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 abilitiespowers forbidden in Ixiahas 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 enemyeven 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?
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
"We're here," Irys said.
I looked around. The surrounding jungle bulged with life. Overgrown green bushes blocked our path, vines hung from the tree canopy, and the constant chatter and trill ofjungle birds beat at my ears. Small furry creatures, who had been following us through the jungle, peeked at us from their hiding spots behind huge leaves.
"Where?" I asked, glancing at the three other girls. They shrugged in unison, equally confused. In the thick humid air, their thin cotton dresses were soaked in sweat. My own black pants and white shirt clung to my clammy skin. We were tired from lugging our heavy backpacks along snake-thin jungle paths, and itchy from hosting unnameable insects on our skins.
"The Zaltana homestead," Irys said. "Quite possibly your home."
I surveyed the lush greenery and saw nothing that resembled a settlement. During the course of our travels south, whenever Irys had declared that we had arrived, we were usually in the midst of a small town or village, with houses made of wood, stone or brick, hemmed in by fields and farms.
The brightly dressed inhabitants would welcome us, feed us and, amid a cacophony of voices and spicy aromas, listen to our story. Then certain families would be summoned with great haste. In a whirlwind of excitement and babble, one of the children in our party, who had lived in the orphanage in the north, would be reunited with a family they hadn't known existed.
As a result, our group had grown ever smaller as we'd traveled farther into the southern land of Sitia. Soon, we had left the cold northern air far behind, and were now cooking in the steamy warmth of the jungle with no sign of a town in sight.
"Homestead?" I asked.
Irys sighed. Wisps of her black hair had sprung from her tight bun, and her stern expression didn't quite match the slight humor in her emerald eyes.
"Yelena, appearances can be deceiving. Seek with your mind, not your senses," she instructed.
I rubbed my slick hands along the grain of my wooden staff, concentrating on its smooth surface. My mind emptied, and the buzz of the jungle faded as I sent out my mental awareness. In my mind's eye, I slithered through the underbrush with a snake, searching for a patch of sunlight. I scrambled through the tree branches with a long-limbed animal with such ease that it felt as if we flew.
Then, above, I moved with people among the treetops. Their minds were open and relaxed, deciding what to eat for dinner, and discussing the news from the city. But one mind worried about the sounds from the jungle below. Something wasn't right. Someone strange was there. Possible danger. Who's in my mind?
I snapped back to myself. Irys stared at me.
"They live in the trees?" I asked.
She nodded. "But remember Yelena, just because someone's mind is receptive to your probing doesn't mean you're permitted to dive into their deeper thoughts. That's a breach of our Ethical Code."
Her words were harsh, the master level magician scolding her student.
"Sorry," I said.
She shook her head. "I forget that you're still learning. We need to get to the Citadel and begin your training, but I'm afraid this stop will take some time."
"I can't leave you with your family like I did for the other children, and it would be cruel to take you away too soon."
Just then, a loud voice from above called out, "Venettaden."
Irys swung her arm up and mumbled something, but my muscles froze before I could repel the magic that engulfed us. I couldn't move. After a frantic moment of panic, I calmed my mind. I tried to build a mental wall of defense, but the magic that ensnared me knocked down my mental bricks as fast as I could stack them.
Irys, however, was unaffected. She yelled into the treetops. "We're friends of the Zaltanas. I'm Irys of the Jewelrose Clan, Fourth Magician in the Council."
Another strange word echoed from the trees. My legs trembled as the magic released me and I sank to the ground to wait for the faintness to pass. The twins, Gracena and Nickeely collapsed together, moaning. May rubbed her legs.
"Why have you come, Irys Jewelrose?" the voice above asked.
"I believe I may have found your lost daughter," she replied.
A rope ladder descended through the branches.
"Let's go, girls," Irys said. "Here, Yelena, hold the bottom while we climb."
A peevish thought about who would hold the ladder for me flashed through my mind. Irys's annoyed voice admonished me in my own head. Yelena, you will have no trouble getting into the trees. Perhaps I should have them raise the ladder when it's your turn to climb, as you might prefer to use your grapple and rope.
She was right, of course. I had used the trees to hide from my enemies in Ixia without the convenience of a ladder. And even now, I'd enjoyed an occasional "walk" through the treetops to keep my skills honed.
Irys smiled at me. Perhaps it's in your blood.
My stomach filled with unease as I remembered Mogkan. He had said I was cursed with Zaltana blood. I'd no reason to trust the now dead southern magician, though, and I'd been avoiding asking Irys questions about the Zaltanas so I wouldn't get my hopes up about being a part of their family. Even while dying, I knew Mogkan would have been capable of pulling one last spiteful trick.
Mogkan and General Brazell's son, Reyad, had kidnapped me along with over thirty other children from Sitia. Averaging two children a year, they had brought the girls and boys north to Brazell's "orphanage" in the Territory of Ixia for use in their twisted plans. All of the children had the potential of becoming magicians because they had been born to families with strong magic.
Irys had explained to me that magical powers were a gift, and only a handful of magicians came from each clan. "Of course, the more magicians in a family," Irys had said, "the greater chance of having more in the next generation. Mogkan took a risk kidnapping children so young; magical powers don't manifest until a child reaches maturity."
"Why were there more girls than boys?" I had asked.
"Only thirty percent of our magicians are males, and Bain Bloodgood is the only one to achieve master level status."
As I steadied the rope ladder that hung from the jungle's canopy, I now wondered how many Zaltanas were magicians. Beside me, the three girls tucked the hems of their dresses into their belts. Irys helped May start up the rope rungs, and then Gracena and Nickeely followed.
When we had crossed the border into Sitia, the girls hadn't hesitated to exchange their northern uniforms for the bright multicolored, cotton dresses worn by some of the southern women. The boys switched their uniforms for simple cotton pants and tunics. I, on the other hand, had kept my food taster's uniform on until the heat and humidity had driven me to purchase a pair of boy's cotton pants and a shirt.
After Irys disappeared into the green canopy, I set my boot on the bottom rung. My feet felt as if they were swollen with water, weighing me down. Reluctance clung to my legs as I dragged them up the ladder. In midair, I paused. What if these people didn't want me? What if they didn't believe I was their lost daughter? What if I were too old to be bothered with?
All the children who had already found their homes had been immediately accepted. Between the ages of seven and thirteen, they had been separated from their families for only a few years. Physical resemblances, ages, and even names had made it easy to place them. Now, we were down to four. The identical twins, Gracena and Nickeely were thirteen. May was the youngest at twelve, and I was the oldest of the group at twenty.
According to Irys, the Zaltanas had lost a six-year-old girl over fourteen years prior. That was a long time to be away. I was no longer a child.
Yet I was the oldest one who had survived Brazell's plans and remained whole. When the other kidnapped children reach maturity, those who had developed magical powers had been tortured until they surrendered their souls to Mogkan and Reyad. Mogkan had then used the magic of these now mindless captives to enhance his own, making the children nothing more than living bodies without souls.
Irys bore the burden of informing the families of these children, but I felt some guilt by being the only one to survive Mogkan's efforts to capture my soul. The effort, though, cost me a great deal.
Thinking about my struggles in Ixia led to thoughts of Valek. An ache for him chewed at my heart. Hooking an arm around the ladder, I fingered the butterfly pendant he had carved for me. Perhaps I could devise a way to return to Ixia. After all, the magic in my body no longer flared out of control, and I would much rather be with him than among these strange southerners who lived in the trees. Even the name of the south, Sitia, felt thick as rancid syrup in my mouth.
"Yelena, come on," Irys called down to me. "We're waiting."
I swallowed hard and ran a hand over my long braid, smoothing my black hair and pulling out the few viney tendrils that clung to it. Despite the long trek through the jungle, I wasn't too tired. While shorter than most Ixians at five feet four inches, my body had transformed from emaciated to muscular during my last year in Ixia. The difference had been in my living arrangements. From starving in the dungeon to tasting food for Commander Ambrose, my situation had improved for my physical well-being, but I couldn't say the same for my mental well-being during that time.
