Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study #3
Also in this series: Poison Study, Magic Study, Night Study, Shadow Study
Publication Date: August 15th 2012
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy
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The Apprenticeship is Over—Now the Real Test has Begun.
When word that Yelena is a Soulfinder—able to capture and release souls—spreads like wildfire, people grow uneasy. Already Yelena's unusual abilities and past have set her apart. As the Council debates Yelena's fate, she receives a disturbing message: a plot is rising against her homeland, led by a murderous sorcerer she has defeated before….
Honor sets Yelena on a path that will test the limits of her skills, and the hope of reuniting with her beloved spurs her onward. Her journey is fraught with allies, enemies, lovers and would-be assassins, each of questionable loyalty. Yelena will have but one chance to prove herself—and save the land she holds dear.
This is the much anticipated third novel in Maria V. Snyder‘s first person Study series about Yelena, a young woman who has recently discovered she has magical powers and works to control them as outside forces interfere.
This book opens where the last one ended, with Yelena in Sitia trying to learn exactly what magical abilities she has. But Ferde, the Soulstealer she helped capture in Magic Study, has escaped along with Cahill and before long Yelena is wrapped up in trying to uncover a plot against Ixia and the Commander, and battle some new personal demons..ones that change her, and not for the better. Not to mention her trying to figure out exactly what being a “Soulfinder” means and dealing with the prejudices of all the Sitians – especially 1st Magician Roze Featherstone – have against magicians like her.
In theory, this should have been an amazing book. But it somehow fell short of my expectations for it. It was just as well written as her first two novels, but where the characters were complex and shown in shades of gray in the previous novels, they were all black and white here. With the exception of Yelena, who changed once again into a mistrustful, fear filled character who, instead of growing and maturing as she’d done in the previous two novels, seemed to digress into what she was at the beginning of Poison Study.
While I understand her reasons for doing so, and while I feel it was necessary to the story for Yelena to act the way she did, I couldn’t move past it. There were too many inconsistencies and plot holes, too many characters acting out of the ordinary and too many questions left unanswered. Even Valek, who I love, was different in this novel. Not that we saw enough of him. Or at least for my liking.
Even so, Maria V. Snyder is excellent at world building, and her writing is stellar. So even though I had issues with the overall story and the way things were resolved in the end (just too many unanswered questions) I still enjoyed the book. I especially enjoyed learning about Yelena’s ability and what it means to be a Soulfinder. Maybe if she’d taken just a bit more time to clear up loose ends and flesh out her characters better I would have enjoyed this more.
Oh, and I don’t believe this can be read without having read the first two in the series. Had I not re-read Magic just before I started this one, I’m not sure I could have followed along.
3.5 out of 5
Not terrible, but not a great end to the trilogy, in my opinion.
The series is as follows: