The apprenticeship is over now the real test has begun.
When word that Yelena is a Soulfinderable to capture and release soulsspreads 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 herselfand save the land she holds dear.
About the Author
Maria V. Snyder is the New York Times bestselling author of the Study series, the Glass series, the Healer series, Inside Out, and Outside In. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Meteorology from Penn State and a Master of Arts degree in fiction writing from Seton Hill University. Unable to part ways with Seton Hill, Maria is currently a teacher and mentor for the MFA program. Find her on the Web at MariaVSnyder.com.
Read an Excerpt
By Maria V. Snyder Mira Copyright © 2008 Maria V. Snyder
All right reserved.
"That's pathetic, Yelena," Dax complained.
"An all-powerful Soulfinder who isn't all-powerful. Where's the fun in that?" He threw up his long thin arms in mock frustration.
"Sorry to disappoint you, but I'm not the one who attached the 'all-powerful' to the title." I pulled a black strand of hair from my eyes. Dax and I had been working on expanding my magical abilities without success. As we practiced on the ground f loor of Irys's Keep towerwell, mine too, since she has given me three f loors to useI tried not to let my own aggravation interfere with the lessons.
Dax was attempting to teach me how to move objects with magic. He had rearranged the furniture, lined up the plush armchairs in neat rows and turned the couch over on its side with his power. My efforts to restore Irys's cozy layout and to stop an end table from chasing me failed. Though not from lack of tryingmy shirt clung to my sweaty skin.
A sudden chill shook me. Despite a small fire in the hearth, the rugs and the closed shutters, the living room was icy. The white marble walls, while wonderful during the hot season, sucked all the heat from the air throughout the cold season. I imagined the room's warmth following the stone's green veins and escaping outside.
Dax Greenblade, my friend, tugged his tunic down. Tall and lean, his physique matcheda typical Greenblade Clan member. He reminded me of a blade of grass, including a sharp edge his tongue.
"Obviously you have no ability to move objects, so let's try fire. Even a baby can light a fire!" Dax placed a candle on the table.
"A baby? Now you're really exaggerating. Again." A person's ability to access the power source and perform magic manifested at puberty.
"Details. Details." Dax waved a hand as if shooing a f ly. "Now concentrate on lighting this candle."
I cocked an eyebrow at him. So far, all my efforts on inanimate items were for naught. I could heal my friend's body, hear his thoughts and even see his soul, but when I reached for a thread of magic and tried to use it to move a chair, nothing happened.
Dax held up three tan fingers. "Three reasons why you should be able to do this. One, you're powerful. Two, you're tenacious. And three, you've beat Ferde, the Soulstealer."
Who had escaped, and was free to start another soul-stealing spree. "Reminding me of Ferde is helping me how ?"
"It's supposed to be a pep talk. Do you want me to list all the heroic deeds you've"
"No. Let's get on with the lesson." The last thing I wanted was to hear Dax recite the latest gossip. The news about my being a Soulfinder had spread through the Magician's Keep like dandelion seeds carried by a strong wind. And I still couldn't think about the title without a cringe of doubt, worry and fear touching my heart.
I pushed all distracting thoughts aside and connected to the power source. The power blanketed the world, but only magicians could pull threads of magic from it to use. I gathered a strand to me and directed it to the candle, willing a f lame to form.
"Try harder," Dax said.
Increasing the power, I aimed again.
Behind the candle, Dax's face turned red and he sputtered as if suppressing a cough. A f lash seared my eyes as the wick ignited.
"That's rude." His outraged expression was comical.
"You wanted it lit."
"Yeah, but I didn't want to do it for you!" He glanced around the room as if seeking the patience to deal with an unruly child. "Zaltanas and their weird powers, forcing me to light the candle. Pah! To think I wanted to live vicariously through your adventures."
"Watch what you say about my clan. Or I'll " I cast about for a good threat.
"I'll tell Second Magician where you disappear to every time he pulls one of those old books off his shelf." Bain was Dax's mentor, and, while the Second Magician delighted in ancient history, Dax would rather learn the newest dance steps.
