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Maria V. Snyder – Magic Study

July 2, 2012

66. Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder (2006)
Study, Book 2

Read my review of book:
1. Poison Study

Length: 392 pages
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Started: 13 June 2012
Finished: 16 June 2012

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I was curious enough about the end of Poison Study to continue on in the series.

Yelena finds new
family, magic, and a chance
to catch a killer.

Summary: Yelena, exiled from Ixia despite her service as poison taster to the Commander, journeys south to Sitia, both to be reunited with her family, and to learn to control her magic at the Keep. But as tough as Yelena is, things in Sitia might be more than she can handle: the sudden reappearance of doting parents she can’t even remember and an older brother who hates her; the southern prejudice against Ixians in general – and her lover, Valek, in particular; the constant suspicion that she’s actually an Ixian spy; the palpable hostility from the head magician and the other students; and the separation from everything she’s ever known. On top of all that, young girls are disappearing from their families in Sitia, and turning up horribly tortured and murdered. This hits Yelena too close to home, and she vows to stop it, whatever the cost, despite not yet being fully trained… or trusted.

Review: I had a better time with Magic Study than I did with Poison Study, although in retrospect, I liked the plot somewhat less. Either Snyder’s writing style has improved, or I had just gotten used to it over the course of the two books, but it bothered me less in the second book. It’ll never be my favorite, but at least it wasn’t particularly intrusively noticeable this time. I also found Yelena less annoying than I had previously, although her interactions with the secondary characters – particularly her newly-rediscovered family – didn’t really win me over, and I found myself missing Valek, Ari, and Janco. (The one character whose introduction I wholeheartedly approved of was Kiki, the horse, who was thoroughly charming, and provided some lighter touches in what was once again a fairly dark book.) The plot wasn’t bad, and although it felt fragmented at times it all came together in the end fairly well, but I thought it lacked the freshness and originality of the condemned poison-taster plot, which was one of my favorite parts of the first book. In sum, while I’m interested enough in the story that I’ll read the third book, Fire Study, I’m just not in raptures over the series the way some people seem to be. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Better than Poison Study in some ways, not as good in others, it’s different enough from the bulk of YA fantasy that the series is at least worth checking out, even if it has yet to blow me away.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

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First Line: “We’re here,” Irys said.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 4, 2012 5:54 pm

    I am thinking I am going to reread this trilogy… It’s been ages!

    • July 6, 2012 9:37 am

      Kailana – I am a little late to the party on these books, it seems like.

  2. July 8, 2012 11:05 pm

    I know that I enjoyed this one far less than Poison Study, and the next book even less. I hope you will enjoy it more than I did, most of my Goodreads friends really liked the third one.
    I find it interesting how this book is marketed as YA in other places; here, it has been marketed as adult fantasy since the first book came out, which kind of made sense to me since Yelena, at 19, is a tad older than most YA heroines. And yet, I can totally see it working as YA! That’s the trouble I guess with categories, there is nothing ever definite.

    • July 20, 2012 9:31 am

      kay – The next one is in my queue to read, so we’ll see. I’m not expecting to love it, so maybe that’ll help? And you’re right that this book is right on the border of YA/not YA – I just went with how I’ve seen it marketed.

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