January 27th, 2012


The Element of Fire, Martha Wells

I finished a re-read of The Element of Fire by Martha Wells last night. I found myself, this time around, focusing on her worldbuilding techniques. She uses Ile-Rien in several of her books, only in different historical periods; in this one, it seems to be, roughly, an early 16th century-era Ile-Rien, if I can make analogies to our world's history. She blends and mixes and matches, so you can't make strict analogies of her imaginary countries to real ones, but she gives you a real feel for this world and how it goes beyond what we're shown.

Wells is very specific with the weapons in particular, which makes sense one of the protagonists is the captain of the Queen's Guard. I love the way she makes those weapons integral to his character even when he's not using them. Weapons hang on the walls of his bedroom, his servant cleans his wheel-lock pistol for him, after a battle he habitually checks his rapier to make sure it hasn't been bent. It's awesome.

Also, this time around I made fresh note of the female characters. Two are protagonists, who do quite a lot of things, one appears useless at the beginning but begins to show growth by the end - she's more complex than she appears at first mention - and even a minor female character shows hints of depth. This is pretty cool in a novel overflowing with named male warriors and wizards.

I have Wells' two newest books, but am holding onto them a bit, so I can read them at leisure.