"Okay, okay. You win and you've proved your point. No ability to light a fire. I'll stick to translating ancient languages." Dax made a dour face. "And you stick to finding souls." He teased, but I sensed an undercurrent to his words.
His uneasiness over my abilities was for excellent reasons. The last Soulfinder was born in Sitia about a hundred and fifty years ago. During his short life, he had turned his enemies into mindless slaves and almost succeeded in his quest to rule the country. Most Sitians didn't react well to the news about another Soulfinder.
The awkward moment passed as a mischievous glint lit Dax's bottle-green eyes. "I'd better go. I have to study. We have a history test tomorrow. Remember?"
I groaned, thinking of the large tome waiting for me.
"Your knowledge of Sitian history is also pathetic."
"Two reasons." I held up my fingers. "One, Ferde Daviian. Two, the Sitian Council."
Dax gestured with his hand.
Before he could say anything, I said, "I know. Details, details."
He smiled and wrapped his cloak around him, letting in a gust of arctic wind as he left. The f lames in the hearth pulsed for a moment before settling. I drew closer, warming my hands over the fire. My thoughts returned to those two reasons.
Ferde was a member of the unsanctioned Daviian Clan, who were a renegade group of the Sandseed Clan. The Daviians wanted more from life than wandering the Avibian Plains and telling stories. On a power quest, Ferde had kidnapped and tortured twelve girls to steal their souls and increase his magical power. Valek and I had stopped him before he could complete his quest.
An ache for Valek pumped in my heart. I touched his butterf ly pendant hanging from my neck. He had returned to Ixia a month ago, but I missed him more each day. Perhaps I should get myself into a life-threatening situation. He had a knack for showing up when I most needed him.
Unfortunately, those times were fraught with danger and there hadn't been many chances to just be with each other. I longed to be assigned a boring diplomatic mission to Ixia.
The Sitian Council wouldn't approve the trip until they decided what to do with me. Eleven clan leaders and four Master Magicians comprised the Council, and they had argued about my new role of Soulfinder all this past month. Of the four Masters, Irys Jewelrose, Fourth Magician, was my strongest supporter and Roze Featherstone, First Magician, was my strongest detractor.
I stared at the fire, following the dance of f lames along the logs. My thoughts lingered on Roze. The randomness of the blaze stopped. The f lames moved with a purpose, divided and gestured as if on a stage.
Odd. I blinked. Instead of returning to normal, the blaze grew until it filled my vision and blocked out the rest of the room. The bright patterns of color stabbed my eyes. I closed them, but the image remained. Apprehension rolled along my skin. Despite my strong mental barrier, a magician wove magic around me.
Caught, I watched as the fire scene transformed into a lifelike picture of me. Flame Me bent over a prone body. A soul rose from the body, which I then inhaled. The soulless body stood and Flame Me pointed to another figure. Turning, the body stalked the new person and then strangled him.
Alarmed, I tried to stop the fire vision to no avail. I was forced to observe myself make more soulless people, who all went on a massive killing spree. An opposing army attacked. Fire swords f lashed. Flames of blood splattered. I would have been impressed with the magician's level of artistic detail if I hadn't been horrified by the blazing carnage.
In time, my army was extinguished and I was caught in a net of fire. Flame Me was dragged, chained to a post and doused with oil.
I snapped back to my body. Standing next to the hearth, I still felt the web of magic around me. It contracted and tiny f lames erupted on my clothes.
I couldn't stop the advance with my power. Cursing my lack of fire skill, I wondered why I didn't possess this magical talent.
An answer echoed in my mind. Because we need a way to kill you.
I stumbled away from the blaze. Sweat poured down my back as the sound of sizzling blood vibrated in my ears. All moisture f led my mouth and my heart cooked in my chest. The hot air seared my throat. The smell of charred f lesh filled my nose and my stomach heaved. Pain assaulted every inch of my skin.
No air to scream.
I rolled around the f loor, trying to smother the fire.
