Dear Author highlights Martha Wells’ The Element of Fire, my favorite modern fantasy book not written by Steven Brust.
As impressive as Martha’s compelling characterizations are, they are possibly surpassed by her clever world-building. How many authors create a beautifully rendered Elizabethan environment for their first novel – complete with an accompanying well-defined (yet largely unseen) faerie realm – only to fast forward the entire world to turn-of-the-century technology in a sequel with nary a backwards glance? And, furthermore, then advance again to radios, pre-WWII tall ships, and zeppelins in her subsequent trilogy?
As delightful as her evolving world proved to be, none of Elements‘ sort-of sequels quite match the incandescent magic of the original, which you can download and read in it’s entirety for free.