I shook my head, banishing those thoughts and concentrating on my immediate circumstances. Climbing up the rest of the ladder, I expected it to end at a wide branch or a platform in the tree like a landing on a staircase. Instead, I entered a room.
I looked around in amazement. The walls and ceiling of the room were formed by branches and limbs that had been roped together. Sunlight leaked in between the gaps. Bundled sticks had been worked into chairs that had cushions made of leaves. The small room held only four seats.
"Is this her?" a tall man asked Irys. His cotton tunic and short pants were the color of the tree's leaves. Green gel had been combed into his hair and smeared over all his exposed skin. A bow and a quiver of arrows hung over his shoulder. I guessed he was the guard. Why, though, would he need a weapon if he were the magician who had frozen us? Then again, Irys had deflected that spell with ease. Could she turn aside an arrow as well?
"Yes," Irys said to the man.
"We've heard rumors at the market, and wondered if you would pay us a visit, Fourth Magician. Please, stay here," he said. "I'll get the Elder."
Irys sank into one of the chairs, and the girls explored the room, exclaiming over the view from the single window. I paced the narrow space. The guard seemed to disappear through the wall, but upon investigation, I discovered a gap that led to a bridge also made of branches.
"Sit down," Irys said to me. "Relax. You're safe here."
"Even with that heartwarming reception?" I countered.
"Standard procedure. Unaccompanied visitors are extremely rare. With the constant danger of jungle predators, most travelers hire a Zaltana guide. You've been edgy and defensive ever since I told you we were headed to the Zaltana's village."
Irys pointed at my legs. "You're in a fighting stance, prepared for attack. These people are your family. Why would they want to hurt you?"
I realized that I had pulled my weapon off my back, and was clutching it in the ready position. With effort, I relaxed my posture.
"Sorry." I threaded the bow, a five-foot wooden staff, back into its holder on the side of my backpack.
Fear of the unknown had caused me to clench. For as long as I could remember in Ixia, I had been told my family was dead. Lost to me forever. Even so, I used to dream of finding an adopted family who would love and care for me. I had only given up that fantasy when I had been turned into Mogkan and Reyad's experiment, and now that I had Valek, I felt I didn't need a family.
"That's not true, Yelena," Irys said aloud. "Your family will help you discover who you are and why. You need them more than you know."
"I thought you said it was against your Ethical Code to read someone's mind." I rankled at her intrusion on my private thoughts.
"We are linked as teacher and student. You freely gave me a pathway to your mind by accepting me as your mentor. It would be easier to divert a waterfall than to break our link."
"I don't remember creating a pathway," I grumbled.
"If there was a conscious effort in making a link, it wouldn't have happened." She watched my face for a while. "You gave me your trust and your loyalty. That was all that was needed to forge a bond. While I won't pry into your intimate thoughts and memories, I can pick up on your surface emotions."
I opened my mouth to reply, but the green-haired guard returned.
"Follow me," he said.
We wound our way through the treetops. Hallways and bridges connected room after room high above the land. There had been no hint of this maze of dwellings from the ground. We didn't see or meet a soul as we passed around bedrooms and through living areas. From glimpses into the rooms, I saw they were decorated with items found in the jungle. Coconut shells, nuts, berries, grasses, twigs and leaves were all artfully arranged into wall hangings, book covers, boxes and statues. Someone had even fashioned an exact replica of one of those long-tailed animals by using white and black stones glued together.
"Irys," I said, pointing to the statue, "what are those animals?"
"Valmurs. Very intelligent and playful. There are millions of them in the jungle. They're curious, too. Remember how they spied on us from the trees?"
I nodded, recalling the little creatures that never stood still long enough for me to study. In other rooms, I spotted more animal replicas made from different colored stones. A hollow-ness touched my throat as I thought of Valek and the animals he carved out of rocks. I knew he would appreciate the craftsmanship of these stone statues. Perhaps I could send one to him.
I didn't know when I'd ever be able to see him again. The Commander had exiled me to Sitia when he had discovered I possessed magical powers. If I returned to Ixia, the Commander's order of execution would be in effect, but he had never said I couldn't communicate with my friends in Ixia.