The magical attack stopped, releasing me from the torment. I dropped to the f loor and breathed in the cool air.
"Yelena, what happened?" Irys touched an icy hand to my forehead. "Are you all right?"
My mentor and friend peered down at me. Concern lined her face and filled her emerald eyes. "I'm fine." My voice croaked, setting off a coughing fit. Irys helped me sit up.
"Look at your clothes. Did you set yourself on fire?"
Black soot streaked the fabric and burn holes peppered my sleeves and skirt/pants. Beyond repair, I would have to ask my cousin, Nutty, to sew me another set. I sighed. I should just order a hundred of the cotton tunics and skirt/pants from her to save time. Events, including magical attacks, conspired to keep my life interesting.
"A magician sent me a message through the fire," I explained. Even though I knew Roze possessed the strongest magic in Sitia, and could bypass my mental defenses, I didn't want to accuse her without proof.
Before Irys could question me further, I asked, "How did the Council session go?" I hadn't been allowed to attend. Although the rainy weather wasn't conducive for walking to the Council Hall, it still rankled.
The Council wanted me well-versed in all the issues they dealt with on a daily basis as part of my training to be a Liaison between them and the Territory of Ixia. My training as a Soul-finder, though, remained a subject the Council hadn't agreed on. According to Irys's theory, my reluctance to begin learning could be the cause of the Council's indecision. I thought they worried I would follow the same path as the Soulfinder from long ago once I discovered the extent of my powers.
"The session " Her lips twisted in a wry smile. "Good and bad. The Council has agreed to support your training." She paused.
I steeled myself for the next bit of news.
"Roze was upset about the decision."
At least now I knew the motive behind my fire message.
"She still thinks you're a threat. So the Council has agreed to let Roze train you."
I scrambled to my feet. "No."
"It's the only way."
I bit back a reply. There were other options. There had to be. I was in the Magician's Keep, surrounded by magicians of various skill levels. There had to be another who could work with me. "What about you or Bain?"
"They wanted a mentor who was impartial. Out of the four Masters, that left Roze."
"But she's not"
"I know. This could be beneficial. Working with Roze, you'll be able to convince her you're not out to rule the country. She'll understand your desire to help both Sitia and Ixia."
My doubtful expression remained.
"She doesn't like you, but her passion for keeping Sitia a safe and free place to live will override any personal feelings."
Irys handed me a scroll, stopping my sarcastic comment on Roze's personal feelings. "This arrived during the Council session."
I opened the message. In tight-printed letters was an order from Moon Man. It read, Yelena,I have found what you seek.Come.
Excerpted from Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder Copyright © 2008 by Maria V. Snyder. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Fire Study, the final installment of the Study trilogy, was better than Magic Study, but still not as good as Poison Study. First of all, I like that Valek was more of an important character here than in Magic Study. Valek is awesome. All the other characters are great too, and not even the insignificant characters are flat or boring. And over the course of three books, you get to see the characters developing and maturing while still staying the same people. Character development is rare in YA books nowadays, so I'm happy whenever I find it. One of the things I liked the most about this last book is that we finally learn about the Commander's "mutation"! I finished Magic Study feeling very confused about him, and thought that the author would decide to keep the truth about the "mutation" a mystery. So I was very thankful that we were given an explanation! Also, while Snyder is no Kimberly Derting, she's great at writing suspense. I had to pull a caffeine-fueled all-nighter for this book because I HAD to know what would happen next! And my efforts were not in vain. The twist at the end was unpredictable and completely original! I found the concept of putting souls inside glass fascinating. My only criticism is that it would have been nice to learn more about the Fire Warper, half the book long I was confused to who he even was! But other than that, Fire Study was a great ending to a great series! I'll be looking forward to reading Opal's story (the Glass series).
