- Series: Study Series (Book 2)
- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Luna; Original edition (September 26, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0373802498
- ISBN-13: 978-0373802494
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 499 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,492,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Magic Study (Study Series) Hardcover – September 26, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Family betrayal, a power-mad serial killer and a potential diplomatic crisis threaten the independent-minded heroine of Snyder's fine sequel to Poison Study (2005). With the overthrow of the royal family of Ixia, 20-year-old Yelena Zaltana, who was kidnapped as a child by the evil magician Mogkan, is now free to return home to Sitia. Her reunion with the family she hasn't seen in 14 years palls when her brother spreads rumors she's actually a spy from Ixia. At the Magician's Citadel, where Yelena enrolls to hone her prodigious magical talents, her powers raise concern that she might be a rare, powerful Soulfinder. Then a string of ugly murders reveals the presence of a rogue magician in the area. As Yelena joins the hunt for the killer, complications grow with the arrival of a diplomatic mission from Ixia—including her lover, Valek, a notorious spy and assassin, sure to be executed if anyone sees through his disguise. Snyder's lively, charming mix of romance and fantasy is sure to gain her new fans. (Oct.)
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"Poison Study is a nifty little tale of intrigue featuring a worthy protagonist that makes for a commendable debut." -- SF Reviews
"Poison Study is a wonderful and lively read. Highly recommended!" -- Kate Elliott, author of the Crown of Stars series
"Be prepared for an exhilarating adventure of danger and romance as our heroine battles for her life against rebel forces . . ." -- Dark Realms magazine
"Enchanting . . . I absolutely loved it. Poison Study is a wonderful trip into fantasy." -- Heather Graham, New York Times bestselling author
"Maria Snyder has created an engaging and entirely original new fantasy, fascinating in its rich detail." -- Mercedes Lackey, New York Times bestselling author
"Maria V. Snyder makes readers believe in her world and the characters she creates, a writer's form of magic." -- The Best Reviews
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Never a dull moment in this book. It seems attacks are coming at her from all directions: rivals, maniacs, magicians, family.
While I didn't like the character Leif all that much, nor did I care for Cahil or Goel or the master villain, I suppose they were necessary evils to 1) tie her back to what happened to her in Ixia in Book 1 to make it a proper sequel, 2) tie her to her origins in Sitia to help the reader care about this country 3) give her some other purpose than studying magical history and theory at the academy.
I did love the roles played out by Elena's family, Irys and the Master Magicians, The Ambassador of Ixia, her schoolmate Dax and of course, Valek and the power twins.
As for the romance, my goodness, it's even better in this book than in book 1. The first moment when our heroine is about to be overcome and bested by her own inexperience while being outnumbered or out-classed, she turns her thoughts to her love to give her strength and Ms. Snyder gives what I believe is one of the most heart wrenching, beautifully romantic scenes I have read. And I read A LOT. I had to put it down and remember to breathe. His selfless love for her is absolute. Even though we know he would have followed orders to kill her in book 1, he would not have lived without her. The ferocity of his feelings is as sharp as his assassins blade and her feelings for him are deeper than anything she's ever known. Sexy times are tasteful and Ms. Snyder does emotional romance quite well in this book. Again, both H and h have other obligations and duties, and neither will hold the other back despite their feelings. I suppose because the H is about 34, he is not the young archetypal buck who is jealous, possessive or alpha male. Due to her experiences and her personality, Yelena is wiser than her 20 years. I find that extremely refreshing. That equal partnership romance based on mutual understanding is mature and welcome compared to what other author's throw into the mix (i.e. triangles, rectangles, misunderstandings and secrets that test relationships).
We are introduced to a lot of new characters, some tied to the first book, some not, and Yelena weathers all with gusto. Yelena has old allies, new allies, enemies and frenemies throughout this book and it's a little dizzying to keep score. We also find that she is connected to the mysterious and ancient nomadic tribes of the desert plains, as well as a very talented primary clan of Sitia. It explains a lot of her abilities and is a segue into Book 3 where I think we get to the meat of what is a "Soulfinder." I have a theory Yelena will either destroy everything or save everyone. Perhaps the prophetic story line has been done and overdone by other authors, but I think the readers who have come along this far like Yelena enough to follow through with her. Yelena does what she thinks is right, and I think even the reader will agree with her decisions, even if it doesn't work out, because she thinks things through, makes a logical choice from what she knows and sticks to the plan. I find her "what would Valek do...?" mentality amusing and very sweet because in many ways, no matter how crazy her life becomes, he and what she learned from him continues to be her anchor.