Ransom Notes Interview with Maria V. Snyder
Paul Goat Allen: Maria, while reading Magic Study, I couldn't help but think of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar novels. Your writing styles are very similar -- so graceful and effortlessly lyrical -- and Yelena's relationship with Kiki (an apple-addicted plains horse) was very "Valdemarian." Was Lackey an inspirational author in your formative years, and if not, who were some of your favorite genre writers?
Maria V. Snyder: Mercedes Lackey is certainly one of my favorite authors. I love her Valdemar novels -- and all her other series. There are also a few other writers that have influenced my writing: Barbara Hambly's Darwath Trilogy is excellent, and her Dragonsbane series taught me that the hero doesn't have to look like a stereotypical hero to act like one. Other epic fantasy series that I enjoyed were David Eddings's Belgariad and Malloreon -- I love the way his characters interact, and I think the friendship between Ari and Janco (the soldiers in my books) can be linked back to those books. Finally, Dick Francis' mystery novels are all written in first-person point of view, and he knows how to end a chapter so that you must read on, which I applied liberally to Poison Study (according to my readers, it worked) and Magic Study.
PGA: You've written numerous science fiction short stories. Ever contemplate writing a science fiction novel -- or have you found your "niche" in fantasy?
MVS: I'm currently working on a science fiction novel for young adults that I hope to sell. I enjoy writing fantasy but also like to try other genres as well.
PGA: Yelena is such a wonderfully multifaceted main character: so full of promise and so strong but yet very fragile in some respects. How difficult -- or easy -- was it to create such a three-dimensional character?
MVS: If I had planned Yelena's character from the start, I think it would have been very difficult to portray her. I'm one of those writers that discover things as I write (some call us "pantsers," i.e. "by the seat of our pants" -- as opposed to "plotters," who outline the entire novel before writing). Poison Study started out as an idea, telling a story from a medieval food taster's point of view. I had a beginning point and an end point in mind, but all the other events and problems arose as I worked on the story. Yelena's character developed along the way, without a lot of conscious thought on my part. My unconscious, though, was hard at work (the little hamster that turns the wheel needs a long vacation after I finish a book)!
PGA: I'm one of those readers who are always looking for the "message." What message (if any) do you want readers to come away with after reading about Yelena?
MVS: I hoped that Yelena's story would show to readers that you have to face your fears; running away is not a solution. Also that you're responsible for your own actions, and no matter how hopeless a situation appears there is always another way out.
PGA:Non sequitur question here: What's your most prized possession?
MVS: This is a hard question! My children are my most valued treasures, but they are not possessions. My Compton Crook Award for best first novel (Poison Study) in the science fiction/fantasy field would be my most prized possession. I have won different items in the past, usually by my name being picked out of a hat, but this one I earned. To have a group of dedicated science fiction/fantasy readers and writers choose my book as the best first book in 2005 was the highlight of my publishing career. The award also validated my belief that writing is what I'm supposed to be doing.
PGA: Your online bio says that you're working toward a masters of arts degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University. What's more difficult: raising a family, completing a master's degree, or getting a book published? And how the heck are you managing to do all three at the same time?
MVS: Sleep is optional! All three have their own challenges and joys. Raising a family is an ongoing endeavor and the most difficult. The book is published, and the degree will be awarded in January (I hope), but the kids need guidance through the labyrinth of school, friends and temptations with lots of love and support. And I can't write their dialogue or make their decisions like I can for my characters (believe me -- I've tried!). As for the master's degree program, fortunately my thesis novel is Magic Study. I wrote the book while in the program and received excellent feedback and comments from my fellow students and mentor. The program is wonderful and allows me to combine my love of learning with my love of writing.
And the only way I can manage all three at the same time is because of my husband. He holds down the fort while I'm at school or at a signing. He brings the kids to book conventions and sits with them by the pool while I'm on a panel. He hand-sells my books to anyone who will listen to him, supplies chocolate for signings and poison tastings, and he is my first reader (he nails those gaps in plot logic every time!). Without him there would be no books, no master's degree, and no kids!
