Book Review: Water Logic, by Laurie J. Marks

Small Beer Press

Water Logic: An Elemental Logic NovelWater Logic is the third book in the Elemental Logic series. In this book Zanja gets thrown two hundred years in the past by a water witch, Clement is unable to come up with a plan C for dealing with a mutiny, and a bunch of Shaftali rebels refuse to believe that Karis is the real G’deon. We also continue the theme that has been developing since Fire Logic: finding away to integrate the Sainnite invaders (who are actually refugees) into the Shaftali population. Searching out a way to accomplish this task leads to a shocking discovery.

We open with a general attempt to restore the Shaftali government system, with Speakers from various areas of the country. Among the people picked as representatives is Seth, the cow doctor from Basdown who had an affair with Clement, the new Sainnite general. The Seth at first feels like a fish out of water since this is the first time she’s left home, but soon helps create a “Peace Committee” and begins to look for ways to help the Sainnites join the general population.

It turns out that an air witch, who is deeply unstable because she’s untrained and has built her worldview around the idea that all Sainnites must be destroyed, is directing the fanatical group that appeared in the previous novel. It turns out the Order of Truthken was created as a way to get air witches trained so they won’t become unstable, and so the G’deon wouldn’t have to spike their hearts to keep them from causing a great deal of harm.)

Clement is in a precarious situation. She is more than willing to Karis, but has a limited amount of time before she can be elected to the position of general. (She is currently only an interim general.) She manages to get minimal support from the garrisons closest to Watfield but five commanders, including a child hood friend and former lover, have chosen to ignore her orders to report. Faced with a mutiny, she has no choice but to go deal with the insurrection. She leaves, accompanied by Paladins who are on hand to help her make her way across the countryside, and (unofficially and quite annoyingly) to try to tutor her in Shaftali ethics. (This does not go very well, since Clement doesn’t understand philosophy and is not trained in debate or rhetoric the way a Paladin is.)

Meanwhile, Zanja is in an exasperating situation. Though she is a hero to the people of Shaftal she has no voice in the council since she is from a border tribe. After an argument with Mabin, she heads off to renew diplomatic relations among the border tribes. Unfortunately, she falls into a “trap” set by a water witch from one of the border tribes and is sent in the past. Though she’s greatly tempted to try to find a way to save her people from genocide at the hands of the Sainnites she ends up stealing a compendium of glyphs and running off cross country with it.
Zanja finally returns home after accomplishing what the water witch wanted her to. I’m hoping that the last book, Air Logic will be coming out soon, though it’s been a few years since Water Logic came out.

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Filed under fantasy, Laurie J. Marks, non-earth, paladins, race/ethnicity issues, Review: Book, slash/thots on yaoi

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