Mark Reads ‘Cold Fire’: Chapter 1

In the first chapter of Cold Fire, YES YES Y E S. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Circle Opens.


Namornese Transportation

I’m not kidding you, y’all. I honestly did not know until this past February that people commute by ice skating in Ottawa along the Rideau Canal. LOOK AT THIS SHIT.


Granted, that’s not how it was when I walked over the canal after my event in town, but I was still shocked to see quite a few people with backpacks and big ol’ fluffy leg protectors drifting across the ice with a purpose in mind. (I guess they could be called leg warmers? But they’re not like the leg warmers I have that are for cycling. They’re these huge things to keep your lower half warm because – shocker! – the ice is fucking cold. And I love so dearly that I could read the opening scene of Cold Fire and immediately picture a culture who uses the canals and waterways to commute around town during the winter.

But visual imagery tends to come easy to me when reading these books because Pierce has such a plain, direct style when it comes to describing anything – people, places, environments. I can see Daja and Nia’s style of dress clearly; I can imagine them sliding around the ice, Daja gaining confidence as she practices more and more. I can see the looks on the faces of the Namornese citizens when Daja’s shape is melted into the snow. And I can easily picture Daja working dutifully on her repairs while listening to Jory, Nia, and Anyussa speak. Pierce doesn’t just use details to build pictures; she builds moods.

For me, this is the calm before whatever inevitable storm is to come. This is my introduction to Namorn culture, to these characters, and to Daja’s state of mind. She seems more immediately comfortable than Briar or Sandry did in their respective locations, so there’s no real sense for a conflict. YET, that is. However, there is a possible hint for who Daja might get paired with as a mentor. And somehow, Pierce came up with a style of magic that’s even more perplexing than dance magic or stone magic.

Cooking magic???

Given how the last two books were so dramatic and action packed, I wonder if the hint of Jory’s power will actually play out as part of the main narrative in Cold Fire. I suppose I’m assuming that this book will follow the same premise as the last two in The Circle Opens, but it’s possible that it doesn’t. However, Jory fits the pattern. Like Evvy or Pasco, she’s not aware of the magic she’s using, and it’s one of the Discipline characters who notices. So… maybe? It’s a possibility? I just don’t see how it would be applied to a greater story. (Which is honestly exciting. I like being surprised.) And given that cooking-mages aren’t all that rare, I don’t know that

I suspect that the what the second half of the chapter addresses – firefighting in Namorn and Bennat Ladradun – is actually going to take up a great deal of the book. I’m thankful that this didn’t feel like the scenes in Daja’s Book, since we’ve already gotten a book about fighting fires. I think the perspective is different here, since it’s mostly about Daja learning about what Bennat has brought to Namorn than anything else. Namely, he’s helped institute an organized system for putting out fires, one that shocks Daja because it’s so efficient. It’s also necessary because Namorn is built almost entirely out of wood. It’s a giant tinderbox!

It seems that Daja is in the right place, then. Not just because of the physical logistics of Namorn, but because she can learn a thing or two from someone like Bennat. I still don’t quite know what else she’s doing under Frostpine or the Guild aside from busywork, so I’m interested to learn about what else her day entails, you know? I’m also eager to find out how this book is going to ruin my life because… well, that’s just been the pattern thus far. It’s only fair to expect it again.

The original text contains use of the words “mad” and “stupid.”

Mark Links Stuff

Please help book/finalize the Mark Does Stuff European Tour!
– The Mark Does Stuff Tour 2015 is now live and includes dates across the U.S., Canada, Europe, the U.K., and Ireland. Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be the remainder of The Legend of Korra, series 8 of Doctor Who, and Kings. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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