PGA: Can you give your fans a tiny taste of what the third installment of your Study saga, Fire Study, entails for Yelena? And will this third novel be the last we see of her?
MVS: In Fire Study, Yelena is coming to terms with magical power. She learns how magic can be abused and realizes that just because you can do something with magic, it doesn't always mean you should. As she tries to keep Ixia and Sitia from going to war, Yelena becomes embroiled in the desperate fight to stop the Daviian Clan from siphoning enough power to unleash a Fire Warper on the world. That would be a calamity. Especially since, of all the powers Yelena possesses, she couldn't set fire to a candlewick even if her life depended on it. And there is more at stake than just her life.
I feel the three Study books do a good job of telling Yelena's story. In fact, I wanted to title the last one Final Study, but my editor would not let me! I'm taking a break from the series, but I can't say you'll never see Yelena again. I'm sure she'll find a way into one of my future books. After all, she is rather tenacious.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Magic Study is almost as good as its predecessor. I liked how the author put together some loose ends without wrapping up the entire story. I like the mystery mixed with fantasy and romance. That was the only thing that I wanted more of in this book, more Yelena and Valek time.
This book was so interesting I would get irritated each time there would be interruptions to my reading. It was that good. I had to keep reading until the final page. I just had to. If you thought Poison Study was good, Magic Study gets even better. Yelena is thrown into a brand new situation, and now has to re-adjust accordingly. This brings about a new set of characters, a good solid character development within Yelena, and more Valek (my favorite part!). As in the previous novel, there's mystery and intrigue thrown into the story but the mystery aspect of the book is more violent and much darker than Poison Study. The romance between Yelena and Valek is still there, and it was nice to see them together as they do compliment each other well as a couple. There was an interesting chemistry between Yelena and Cahil - although Cahil acted like a spoiled selfish brat in the end and that does pave the way towards the third book. It was nice to see Ari and Jaco back, and while they were out of the picture, Yelena's horse Kiki provided some of the comic relief. It was also nice to see Yelena hasn't really changed, although I did notice she had really great comebacks and her wit was still there, sharp as ever. I enjoyed the connection between Kiki and Yelena. Better yet, Kiki's requests for peppermints and apples always generated a smile from me. I'm not sure if I like Leif or not. I hated him at first because of his treatment of Yelena, and once you found out his dirty little secret, I still hated him even more. As his behavior changed, I'm still not sure what to think about him. I'd have to say, all the characters in the books are very well done and each one memorable so they're not just any character that you'll forget later as you progress further into the book. They had distinct personalities which helps to memorize who is who (as the cast in this book is a bit big). The fantasy aspect of the book is good and the magic is easy to understand. I liked how characters had a specific specialization in a certain aspect of magic - in that way they're not too overpowered and they have their weaknesses as well. Yelena seems to be the jack of all trades when it comes to magic but her talents also has risks and consequences as well. Magic Study did live up to its predecessor and achieved more. It had an interesting plot filled with mystery, fantasy, and intrigue but it also featured well written memorable characters (horses included!). The ending prepares the reader for the third book and I'm definitely going to be reading that one soon.
Yelena has left Ixia where she was under an order of execution to return to her birth home of Sitia where she once was kidnapped when she was just a child. She wants to meet her birth family and study magic at the Citadel under the tutelage of her mentor, Master Magician Irys. Her first disappointment comes when her brother Leif thinks she is an lxian spy. When she kidnapped by the only living royal who has a claim to the Ixian throne, Leif sides with him. --- When she arrives at the Citadel, she is mind raped by the First Magician who admits she is not a spy. Yelena¿s magic is powerful and doesn¿t always work the way it is supposed to because she lacks experience and training. Her lover in Ixia, Valek, second only to the leader Commander Ambrose journeys into Sitia as part of the delegation and since he is immune to magic he is the perfect person to save her from two kidnappers and an attempt on her life. However, to save the life of an innocent, Yelena must risk everything. She also knows that failure means rebels will overthrow the lawful government. --- Picking up where POISON STUDY left off, MAGIC STUDY is a fantastic fantasy set in a world where magic exists in some countries and banned in others. Yelena¿s adventures have forced her to mature and though she doesn¿t know the extent of her powers, she knows that she wants to learn to use them to help people. Her time in lxia and her roots in Sitia give her an understanding of both countries that nobody else has which means she has plenty of options for her future. --- Harriet Klausner
Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder (10/10)Fantasy. In the previous book, the heroine found she'd been kidnapped from another country as a child and has mage powers. In this book she is returned and has to try to find her place among people who remember her but she can't recall. I've seen people say they didn't like this book as much as the first, but I actually liked it better.