After being raised in the Territory of Ixia and having gained the trust of Commander Ambrose and the love of his second in command Valek, Yelena returns to her homeland Sitia to study magic. Belonging to both countries, Yelena wants to become the liaison so that neither place will war against the other. Her studies are once again interrupted when she goes to find Ferde the Soulstealer and Cahill the pretender to the Ixian throne.------------ It is believed they are hiding in the Avibian Plains where the Sanseed Clan (Yelena¿s cosins) live. A splinter group of the clan has turned to the forbidden blood magic and Storyweavers dub them Vermin whereas they call themselves the Daviian Clan. Their mysterious leader¿s goal is to rule Sitia no outsider has seen him. The Vermin take control of the Sitia government and prepare to conquer Ixia. Yelena and her Ixian lover Valek hope to prevent the carnage, but to succeed she must make a promise that will keep the pair of lovers separated forever.------------------ FIRE STUDY is a magical tale filled with intrigue, double crosses, and duplicity and stars a beleaguered heroine who swims in treacherous waters in order to stop a bloody war from occurring as both countries are dear to her. Valek loves Yelena beyond reason and will do almost anything to help her yet he is also a sexy alpha male who will not allow the woman who owns his heart walk all over him. Yelena loves him too and has started to get close with her family but first she must stop an evil person from destroying her birthplace before getting involved in personal matters.------------- Harriet Klausner
The first book in this series,Poisin Study, was absolutely amazing, it held my attention the whole book. The second was great also, but I wanot impressed with this book. Not only was it boring, but there was no big difference from the beginning and the end. At the beginning she knew she was a Soulfinder and at the end she knew she was a soulfinder. From the previous two book you would think Yelena would have caught on faster but...no...no she didnt. I usually finish reading a book within a day, well this took me 5 months. Not impressed Maria not impressed.
This is the final book in the Study series. As much as I loved these books, this one was my least favorite. I still like Yelena and think that she is a great character, along with Valek, but this book just did not come together in the same way. Snyder is still very good at creating excitement, this book starts off quite exciting and she has a knack for cliffhanger ending chapters. However, I found this book to be a bit repetitive with many of the details. I also found Snyder spent a lot of time filling in background from the other books. Sometimes this was seamless, but sometimes it felt like a bit much. This book brought together a lot of the best characters from both of the previous books. The action in this book was non-stop, as Yelena faced one horrible situation after another. I am torn about this book - I really did like it. Despite some of the issues I had with the book, I raced right though it, it just wasn't as good as the other two. However, it is nice to see how everything ended and to enjoy the adventure of how Yelena learns to counter her most fearsome enemy yet, the Fire Warper. All in all, a good book and worth the read, especially if you have read the other two in the series.
I picked up this book because it was recommended to me by my sister. I was pleasently surprised by it. Ms. Snyder really brought her characters to life. I cried, I laughed, I didn't want the book to end. I felt like I was with Yelena the entire way throught the book. This is a must read for anyone who likes a little romance, a lot of adventure, and a lot of mischief.
this book was siply lovely, my only greivences are that the ending is a little anticlimactic, and some times the plot was a bit confusing... but other than that this book is a must read
The much anticipated third book in her Study series, Fire Study does not disappoint. Fire Study picks up where Magic Study left off, returning to Yelena at the Citadel in Sitia, and the escape of Ferde, the Soulstealer. Yelena, awaiting a decision by the Sitian Council on her further training as a Soulfinder, receives a message from her Story Weaver that Ferde may have been spotted on a path dangerously close to Yelena's family. Fearing for the safety of their family, Yelena and her brother Leif leave the Citadel to pursue Ferde. They soon encounter powers much stronger and more horrifying than Ferde and his soulstealing. A rogue clan are using the Kirikawa ritual of blood magic -- taking the beating heart out of a person and drinking their hearts blood -- to gain magical power. Worse still, this rogue clan has been gaining power with the help of someone on the inside of the Citadel to take control of Sitia and to wage war on Ixia, led by the Fire Warper, who uses Yelena's fear of her powers and inability to use her magic to control fire, to hinder her. With the help of Valek, Jango, and Ari, Yelena and Leif work to find a way to stop the rogue clan from killing, taking over Sitia, and waging war on Ixia. As ever, Snyder's world and characters are wonderfully realized and vivid. She pulls the reader in and keeps her spellbound with suspense, twists, and of course the romance between Yelena and Valek. At times Snyder shies away from delving deeper into the more intensely emotional moments for Yelena, but her reasons for doing so are fully justified by the end. In the hands of any other author, some of the plot elements during the search for Ferde would seem trite and cliche but Snyder weaves them into her story, so that every move by every character is there for a reason and contributes to the story. And that is a gift of a true Story Weaver. I highly recommend Fire Study. But if you have not yet read any of the Study books, begin with Poison Study. I promise you won't be disappointed.