There's no stopping this girl. I can't wait to read Book 3.
Sexual Nature: M/F Sex is non graphic G
Violence: Murder and Rape off page.
This is a fantasy written about two completely distinct countries who just started new diplomatic trade. The main character Yelena is from both, orphan, prisoner and poison taster in the military dictatorship of IXia and magician student, returned daughter in Sitia. In book one Poison Study of the series Yelena's very bleak life in Ixia was explored. In this book she is in Sitia the democratic of the two countries studying magic, and hunting a killer.
The book was a quick fun adventuresome read, but I got ADHD with characters jumping from foe, to friend, to foe. I understand the author wanting to cause tension but the author should have focused on one major aspect either, Yelena's magic study, the murder or the political intrigue; as everything seemed muddled by too many subplots. In the first book I was able to get to know the world of Ixia, but I felt Sitia and it's people were over shadowed by the subplot of a wannabe King and murder, only for the to be a foil to show how awesome Yelena's magic was. Add in Yelena's family and her magic training and I felt pummeled with too many subplots. Plus the depth of characters that was present in the first book are missing in this follow up.,
Will I continue the series? I hate leaving series unfinished but I won't one click immediately.
The best way to describe how I felt when I started reading Maria V. Snyder’s Fire Study is “cautiously optimistic.” I adored Poison Study, the first novel of her best-selling Study series; and while I generally liked the sequel Magic Study, I was disappointed by its inconsistencies and overwhelmed by the staggering number of antagonists. Yet I didn’t want to give up on this series. So, I plunged into the concluding Fire Study – and came away relatively satisfied with the ending.
Fire Study tells a stronger, less congested story than Magic Study. The main conflict is clearer, the number of villains more manageable, and Yelena’s inner turmoil more palpable. This novel shows Yelena at her worst sometimes, which can be frustrating for the reader. Characters who are stubborn, dismissive, and constantly pushing their loved ones away aren’t easy to root for. But trust me when I suggest – no, urge – you to stick with Yelena and finish the book. Her turnaround starts with about 100 pages left, and the payoff is both a reward and a huge relief.
Also, I admire how Snyder walks a fine “relationship tightrope” throughout Fire Study. She forces Yelena to screw up, raise her guard, and find reasons to distrust just about everyone, even the people she cares about most. The friction between Yelena and Valek at one point is so thick, I was afraid they’d call it quits! Funny thing is, I enjoyed that kind of tension between them, especially since their relationship seemed too smooth and perfect in Magic Study.
I can’t explain how annoyed I was by Yelena’s behavior toward her mentor Moon Man, however. Yes, his advice was often cryptic, and I can see how it would take time to appreciate his kind of guidance. But, the biting sarcasm and immaturity Yelena would spout in response was grating on me well before the halfway point. Eventually Yelena learns to accept and interpret Moon Man’s ambiguity, but I wish it happened a little sooner.
Even though Fire Study tells (in my opinion) a better story than its predecessor, the writing in this final book is the weakest in the trilogy. There’s an alarming lack of variety in word choice; Snyder often repeats phrases to describe certain physical or vocal reactions that convey emotion. Many of the chapter transitions threw me off as well. Some felt forced or jarring; others just… didn’t seem like appropriate spots to split chapters. Usually an author’s writing improves with each novel, but Fire Study feels lazy in technique compared to the first two books. And as a writer who pays attention to technique, this was a huge disappointment for me.
Ultimately, however, Fire Study brings Yelena’s tale to a climactic and compelling conclusion. It’s a trial by fire, literally for Yelena as she tests the limits of her powers and the heights of her courage, and figuratively for the reader. For the first time, we truly see Yelena as her own worst enemy – and the trick is to continue caring about her, even when we want to reach through the pages and wring her neck. Personally I’m glad I kept my faith in Yelena and in this story despite the aggravation. And though I hope next year’s Shadow Study improves on Fire Study, my anticipation for the new Study novels hasn’t been swayed.