Yelena is deaded for the Citadel with Irys, where she is to learn how to control and how to work her magic powers, when they stop at Yelena home. She belongs to a tribe of people called Zaltanans. They make their home high above the jungle floor in the trees. Yelena is nervous about meeting them since she hasn't seen them since she was 6 years old. She also has no memory of her childhood.Her parents are happy to see her but her brother Leif is not. He believes she is a spy for the north. He also says she smells like death. There is an instant dislike between the two of them.A couple days after arriving home Yelena must live with her brother to go to the Citadel. Not long after they head out they are ambushed. The captors think she is also a spy for the north. Yelena is able to escape and convince them that once she gets to the Citadel she can prove she is no spy.Things don't go easy for Yelena once she arrives at the Citadel. The other students are jealous of her and very few trust her. When a young girl arrives who is barely alive, Yelena is asked to help. She must reach in to the tortured mind of a young girl who was left for dead by a psycho killer. After kidnapping and torturing his victims, this killer then kills them and steals their soul. They soon figure out the its Yelenas soul he wants and by getting it becomes unstoppable.Excellent second novel in this series. The next book in the series is due out sometime in 2007. The author keeps you hooked from the first page to the last page. The plot is fast moving and it barely gives you time to breath before moving on to the next thrill. If you enjoyed the first book you won't want to miss this one.Rating 4.5/5
LOOOOVE IT! i bummed this book off of a friend, but im toatlly gonna buy it A.S.A.P.!!! it is a wonderfully fantabulos and awesomeness romance, one of the VERY VERY few romances i can read. this one will keep you up reading it all night!(or, in my case, until 4am and then again at 9am before i go to work. i was really tiard by the time i finished it...lol)
This book was amazing! I couldn¿t wait to read it because the last one was so good, and I¿m glad to say that this one too, was great. I can¿t wait until the next one comes out. It¿s going to kill me to wait.
Second in the Study series. This time Yelena has traveled to her home to study magic. Much intrique ensues. I really enjoy these books. I felt that I got to know Yelena better in this book.
The sequel to "Poison Study", in this book the main character returns to her homeland and gets a very mixed welcome. She attempts to train her burgeoning magic abilities, but gets seriously side-tracked by politics and intrigues.It's an entertaining, fast-paced fantasy adventure, but it doesn't have the same credibility of the first book. Major exceptions to the rules are constantly being made for the main character with little to recommend her in her new and unfamiliar environment. Still, it's a good tale.
Fantastic, full of action and intrigue.
I really have enjoyed this series so far. This is the second in the Study series (I reviewed the first Poison Study here). It’s interesting because I really do enjoy them and hope to continue on with the series, but neither has made it to a 4 star rating in my brain. Poison Study I gave 3 1/2 stars and I’m giving Magic Study just 3. Here’s why: I really like Yelena. She’s relatable despite having lived through a ton of things that I cannot even begin to imagine. But I enjoy her voice and I enjoy following her story. Despite that, this book almost lacked plot for me. What I thought was a subplot about a third of the way into the book turned out to be practically the entire plot. And that just kind of confused me. The basic premise is that Yelena moves to Sitia, where magic abounds, to be taught to control her magic. So she starts taking classes and things and not until well into the book does the real plot happen. I think a lot of things are being set up to happen in later books, which is good. But this book didn’t feel completely together for me. And then there was almost a subplot within that subplot/main plot. Just randomly placed in there and it didn’t get a very satisfying resolution. Sure it was smaller compared to the other events of the book, but I didn’t feel satisfied with what was happening because it came so quickly and then it was over so quickly. I’m being so vague trying to avoid spoilers so I don’t know if any of this is even making sense. Those were my two problems with the book. But overall, I really do enjoy reading about Yelena and Valek and this world that Maria Snyder created and I’m excited to continue because there seem to be quite a few books in this world!
