Vineart War can definitely grow into a magical series. I certainly am willing to try the second book when it comes out with hopes it will have much more intrigue and less blandness then it's premiere.

posted by jaimehuff1 on October 25, 2009

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  • Posted August 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Read!

    If you like wine and science fiction, this is the book for you! This book about "spelled" wine is very well written, imaginative, and one of a kind. You won't be able to put this one down, and will find yourself wishing there was more when you've read it all!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 7, 2011

    Original and fun

    Well-written, fast-paced and original. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Enough so I downloaded the second one immediately!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    VERY different from what Laura Anne Gilman has written before, and very different from any other fantasy I have read before. I was hooked from the start, and can't wait for the next installment from this author.

    Laura Ann Gilman has mixed two of my favorite things - fantasy and a good glass of vino - to create a whole new, fascinating world. This world is often harsh and cruel, so the instances when there is kindness are vivid and memorable.
    The main character grows as the story grows - from a boy with no real name to a young man slowly learning to trust himself and his power - from a slave to a valued member of a household/ family - from a small, insulated community to a world traveller.
    The only drawback is the first book of this trilogy builds a great mystery and leaves the reader wanting the answers which won't be answered until the next book comes out.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful new fantasy series!

    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

    Review:
    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.

    Review:
    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An intoxicating read

    Jerzy was a vineyard slave, who shockingly can perform the magic of the Vinearts who are the greatest mages. They create the spellwines from grapes. The Vinearts had in their way become somewhat arrogant as they forgot their roots fourteen centuries ago when Sin Washer overthrew the most powerful Prince-mages. Still Jerzy becomes an apprentice to the Master of the House of Malech. However, soon after Jerzy changes positions, someone begins destroying the grape vines of the prominent but cloistered winemakers. Jerzy and the Master begin to investigate who would be destroying a way of life.

    They begin to find proof that the culprit is a master magician on a par with the most experienced of the Vinearts. Soon afterward, Jerzy and the Master are in a fight for their lives with their lifestyle at stake from a potent magician who turns the fields into the grapes of wrath.

    The use of grape vines as the source of magic makes for an invigorating refreshing fantasy that will have the audience toasting Laura Anne Gilman for her vino veritas thriller. The cast is super especially Jerzy, his Master and, a young still houseless Master; they and others make FLESH AND FIRE an intoxicating read as the war of the grapes begins.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2010

    Slow maturing, very rewarding

    This is the first book in a fantasy trilogy that has a unique magical system based on wine and winemaking. We see the journey taken by the slave boy Jerzy in a world where winemakers work magic, where the Sin Washers provide what may be a warped moral oversight, and the princes who resent the power reserved to the Vinearts, as Jerzy learns the craft of magic and finds that there is much more to his world than he ever expected.

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  • Posted October 6, 2010

    A genuine epic fantasy book

    Dull? I could not disagree more with "Anonymous". Gilman's Flesh and Fire is a sweeping saga, with well defined characters I can care about, a truly original magic system, and a world I'm happy to wander around in. It's a book you can really immerse yourself in. Jerzy's hero's journey is one I look forward to following through the next two books! Well done!

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  • Posted October 6, 2010

    a different flavour of fantasy

    As someone not usually drawn toward the fantasy genre, this one surprised and delighted me. It has excellent pacing, a nicely convoluted storyline, a grasp and obvious love of the winemaking craft that's passionately shared with the reader, and magic for those who desire it. Most importantly, for me, is a beautifully rendered protagonist in young Jerzy. An intelligent fantasy novel, beautifully written.

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    Posted January 10, 2011

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    Posted October 16, 2009

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