I strongly recommend reading Poison Study, Assassin Study, Magic Study, and Power Study all at a go. The two novellas are optional, but canonical and fun. Snyder's world seems to be made up of just two countries: Ixia and Sitia. Ixia has been ruled by Commander Ambrose and his generals for about a decade when Poison Study starts, after a military coup overthrew the old monarchy. There are no beggars, every child is entitled to an education, nobody has to go hungry or homeless, and promotions are based solely on skill, with no gender or racial discrimination—but every citizen also has to wear a uniform declaring his or her proper location and job function, government approval is required for marrying, moving to a new home, or changing jobs, and anybody identified as having magic talent is killed immediately. Everyone is subject to the Code of Behavior, and there are no exceptions for any kind of extenuating circumstances. If you kill someone, you are sentenced to death, even if you were defending yourself or another.Yelena has been in the Commander's dungeon for most of a year after killing the son of General Brazell. Valek, Ambrose's spymaster, gives her a choice: go to the gallows, or become the Commander's food taster. The job doesn't have a long life expectancy, as poisoning attempts are fairly common, but Yelena sees a chance at life better than immediate death, and takes the job.Yelena manages to survive several attempts to murder her. The fact that Brazell wants her dead is understandable, but the other attempts are mysterious. Why would a Sitian master magician try to kill her? Who would slip poison into her wine?Magic Study finds Yelena in Sitia, learning to cope with a very different way of life. Magic is almost taken for granted, and a strong family/clan structure forms the backbone of the government. But why are there beggars in the streets, and why is it that only those who can afford it are educated? Everyone in Sitia believes that life in Ixia must be horrific, but looking around her, Yelena sees that Ambrose's rule does have its benefits.Fire Study moves between Sitia and Ixia, involving the leaders of both nations and intriguers who want to bring both of them down by pitching them against each other. Yelena and her friends are trying to prevent a war and reveal the traitors, but they've been declared outlaw and have to sneak around trying to figure out what's going on.Another reviewer found Yelena too talented for belief, but I found her fairly realistic. She certainly isn't good at everything—she could use a lot of help in terms of social skills!—and the skills that she begins with and gains over the course of the trilogy do make sense. She trained as an acrobat when she was a child, so it does make sense that she is able to learn some types of self-defense without too much trouble. Some of her aptitudes make more sense after she learns more about her family background. She does find that she has magical abilities, but she isn't good at everything, and indeed, cannot seem to master some tasks that other magicians consider rudimentary.I did find some of the betrayals to be difficult to comprehend, as some of the traitors would have no defense against mental scans. There's a Sitian Ethical Code of Conduct that prohibits non-consensual scans, but it doesn't apply to criminals, and in a war situation, I found it hard to believe that nobody ever did a little telepathic peeking at the people around them.These were fun books, and they could be useful in looking at the pros and cons of different types of governments with teens. There's some sex in the books, but nothing terribly explicit. The violence is more troublesome, but the author never dwells on it.
Being a soulfinder isn't making Yelena many friends. In fact, it is getting her a lot of unwelcome attention especially from the head of the Magician council. However she has to fully embrace her powers to keep Sitia and eventually Ixia free from people that would use and ensare them all. Snyder is an excellent author who's ability to make you feel part of the story is uncanny.