Great addition to series. Audio review. 4.5 *Book source ~ Purchased from Audible Guest Reviewers A ~ My 17-yr-old daughter T ~ My 15-yr-old son K ~ My 14-yr-old son Yelena has vanquished her enemies and is on her way to Sitia to meet the family she doesn’t remember and learn how to control her magic. But growing up in Ixia and being the Commander’s food taster has made her ways strange and suspicious to the people of Sitia. Still, she perseveres. However, soon she is embroiled in a bad situation and must use her newfound abilities, her new friends and the unexpected arrival of old friends to get ahead of the game. And stay alive. Will her life ever be simple? While not as rousing as the first book, this story has a decent plot with a new world, new enemies, new friends and an appearance of old friends. Everyone still likes Yelena and Valek is still a favorite. Though T said Yelena and Valek having sex all the time is bad. I had to laugh because they aren’t doing it like bunnies. In fact, it’s closed door, not described at all and it’s only a few times. It’s just the fact that when Valek is around they do what couples in love do especially since they’ve been separated for months, but it’s not to the detriment of the plot. LOL Anyway, the magic is fascinating and the Sitia world is interesting. We all loved having the Power Twins back for a bit and the addition of horses is cool. T & K love that the horses call Valek “Ghost.” An apt name indeed. No one likes Yelena’s brother Leif. I agree that he’s an ass though by the end of the book he’s a bit better. T likes Yelena’s dad Esau because he knows so much cool stuff about the jungle. And everyone wants Cahil to die. That would be nice. We’re looking forward to book 3, Fire Study. Favorite quotes: “Pushing magic toward the candle, I willed it to light. Nothing happened. Irys made a strangled sound and the candle burned. “Are you directing your magic to the candle?” “Yes. Why?” “You just ordered me to light the candle for you,” Irys said in exasperation. “And I did it.” ******************************************************************************** “I gave him a bored look. I had been threatened many times before and had learned that the men who didn’t make verbal threats were the most dangerous.” ****************************************************************************** “Of course, you didn't want our help. Now I have to go beat up some soldier just to keep my ego intact.”
4.5 Stars MAGIC STUDY was a spiraling world of magic, love, survival, determination, all weaved around the magical elements of danger, betrayal, drama, lies, and murder... MAGIC STUDY was just about everything I hoped for, almost... This book was so much fun and introduced a whole new world to this series that I couldn't get enough of. But the downside to MAGIC STUDY was that I wanted, no, NEED, more of VALEK!! He didn't show up until more then halfway though the book, then when we did, he wasn't there a lot. And that drove me CRAZY. Granted, it all still played out amazing, and had twist and turns that I loved, but I would of enjoyed them a lot more if Valek was there through most of them! ;) Another small issue I had was that in POISON STUDY Yelena and Valek didn't act on they're feelings until almost the end of the book, but when they finally did express they're true feelings for each other, it felt rushed and not as developed as I hoped for. But in a way it was understandable because they were in a dire situation where they weren't able to fully express their-selves. But in MAGIC STUDY, it still didn't really develop the way I wanted. They just picked up with how much they loved each other, but not a lot of talking about their feelings. Really, every time they got together they hardly even talked at all. And that drove me INSANE!!! I LOVE them as a couple. I think they're both awesome characters, and are well developed, but their relationship is not. I know they love each other, I mean it's definitely obvious. Because in POISON STUDY they're feelings built up from the beginning to almost the end, and had plenty of time for those feelings to progress and truly blossom into the love that they have for each other. But once they got together, I wanted more feelings, more talk, more togetherness, MORE OF THEM!! I don't know if that makes any sense, but nevertheless, I LOVE them together and apart, I just wish they had more time together to develop their feels for each other. That aside, the rest of the book was AMAZING!! I loved all the new and old characters that came into play in MAGIC STUDY, and the direction that the plot took. I loved all the magic and adventure, and meeting Yelena's family, and the strong bonds and allies she built. And the new enemies she established in Sitia. I would of liked to visit Ixia