Series: Study

Review: Fire Study by Maria v. Snyder

Posted March 29, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Fire Study by Maria v. SnyderReviewer: Holly
Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study #3
Also in this series: Poison Study, Magic Study
Published by Harlequin
Publication Date: August 15th 2012
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, General
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

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:

Poison Study
Magic Study
Fire Study

You can buy this book here or here in eBook format.

three-half-stars

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Review: Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

Posted March 28, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 8 Comments

Review: Magic Study by Maria V. SnyderReviewer: Holly
Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study #2
Also in this series: Poison Study, Fire Study
Published by Harlequin
Publication Date: August 15th 2012
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, General
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

A lesson in loyalty—a master class in intrigue
So far, I've managed to survive. You would think after being kidnapped as a child, imprisoned in my teens and released to become a poison taster, I would have endured enough. But no. The discovery of my magical abilities—powers forbidden in Ixia—has resulted in an execution order. My only chance is to flee to Sitia, my long-lost birthplace.
But Sitia is unfamiliar. I'm treated like an enemy—even by my own brother. Plus I can't control my powers. I want to learn about my magic, but there isn't time. A rogue magician has emerged and I'm targeted as his next victim.
Will my magical abilities save me…or be my downfall?

This was a re-read in preparation for the third and final book in this trilogy, Fire Study.

I absolutely adored the first book in this series, Poison Study. The world building was amazing, the characters wonderfully fleshed out and well written and the story fresh and intriguing. In her second novel, Maria V. Snyder carries all those things over and more.

The thing is, I didn’t enjoy this book as much the first time around as I did with each subsequent re-read. Yes, I liked it, but I didn’t think it was as good as the first until I re-read it several times. The more I read it, however, the more it appealed to me.

The book picks up right where the first one left off, with Yelena returning to Sitia for the first time in 14 years, to meet a family she doesn’t remember and learn about her magically abilities, ones she’d be murdered for possessing if she remained in Ixia.

I loved watching Yelena with her family and all the others in Sitia who also possessed magical abilities. Once again the best part of this book wasn’t the story, or the characters, though they were amazing. It was learning about magic. The magic that Yelena possesses, the magic others in Sitia possess, the way Yelena has to use and harness hers to help find girls who have gone missing, only to be found weeks later, brutally murdered. With the help of some new friends, her antagonistic brother, and some old friends, Yelena tries to help find the latest girl to come up missing, not to mention the person responsible.

Yelena’s brother was an interesting character, and seeing the struggle he and Yelena faced while trying to deal with each other was beautifully written. He drove me nuts for half the book, but I fully understood his reasons for acting the way he did and was able to forgive him at the end.

We also saw Valek again, which I loved. 😛

So even though I wasn’t in love with this book the first time I read it, I fall a little bit deeper in love with each re-read I do. Although it’s not as good as Poison Study, I’d still highly recommend it.

4.5 out of 5

The series is as follows:

Poison Study

Magic Study
Fire Study

You can buy it here or here in eBook format.

four-half-stars

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Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Posted March 27, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 13 Comments

Review: Poison Study by Maria V. SnyderReviewer: Holly
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study #1
Also in this series: Magic Study, Fire Study
Published by Harlequin
Publication Date: August 15th 2012
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, General
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars

Murder, mayhem and magic…
Locked in a coffin-like darkness, there is nothing to distract me from my memories of killing Reyad. He deserved to die—but according to the law, so do I. Here in Ixia, the punishment for murder is death. And now I wait for the hangman's noose.
But the same law that condemns me may also save me. Ixia's food taster—chosen to ensure that the Commander's food is not poisoned—has died. And by law, the next prisoner who is scheduled to be executed—me—must be offered the position.

This is a re-read for me, in preparation for the 3rd and final book in this trilogy, Fire Study (which I will review in a couple days).

Poison Study is the first person tale of Yelena, a woman sentenced to death for murdering the son of a high ranking General in Ixia. On the day she’s to be executed, she’s brought before The Commander’s first in command, Valek, to confess her crimes before she’s taken to the gallows and hung. Instead, Valek offers her the position of food taster for the Commander. She’s put on the spot: Die now, or possibly die later by poison. She chooses the possible poison. Yelena says that only a fool wouldn’t accept, and that she is no fool.

The training of a food taster really surprised me. She was forced to sample a lot of different poisons so that she could recognize them in the Commander’s meals, some of which leave her so ill she’s incoherent for days. And if she survives her training, there’s a good possibility she won’t survive a plot to murder the Commander.

As Yelena finds out more and more about what’s going on around her the entire picture changes, and she’s forced to look deep inside herself for strength she isn’t sure she possesses. Not only that, but a traitorous plot is revealed and Yelena seems to be right in the middle of it. Plus, the General whose son she murdered isn’t happy to wait around and see if she dies by poison.

As the story develops, and I was shown more and more of Yelena’s world, I was completely drawn in. And just when I thought I’d figured out what was going on, a new revelation would occur and I’d have to review everything I thought I knew about the story and characters. It truly made me think, which doesn’t happen that often.

I also have to tell you that the romance was just an added bonus. When I first started reading, I didn’t even think this was a romance novel. But as I watched Yelena fall in love, I was pleasantly surprised!

I truly admired the way MVS brought in new characters, as well. Though there are several by the end of the book, they were introduced gradually and I never felt overwhelmed or like there was too much going on at once. There was also a magical element to this story that I didn’t expect, but which, I felt, was also an added bonus.

Overall I was extremely impressed. So much so that I immediately ordered the second installment, Magic Study (review to follow).

As a first novel, I’d say Maria V. Snyder certainly left her mark. I highly recommend this book and look forward to more from MVS in the future.

5 out of 5

The series is as follows:

Poison Study
Magic Study
Fire Study

You can buy this book here or here in eBook format. Or, you can buy the bundle here.

five-stars

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