… the spellwines that Vinearts make? Laura Anne Gilman created a unique form of magic for her book Flesh and Fire*. Although other people can use some of the power in the wines they make, only Vinearts can reach the magic in the grapes to make spellwines and use them to their full potential. Different grapes are better suited to different types of spells, and Vinearts also have specialties that affect which types of wines they can make and use the best.
Due to ancient abuses of power, Vinearts must come from the vineyards’ slaves, and the reader learns along with Jerzy, who is just starting his apprenticeship. Reclusive and secretive, even amongst themselves, Vineart training is as hard and dangerous as the life as a slave, although in much different ways and with many more rewards. As Jerzy adjusts to his new status and learns how to make and use spellwines, his world is threatened by someone who seems to be quietly destroying the precious vineyards (and their owners) and disrupting the balance of power.
Reviewed by Fran (staff)