Review: Soul of Fire (The Portals #2) by Laura Anne Gilman

September 27, 2013 Review 0

Review: Soul of Fire (The Portals #2) by Laura Anne GilmanSoul of Fire by Laura Anne Gilman
Series: The Portals #2
Published by Harlequin Luna on September 24, 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Source: NetGalley
Sexual Content: References to sex.
Reviewed by: Julia
4 Stars

save the world-early and often

Three months ago Jan learned that elves were real, our world wasn't safe and it was up to her to save her boyfriend-and the world-from being englamoured into slavery. Now Jan has a new deadline-ten weeks, ten days and ten hours. That's when the truce she arranged between our world and the elves' realm ends, and the invasion starts.

While supernatural creatures work to defend humanity, Jan and the kelpie Martin have to find the preter queen, and use her to force the portals closed. But when magic mixes with technology, shutting it down isn't as simple as closing a door or pulling a plug....

Jan's geek-girl know-how might have gotten her this far, but they're going to need technical skills and magic to shut the portals for good....

And their time's nearly up.

Laura Anne Gilman takes Clarke's third law ("Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.") and closes the loop back upon itself, nestling the physics and technology of our world back into the fabric of the mystical. Science is magic and magic is science in The Portals series, and this interconnected web of cause and effect makes each battle and each conflict leave a lasting mark on the world as we know it.

SOUL OF FIRE opens amidst consequences, as Jan and the supers prepare for a preternatural invasion sparked by the events in book one. Gilman's knack for bringing magic down to the gritty, everyday details is in top form as Jan deals with the fallout from her previous quest while trying to find her footing in the current one. I loved the foibles and weaknesses Gilman gives her supers. The kelpie who just can't help drowning humans ("it's a thing"), the curiosity and distractibility that makes super scouts as likely to go on spring break as to complete their assignment, and the heartbreaking aftermath of magical enthrallment. Gilman's preters draw the most from established stereotypes, as they are a cold, rigid society capable of great beauty but no creativity.  Despite the familiar base, however, the way their nature interacts with the technology and humanity of our own world is both fresh and interesting.

Though SOUL OF FIRE still nods towards fairy tale origins, the bulk of this world and the thrust of the plot are clearly going off book into new territory. SOUL OF FIRE takes the foundation from book one and cracks GIlman's world wide open.  Despite the complementary balance in this duology, I hope Gilman spins off more stories in this world. As always in Gilman's fantasy, every war has consequences and rarely is there a win without sacrifice. Human, super, and preter societies are colliding, and no matter the outcome, the world will never be the same... and I want more.

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  1. Heart of Briar - 4/5
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