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Fire Study (Study, Book 3) Paperback – February 19, 2008

3.8 out of 5 stars 184 customer reviews
Book 3 of 5 in the Chronicles of Ixia Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of high-spirited adventure, intrigue and romance will celebrate the third book (after 2007's Magic Study) in the saga of reluctant mage and diplomat Yelena Zaltana. The news that Yelena is a Soulfinder, able to manipulate the spirits of the dead and the living, hasn't made her popular with the inhabitants of Sitia's Magician's Keep, since the last Soulfinder turned people into mindless slaves. First Magician Roze Featherstone's hostility toward Yelena increases until the Sitian Council decides to send Yelena north as diplomatic liaison to the rival nation of Ixia. When Roze takes over the council, imprisoning her rivals and driving the nation to the brink of war with Ixia, Yelena is caught between her duties as liaison, her love for Ixian intelligence officer Valek and her fear of her own power, which she must embrace fully to defeat Roze and restore the council. Snyder delivers another excellent adventure, deftly balancing international and local hostilities against Yelena's personal struggles. (Mar.)
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About the Author

Maria V. Snyder is the New York Times bestselling author of the Study series, the Glass series, the Healer series, Inside Out, and Outside In. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Meteorology from Penn State and a Master of Arts degree in fiction writing from Seton Hill University. Unable to part ways with Seton Hill, Maria is currently a teacher and mentor for the MFA program. Find her on the Web at MariaVSnyder.com.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: MIRA (February 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778325342
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778325345
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (184 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fire Study the final book in Snyder's trilogy was the weakest link of all three books. The series began very strongly with Poison Study and went downhill from there.

The book could have easily removed 200 pages and would have been better for it. I felt the author lost the passion for the storyline and was just rushing to finish it off.

Snyder left her roots of interweaving a story of magic and a fantasy world where Yelena learns to adjust to her increasing powers and removal from Ixia. Instead we have a repetitious action adventure plot missing the magical world the author had previously created.

Any magic that was used was extremely repetitive (Curare and Theobroma) and the fight scenes which were easily over half of the book were very repetitive. The main characters are out numbered, rendered paralyzed with Curare, captured, escape, Kiki needs to kick someone to save Yelena, and they all meet at the rendezvous point about 20 times. This followed with around 20 pages of repetitive bow staff fighting amongst friends. Not exactly exciting stuff there.

The rogue Warpers motivations seemed disorganized which proved to be a very serious failed opportunity to add a very interesting component to the story.

The main characters did not grow or form closer bonds with each other. Holes within their personal history were not filled in. I did not learn anything new about the fascinating people, history, or culture of Sitia or Ixia. The plot also follows the same line as the first books, children of children being harvested for the power of others. Yelena coming into her own to harvest and control her powers seemed improbable as the challenges put before her were more physical in nature.
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Format: Paperback
I just forced myself to finish Fire Study, and I can't believe how let down I am. Poison Study is on my Listmania list of all time favorite books. Magic Study was a good follow-up. I have been eagerly awaiting this book for years and rushed out to buy it the day it was released. My thoughts mirror those of the other negative reviews. It felt that the book was a collection of action scenes strung together with no direction. The focus was action driven not character driven. I wanted more meaningful interactions between Yelena and Valek. Overall the book lacked the depth of character development that we had in Poison Study. Fire Study was a let down, but Poison Study remains an amazing book, which is why I am giving this two stars. I know this author has the capability of writing incredible stories, so I will still be reading her next novel Storm Glass which will apparently be focusing on Opal and glass magic. According to an interview with the author, it should be releasing this December.
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Maria Snyder's third book about Yelena is quite inferior, particularly compared with the first book. I am disappointed, and very sorry to have to write a review with so many criticisms, especially because I did like the first book so much. This book has both writing and conceptual problems.

The quality of the writing is lacking. Snyder writes in stilted, simplistic fashion and presents information in an awkward order that makes the book difficult to follow. She needs to develop more tricks in her plot toolkit to move things along: the constant kidnappings and escapes became ridiculous. The amount of travel also strained the bounds of credulity. It's annoying how stupid she made Yelena, when she presents really obvious solutions chapters before Yelena comes to the correct conclusion. Other times, such as with the magical glass animals, it's as if scenes were cut out or moved but the rest of the book wasn't edited to ensure continuity. Suddenly Yelena's theory of how they worked became tested, when that didn't happen until much later. It's almost as if they published the first draft of the book with a few bits and pieces hacked out. A really thorough, deep developmental edit by a competent and caring editor would have gone a long way to sort out these problems.

While editing could have resolved the mechanical problems with the book, I'm not persuaded that Snyder's magical theology is clearly conceived. Since it's written in the first person, we mostly learn how magic works along with Yelena, which is pretty random and not grounded in theory. The unclear writing, the awkward unfolding of ideas, and the obtuseness of the character all make the final revelation about the soul of the world in the last pages of the book unsatisfying.
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Format: Paperback
I absolutely loved the Poison Study, drudged through the Magic Study, and could barely finish the Fire Study. At some point I couldn't believe that I was reading about the same extraordinary characters I adored in the first book. Personally, I would recommend reading Poison Study as a stand-alone novel and not going further. Here's why:

Protagonists - In Poison Study Elena was a resilient, loyal, intelligent and clever young woman. In Fire Study she became obtuse, fickle, rash to the point of foolishness, and just all together unlikeable. I still remember when she stood in Valek's study, half starved and dirty, and chose to become a food taster instead of being executed, saying `I'm no fool' with total poise and dignity. Where did that girl go? In this book Elena is afraid of her magic and is faced with a difficult task of defeating a malicious new clan that has threatened the country of her birth, and all those she holds dear. And what does she do? She pushes everyone away, rushes into impossible situations, gets caught and almost killed multiple times, putting everyone around her in even greater jeopardy. This especially applies to Valek, who continuously rescues her from perils and gets no thanks in return.

Both Valek and Leif have been portrayed poorly in this book. Leif doesn't seem to possess a backbone and a personality, other than his ever changing moods from playful to sulky. Valek, on the other hand, went from a rather mysterious assassin and a strong love interest to a supporting character that occasionally gets to rescue and bed Elena. I felt no emotional connection and no rationale for the continuous melodrama. Also he is supposed to be a master strategist, but the twenty year old Elena ends up making all the decisions.
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