Published: 1st October 2006
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
Format: Paperback (purchased)
You know your life is complicated when you miss your days as a poison taster…
With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way to be united with the family she’d been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But although she has gained her freedom, she once again finds herself alone – separated from her lover Valek and suspected as a spy for her reluctance to conform to Sitian ways.
Despite the turmoil, she’s eager to start her magic training – especially as she’s been given one year to harness her power or be put to death. But her plans take a radical turn when she becomes embroiled in a plot to reclaim Ixia’s throne for a lost prince – and gets entangled in powerful rivalries with her fellow magicians.
If that wasn’t bad enough, it appears her brother would love to see her dead. Luckily, Yelena has some old friends to help her with her new enemies.
Continuing on from Yelena’s adventures in Poison Study, Magic Study is the story of Yelena moving to Sitian after being exiled from Ixia for having magical abilities. But never fear, Yelena is never far away from a truck load of trouble and a hell of a lot of mystery and intrigue.
I’m not going to lie, having finished Poison Study in record time, I dived into this book head first and was disappointed to say the least with the first third of the book. Coming off the backs of non-stop-action of book one, I expected the same thing was surprised to find the first third of this book plateau-ing as Snyder set up an entire different world in Sitia. The book did pick up pace after a while though, so I highly encourage anyone else encountering the same issue to stick with it.
Magic Study is a bit hit and miss for me at times. Don’t get me wrong there are moments of pure gold, but there are also whole chunks of craziness and unpredictable and unprecedented character development … if you could call it that. I missed the smart and sassy, intelligent and strong Yelena from the first book. The girl who watched and listened, gathered facts and knew when to fight and when to run is missing in this book. Instead we have a carbon copy in parts, who naturally befuddled by the new environment and her families expectations and outright dismissal and suspicions, is throwing tantrums, showing off, bossing everyone around and generally not listening to advice. One of the things I loved most about Yelena in the first book was that she was a strong and independent heroine who was more than capable of getting herself out of the various scraps she would inevitably find herself in. This book some of that charm is missing.
Another small misgiving with this book was the lack of Valek for two thirds of the book. While I understand it’s Yelena’s story, and there is no place for Valek in Sitia, I could help but crave his influence on the story (much like Yelena craved for her lover in Ixia).
One thing I will say is that I absolutely adored the moments with Janco, Ari and Valek once more. These three heroes are pure gold and they instantly pick up the moral of the story where it lags. I love their sassy humour and wicked charm. There were a number of new Sixian characters introduced too that were equally as entertaining. I for one loved Dax and his playful awareness of Yelena and everything stacking up against her. And as for Cahill, well the jury is still out on how much of a bad guy he really is. One thing is for sure with Yelena, Valek, Janco and Ari around there will never be a dull moment. Or any time to sleep either for that matter. Do these guys every get a holiday from saving everyone?
Lastly, the magical elements and developments in this book were satisfying and enjoyable. The fact that Yelena can’t master everything at once was a welcome change. Some of the names – like Moon Man etc – did seem a bit juvenile however, but being such a small thing overall I was more than happy to ignore that face. The involvement of Kiki was a bizarre, yet welcome twist too.
Despite my misgivings, will I continue with the series, Yes. One hundred percent. But I’m hoping in Fire Study and the subsequent three books after that, that Yelena sorts herself out and gets back on the same footing as book one.
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