I enjoyed this series very much (Poison Study was the best of the 3). It has a strong female lead character who is fully fleshed out, it has no profanity, a decent romantic thread, and an engrossing set of plots.This final entry of the series - Fire Study - was the weakest of the 3. I found that it had a few too many "recaps" (i.e. re-introducing characters from previous books and a couple instances of recapping events/characters from THIS book) and a few too many scenes with obvious "moral lessons". It felt like the author lost track of who her audience was: if someone were reading book three, they probably already read the other 2 so why the recaps? and... we weren't force-fed moral lessons in the first 2 books, so why make them so obvious add-ons in the 3rd? The best part of books one and two is that you felt like it was a fantasy written with a mature adult in mind, this one feels like it was written for a younger audience.It's still a great series, and this book wraps it up nicely.
Yelena's adventures wrap up in this third novel, where she finally comes into her own as a Soulfinder. "Fire Study" is clearly a more traditional fantasy, where the powers of the protagonist will save the world. Compared to the coming-of-age and character growth of the previous two entries, in that aspect, it's slightly less fresh and engaging. The fact that Yelena also seems to have moved more away from her Ixian roots and become more fully Sitian, rather than being a bridge between two nations as she had hoped, is a little disheartening. However, Snyder pulls no punches in depicting the personal cost of being a savior, and the aspects of the villains and the peril and definitely new and interesting, and as a conclusion to Yelena's journey and several unanswered questions from the two previous novels, it's a very satisfying read.
Definitely another wonderful book written by Snyder. The novel is dramatic and hooks your attention from the very start. Once you reach the mid-point of the book, then the real fun starts. Once the serious action starts there's no stop to it. Yelena is a wanted criminal, captured, freed, captured, pretends to be captured...and well you get the idea--non-stop action.All the characters contained in the novel are not there to move the story along. They are all obviously important to the story and extremely like-able.My only problem with the story is Yelena's unemotional personality. Yeah, she cried... sort of...once. Considering the things that she does in Fire Study, I expected to be able to "feel" for her. Snyder didn't allow me to do that because frankly Yelena never really felt. She just "did". She saved someone, she fought, she was almost killed and life moved on for her, unaffected.
I loved the first two books, but Fire Study was a big disappointment. A shame, because I know the author has talent--Poison Study and Magic Study were proof of that--but that talent was unrealized in the third book. The novel gets off to a bad start, with paragraphs of backstory about the first two books' events filling much of the first 50-100 pages. On top of that, the plot grows stale and familiar, loaded with situations I've read a hundred times, with no new twists to freshen them. I also felt that the author allowed certain things to happen--things that made no sense--just because she needed them to set up the rest of the story. It wasn't believable. And as in the second book, I got sick of being told about every time Yelena and Valek have sex. But this was the least of my complaints, as I think I've established already.I don't know what happened with this book. Maybe the deadline ran out before the book was ready. I still recommend it to those who read Poison Study and Magic Study, but only because it finishes out the series. I just hope her next novel--the first in a new series--turns out better than Fire Study did.
I had hoped that the second book was just an anomaly and we'd return to the more original concepts of the first volume and that the writing would pick up with practice. However, the writing remains flat and the plot feels like that of many other novels. I read about half-way, then jumped to the end to confirm that I had, indeed, guessed the ending and then put it down.
Absolutely amazing. I know this one only came out a couple days ago, but I love her writing, and I hope that we'll be seeing another one from Snyder soon. I love the characters, and I love the books. All three of them were worth reading again and again.
This whole series is written very lovely. The imagination is refreshing. You can relate to the main character and her struggles. I am looking forward to the next book but am also sad to see where the author will end the series.
Summary: Yelena's training is interrupted again when her world is thrown into turmoil by the Fire Starter who tries to lure her to his side.The Take Away: Honestly, I was disappointed in this title, a third in a series too. I don't know if it was too long since I read the frist two titles or what. But I found this one hard to follow. I had the worst time keeping characters straight, even when they had already made an appearance in this book. I don't know if this was third book syndrome or if it was beacuse she was introducing too many characters. Maybe it was to keep the reader as off guard as Yelena, but really, shouldn'nt I ahve been able to remember her mother's name?I would have liked to see more of Yelena's training, instead of the hands on, ad hoc method thrust upon her via adventure.I hope the next title, which I will get, is better.