again, but that's okay I'm sure we will in the next book, FIRE STUDY! THE PLOT Yelena has left Ixia behind, forced to flea or face execution from the Commander for being a magician and having the power of magic pulse through her veins. She's eager, but nervous about returning to her homeland of Sitia, where she will learn how to wield her magic and reunite with her long-lost-family that she was stolen from all those years ago. But Yelena realizes very quickly that not everyone is willing to accept her with open arms in the magical city. Some think she has ulterior motives, some are even willing to kill her for it... Now in Sitia and no longer forced to shield her powers, Yelena is able to let go and let free. But Yelena magic is stronger then she or her magician teacher and closet friend Iris, ever thought. Some are even threatened by her and the power she possesses, which happens to be progressing and becoming stronger with each passing day. But the power is not the problem, she has an enormous power within, what she is struggling with is the control. With her power quickly strengthening at alarming rate, and her displaying unique powers that were once feared, it makes grasping and controlling all this power unsteady and very dangerous. Yelena must learn to wield and control her magic quickly if she has any chance of surviving her homecoming to Sitia. Theirs a powerful magician stealing the souls of lesser magicians and claiming their magic for themselves. And if they're not stopped, not only will innocent lives be lost, but all of Sitia will fall under the control of the Soul Stealers power. Once the Soul Stealer claims enough souls and magical powers, he will be nearly unstoppable... With Yelena's strengthening power, and her unique abilities, she may be the only one equipped enough to stop the Soul Stealer before all of the Country plunges into darkness and evil... Yelena will have to dig deep within to discover who she really is and what she's actually capable of to complete the mission she's set out for. But she's unequipped to go at it alone. She must call on some old friends, including her most strongest ally of all, Valek, and build bonds with new allies in her hometown country of Sitia if she has any chance at stopping this madman before it's too late. But every step she takes seems like their is always someone there trying to keep her from conquering her goal. She will have to be prepared to face all, and determined to overcome the unthinkable if she's going to defeat the evil threatening to claim the country she's grown to love. MAGIC STUDY was almost as good as I hoped for, minus the issue I had with the relationship development, it was perfect! I only knocked a half of star off my rating for the lack of development in Yelena and Valek's relationship. BUT... I STILL LOVED THEM BOTH. No matter how much time they spent together or apart and how deep they're feelings were talked about with each other. I still enjoyed their time together and can't wait to see them reunite again in FIRE STUDY!! Overall, MAGIC STUDY was a magically alluring, and utterly addicting read from beginning to end. Maria V. Snyder captured my heart in POISON STUDY, and owned it with MAGIC STUDY, and I'm sure FIRE STUDY will be the link that ties them all together and completes my heart as whole.
This is the second book in the Study series by Snyder and I loved it as much as the first! And that's saying a lot when it comes to books in series (usually I'm disappointed with the second book). What I liked the most was that we got to follow Yelena's continuing story, with some familiar characters along with a whole group of new characters. As with her first book in the series, Magic Study is a fast paced read. There is plenty of action and tense moments. That, along with Yelena's development as a character made it hard for me to put down. I was keen to see what would happen.
I think you should rely on your own opinion and expieriences with other books. Just because somebody doesnt like this book doesnt mean you wont. No matter how you look at you wont know if you truly like the book until you read it. You can take in other peoples opinions but when it comes down to it, it is only your opinion that matters. Personally i loved the book and it was great along with the other series Maria V. Snyder wrote. :)
This book was great, it had an amazing storyline, it had romance but wasn't stifled by it and action and intrigue keep you on the edge of your seat. This was a real page turner!
I really enjoyed this book. The following 2 books in the series as well were a great adventure. i even started the next Trilogy by the same author. the heroine in this Study series is a perfect sTory of orphan to murderer to prisoner to yet more adventure. Good read!
Harrd to put the book down