Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
Discovering her fate could prove deadly…
Yelena Zaltana has been found guilty of possessing magical powers. The Code of Behaviour that rules the land of Ixia states she must be executed. Escape is her only hope.
But when the freedom Yelena has fought for is once more in jeopardy, she must use her magic to survive.
With only one year to prove herself, Yelena’s future is uncertain and when magic is involved one mistake could mean sudden death.
Warning: Spoilers for Poison Study ahead, mainly in the first paragraph of the plot section.
You know sometimes how you start reading a book and it’s all a bit ‘meh’, and then suddenly you really get into it and it’s gripping and exciting? Well, that’s exactly how I felt reading Magic Study. To start with, I found it slow and not as interesting as Poison Study, but about half way through I changed my mind. The pace picked up, loads happened, and it was so much better than the first half. It left me feeling just as in love with this world as I was the when I read the first book.
The cover for this one is quite pretty, and I suppose the swirly purple/blue thing on the front sort of represents magic. It does have quite the mystical feel and, similarly to Poison Study, the cover has various words in the background that indicate parts of the plot (magic, healing, poison, story weaving and love). These words all play such a huge part in the book and I like the way they become part of the cover.
This book still focuses on Yelena, but she is now on her way to Sitia with Irys (a Master Magician) to meet her family. The Commander in Ixia has told her that if she were to return, she would be executed, and so she knows that her only choice is to enter a whole new world of magic. Yelena has to leave behind Valek and her friends and once she enters Sitia and meets her family, she finds herself in danger straight away.
I found that I couldn’t get into the book to start with and I was tempted to stop reading, but I’m glad I didn’t. Although the plot isn’t as interesting at the beginning of the book, it does get a bit better by the time she reaches the academy and a lot better when the Ixians arrive. After they arrived, things got exciting and the book really started to grip me. I couldn’t put it down as the tension increased and all the parts I loved most about the book happened towards the end.
I loved Yelena in the first book, and she didn’t disappoint in Magic Study. Her terrible past is brought up by many characters in this book, but she always gets past it and carries on with her life. Yelena is also a lot of fun and she always manages to get some banter into the book, especially once Ari and Janco arrive. Another thing I love about Yelena is the fact that she’ll go ahead and trust her instincts and do what she has to to save other people, without worrying about what might happen to her. I also like the fact that she’s ready to trust people, even though she never had anyone that she could trust in her childhood.
Valek didn’t appear in this book until halfway through, but he still made quite the impact. He was his usual self, and his scenes with Yelena were perfect, although I was a little disappointed with their reunion. It’s obvious that he still cares for her so much and that their time apart has made no difference to their feelings. One thing that did get on my nerves about Valek was the amount of times he called Yelena “love”. I just found it getting on my nerves because he seemed to use the word at the end of every single sentence.
The side characters were awesome as always. Irys grew on me a lot in this book, and I loved the way she would trust Yelena to follow her instincts most of the time. Ari and Janco were also just as awesome as ever and they still remain my favourite characters in this series. There was always banter between them and they made every scene that they were in a lot of fun. It’s a shame that they weren’t in this book more. In addition to the characters from the first book, there were some Sitian additions and one of the ones I loved most was Dax, one of Yelena’s fellow students. It felt as if he was a sort of stand-in for Ari and Janco to start with, but I grew to love him. I only wish that he. Ari and Janco had shared some scenes.
The Little Things
The magic is cool in this book, and I liked the way Yelena was always learning new things about her skills and abilities. I also liked discovering more about the abilities of other characters in the book.
The clans were cool, and I also liked the whole spying vibe in the book. Sadly, there wasn’t much mention of assassins and them being awesome, and I think that some of the suspension and tension of the first book was lost because Yelena wasn’t in danger of being poisoned all the time. Then again, she did seem to be in danger quite a bit.
Overall, Magic Study didn’t live up to my expectations after reading the first book, but I still fell in love with it eventually. I’ll definitely be reading the final book in the series, and I’d recommend it to fans of fantasy, romance, and magic.