Incredibly disappointing. In the previous two books, the main character, Yelena, bounds through life getting wrapped up in potentially world-changing plots and coming out on top. In Poison Study and Magic Study, Yelena was smart, resourceful, and capable, which allowed her to get through very tough scrapes and with the help of her friends, she was both the subject and the perpetrator of nick-of-time saves. This book attempts to do things in the same vein, but this Yelena is suddenly uncertain, overly concerned with her own potential for evil and uncertain about her intrinsic use of magic. Meanwhile, she ignores or pushes away both her allies and her lover. Further, she seems to lose the use of her brain entirely for a good portion of the book. As she becomes ruled by (heretofore uncharacteristic) emotion, the author tries to convince readers the changes are justified but the plot suffers, the book feels disjointed, characters behave without good motives, and ultimately, there are no surprises in the end. On a final note, I am sincerely annoyed by the changes in publishing. Instead of a trio of matching hardcover books, number three was released directly to trade paperback under the "Mira" label, rather than "Luna", who published the previous two. The volume ends with half a dozen pages of ads, too. Blech.
Yelena leaves the citadel to track down Ferde, who has escaped. She has her brother Leif and Moon Man with her. Later a warrant for her and Leif arrest is issued by the Council. They escape into Ixia. I will leave the description there. The book has no main plot, just a bunch of small plots. The story is disjointed and was not plotted very well. I was disappointed since I enjoyed the first 2 books in this series.
I was so sad to finish this series. I so love Yelena and Valek. They are wonderful characters. Watching Yelena grow from the young lady ready to die by hangman's noose grow to become such a strong heroine was exciting. She is a heroine that has fears and isn't afraid to admit it.She is far from perfect, thank goodness, I can't stand a perfect heroine. It takes too much fun from the story. Yelena growing relationship with her family has been fun to watch, it was nice to see her ...more I was so sad to finish this series. I so love Yelena and Valek. They are wonderful characters. Watching Yelena grow from the young lady ready to die by hangman's noose grow to become such a strong heroine was exciting. She is a heroine that has fears and isn't afraid to admit it.She is far from perfect, thank goodness, I can't stand a perfect heroine. It takes too much fun from the story. Yelena growing relationship with her family has been fun to watch, it was nice to see her admit that she might need someone else.To be a Soulfinder was scary and poor Yelena had no clue what it meant or how to handle it. First she wouldn't ask for help then it wasn't there when she needed it the most. Read no further because I am going to add a spoiler which I normally don't. At first when Yelena thought she would have to give up Valek, and then when she thought he was dead it was heart wrenching. I felt for her and I felt sorry for myself because I have grown rather attached to the jerk. And I especially love her relationship with Kiki her horse. A better best friend a girl can never find.
Yelena has discovered that she is a soulfinder, able to capture and release souls and she's in danger, both from her enemies and from people who fear her abilities. Her homeland is in danger and she has to work to stay alive and help those she cares for.Interesting, and the characters leap off the pages, however it didn't engage me as much as the first one.
