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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 t 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.


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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 t 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.

30 review for Magic Study

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sasha Alsberg

    Maria has done it again, she's created a beautifully captivating story that had you on the edge of your seat from the first page until the last! One of my favorite series to date! Maria has done it again, she's created a beautifully captivating story that had you on the edge of your seat from the first page until the last! One of my favorite series to date!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I am at a complete loss. I found Poison Study to be an amazing book, with an engaging plot, real, intriguing characters and excellent writing. Magic Study begins much the same, until around page 240, and then it takes a nose dive through crazy town. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. For a book that began with a five star rating, Snyder had to work to make this book as nonsensical as it ended up being. Here are a few of my qualms. Yelena, once resourceful, intelligent, honorabl I am at a complete loss. I found Poison Study to be an amazing book, with an engaging plot, real, intriguing characters and excellent writing. Magic Study begins much the same, until around page 240, and then it takes a nose dive through crazy town. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. For a book that began with a five star rating, Snyder had to work to make this book as nonsensical as it ended up being. Here are a few of my qualms. Yelena, once resourceful, intelligent, honorable, yet a little self effacing becomes an arrogant Mary Sue cutout, who rushes into trouble even when she knows her actions are idiotic because stupid though she may be, and despite her lack of knowledge about magic, naturally, she knows better than everyone else. Even more ridiculous is her anger towards her brother. I would completely understand her anger if it were due to his treatment of her now that they are both adults, he certainly isn’t kind, or for the fact that he never told their parents that Yelena had been kidnapped, but as it were, she is angry with him because he didn’t try to save her when she was taken, as if an 8 year old boy could pose any type of threat to a master magician and his minions. Give me a break. Valek. Oh how I loved him, in Poison Study, his and Yelena’s partnership was a delight to read. There were well matched, respectful of one another and had a brilliant chemistry and understanding. I was so excited to see how their relationship would progress. I’m still waiting. Valek, once a cunning advisor/assassin, is now reduced to stud stand in who takes order from Yelena. How this mentor became the one being dictated to is beyond me and completely un-interesting to read. Grating is more like it. He even gets captured a few times, which is very un-Valek like. Yelena’s family…What exactly is Leif’s, Yelena’s brother, problem? Snyder tries to explain it via Moon Man, the Story Weaver (don’t get me started) but it was ridiculous. Who gets kidnapped on purpose? And what mental disorder does Perl, Yelena’s mother, have? While she is clearly a crafty little tree climber, I have a hard time believing she is “formidable” when all she does is make perfume and cower in plants. The plot, oh where do I start? I’ve lost track of how many times Yelena gets kidnapped. It was pointless and un-necessary. The characters of Goel and Alea served no purpose other than to act as filler. The rest is too bizarre to comment on. The bad guy. Last time I checked not all bad guys’ rape and torture, yet every bad guy in Snyder’s books do. Very annoying. However, that perfume pump used to defeat Ferde (bad guy) was amusing, but daft. Why not just use one of those ingenious little darts like everyone else. Instead, Yelena storms in with armed with a squirt bottle, lol. So these are just a few of my issues, there are plenty more, but I can’t bring myself to mention them. If you are reading Magic Study because you adored Poison Study, please be warned. This book pales in comparison and will ruin your view of the characters you love.