Ideas for story elements are like grapes. We can devour them off the vine for the sweet pop in the mouth and feel pleasure. Of course, we need to consume several to feel satisfied. We can allow ideas to grow wrinkly and discolored and devour them later as raisins that provide pleasure and also are longer lasting ¿ in storage and in nourishment. We can allow story ideas to ferment tangent to other ingredients and age in a dark cool place, and use them up later as wine when they provide long lasting pleasure and also maybe a giggle or two. I¿m in favor of the wine.I have been reading the Study Series and have enjoyed following the antics of Yelena Lliana Zaltana. I didn¿t think I would ever make this next statement, but there¿s too much magic in the stories. Everybody has magic, even the leader of the district that killed all the magicians. The two seemingly untalented characters, who only study plants for derivatives and distill perfume, are parents to the most powerful apprentices. How is that possible since it was established that magic follows the bloodlines? Also these parents are introduced in a domestic environment, but later are referred to as king and queen of the clan that only has clan leaders, not royalty. The stories are bad guy driven, but the bad guys are wholly craven and unrelenting. The good guys are wholly loyal and hiding a secret heart of love. Oh-hum. My real complaint, though, is that the writer got tired of her story and her otherworld. The third story is weighed with exposition explaining past events, and the plotline jumps from one fire to another ¿ literally. Action scenes are related after the fact, and some secrets are held but only until the next chapter. Preventing death at the hands of the bad guys is all-consuming ¿ almost a substitute for character development. There¿s no breath for festival days or growth with age or mentoring sisters.And everybody has magic, even the horses ¿ like a cloying dessert (with raisins) that makes you reach for a cool glass of water. I enjoy these books and sat up late at night reading them, the true test for the fantasy genre. I regret the writer lost patience, rushed through intriguing scene set-ups, and used and dropped characters. What happened to Fisk and his street urchin army? How did he know clan legacy taught in the schools? Was he a latent magician too? What happened to Captain Star? Will she appear in the next installment as a confidant to Valek? I wanted wine and I got raisins.
I found the story less interesting than Poison Study or Magic Study.The flashback explanations meant for readers who had not read the first two tomes had me really annoyed at times. So my rating is down one star for this book.
This was the least enjoyable of the Poison study books. Still compelling, but the repetitive plot grated a bit. A 3.5 rating this time, since I simply didn't get enough of my favourite characters from the series. A good conclusion though!
Synopsis: After the events of Magic Study, Yelena is now considered to be a Soulfinder; one who guides souls to their final resting place, or sends them back to their bodies. She's still training with Irys to help explore her new abilities and learn more about magic. However, Cahil and Ferde are still at large after being freed at the conclusion of Magic Study and they are very much in the back of Yelena's mind.Her learning then is cut short after getting a mysterious message from Moon Man, her storyteller, saying he has found what they are looking for. The Sitian council, with Roza holding them back, is not deciding anything without more information so she informs the Master magicians that she is traveling to meet Moon man.Yelena, Moon Man, Leif, Marrok, and Tauno (a Sandseedwho I screamed Traitor! at many times before it actually happened) travel all over Sitia to try and find Cahil and Ferde. On her search Yelena encounters the Fire Warper, a soul from the underworld who wants to get to the sky so he can control Sitia and Ixia. (Yelena is afraid of fire, and as a magician, she can't control it unlike her brother Leif).A clan of magicians is using Blood magic is trying to take over the Citadel and they will kill anybody that stands in their way; including Moons Sandseed population. But with the possibility of someone close to her being a traitor and the added stress of finding out what it means to be a Soul finder Yelena may not be able to stop the Fire Warper from taking control of Sitia and Ixia as well as herself.Gede Sandseed shows up on the scene after his clan is massacred and is almost immediately told that he will be Yelena's new trainer and Story Teller. (Don't trust him! I screamed. Ok, I have an overactive imagination from reading too many of these novels and trust issues as well.)Her mage mentor, Irys Jewelrose aka the Fourth Magician, is still on her side, but the First Mage of the land, Roze Featherstone, is emphatically not and wants her dead and gone; which she tries by manipulating Marrok into lying to the council. After reading Magic Study, you could just stand up and scream that Roze was not what she appears to be; especially after she tried to force herself into Yelena's thoughts.In this book, that realization comes to fruitation in a big way. Roze Featherstone is later revealed to be the leader of the Daviian clan. She's the one who freed the Fire Warper and learned how to use blood magic in order to take over the council and go to war with Ixia.Valek is almost completely absent from the book (even more so than in Magic Study). I'm sure the reasoning was that this was Yelena's story to tell, and she will either crash and burn, or be the heroine we expect her to be. Sure, Valek plays a part in the story line, but doesn't appear until page 200. Yikes. What would I have liked to see more of? Yelena's 71 day journey to the underworld with the Fire Warper. I'm giving this book 3.5 stars and will consider reading the glass series sometime soon.