  3. 4 out of 5

    ❄️BooksofRadiance❄️

    4.5⭐️ I hoped I’d love this book but I'm truly surprised at how engrossed and utterly into the story I was. The characters satisfied me to no end, the plot kept me engaged but more importantly, I loved and respected the way Maria V. Snyder handled sexual violence in the story. I was so close to giving this the full rating for that alone and in fact, would have, had it not been for one thing that, in hindsight, might seem minor but it was enough to genuinely irk me as it was one of my biggest peev 4.5⭐️ I hoped I’d love this book but I'm truly surprised at how engrossed and utterly into the story I was. The characters satisfied me to no end, the plot kept me engaged but more importantly, I loved and respected the way Maria V. Snyder handled sexual violence in the story. I was so close to giving this the full rating for that alone and in fact, would have, had it not been for one thing that, in hindsight, might seem minor but it was enough to genuinely irk me as it was one of my biggest peeves in books. More on that later… Magic Study picks up a few weeks after Poison Study ends and we continue the journey with Yelena going off to Sitia with Irys to be reintroduced to her family and improve her magical abilities in the process. As Yelena continues her trials of fitting in, she is taken to study magic with the Four Magicians. In her studies, she learns that rules are set but adhering to them is a different story. In comparison to Poison Study, which I also loved, this one is much more complicated with countless subplots that emerge but never feel long-winded or overwrought in any way, even when combining new world-building elements. The world grows bigger but Yelena’s character development is by no means neglected. Everything is carefully written and as the world grows subtly, Yelena’s own inner struggles with her emerging powers and the implications of these powers are also deftly developed. Aside from certain problems, problems I'll in no way forgive however much I loved the book, I thoroughly enjoyed it down to the last age. One thing that really struck me and that I applaud Maria V. Snyder was how maturely and sensitively she dealt with the complexities and darkness of sexual violence. We’ve seen many times where rape becomes just another lazy plot device that overlooks the trauma of the victim and instead focuses on just moving the plot forward, in an unconscionably stoic way, that completely derides the pain, the trauma of that person’s abusive past. Magic Study does something that is truly hard to accomplish in the sense that it deals with this issue in a way that shows the author is not just throwing these things in haphazardly for dramatic effect but utilizes it to show the real issues that are present in the lives of not just women, but men, and how this type of violence can severely damage a person’s self-identity. Snyder shows the realistic tumultuous toll it has on a person’s psyche, but she also shows what we, as a society, should be doing in reaction to facing the reality that sexual violence exists in our society, and we need to give as much care, compassion, and above all, empowering messages to any and all that have faced this ineffably painful experience in their lives. Now to what got under my skin: I love Yelena as a MC. She’s unlike many YA protagonist in the sense that she’s incredibly mature especially considering all that she’s had to endure. She never whines or complains about her fate but takes charge where she can and deals with it the best way she can. It was all going so smoothly until Snyder did the one thing that irritates me to no end. Making Yelena incredibly, almost unbecomingly and dangerously impulsive: Snap judgments, quick decisions, charging full-speed ahead without thinking beyond the now was one of her biggest and not-so-charming weaknesses. Her callousness and always diving headfirst into whatever bad situation with no thought to how her rash decisions impacted those around her, especially when the stakes are so high, i.e. the fate of Sitia and its people was something I could have truly done without. Every time something went wrong, there goes Yelena to the rescue! EVERY SINGLE TIME! I hated it. Why would she think she’d be able to accomplish things that even the most powerful, Four Magicians couldn’t!? And of course, who needs plan B? Because an overconfident Yelena never seems the need for backup plans. Some minor spoilers ahead ****PLEASE READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!**** But here’s my biggest and absolute I’m-this-close-to-punching-someone peeve: When a character suddenly and out of nowhere becomes a master at everything. *breathes calmly* ⤗ Here’s Yelena, living her life blissfully ignorant of the fact that she has some types magical abilities... ⤗ Voila, she finds out she comes from a long line of magical type families or what have you. Fantastic, still alright so far. ⤗ A few week pass by and she hasn’t mastered her magic yet so she goes off to Sitia to discover more. Almost there... ⤗ Then BAM! Not even six months and she can do all sorts of magical shit that those who’ve spent their entire lives mastering at it can’t even do! Just hold on now... ⤗ The madness does not stop there. No, not only can she do the impossible, she also happens to have some long-lost magic that’s been lost for centuries! *breathing* *breathing* ⤗ Oh, you thought that was it?…cute. Forget the mysterious long-lost magic, our dearest Yelena also gets an offer to become, wait for it, a master magician! *shakes head* ⤗ That's right, there are only FOUR master magicians throughout Sitia’s time, all of whom have worked at their abilities almost their entire life, but of course, Yelena just strolls in, a magician for less than six months, and gets an offer to become a Four Magician because, hey, why not. She's a soulcaster, a soulfinder, why not throw in a Four Magician as well? WHY did this have to be part the story?? Why couldn’t she have grown at a study pace and slowly rise to the top? It is, after all, called Magic STUDY. Not Magic Mastery. Let her study the damn magic, for heaven's sake.🤦‍♀️ Why even call it that when there was barely studying and more mastering out of thin air? Aside from that, folks, fantastic book! Truly. 👌

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    More like 2.5 stars actually, but I am being extremely generous in the memory of "Poison Study." I enjoyed the first 300 pages of the book just as much as "Poison Study." Yelena's relationship with her family and Zaltana clan, the world of Sitia, the magic lessons, the mystery of a magician serial killer and political intrigue involving a contender to Ixian throne - all these aspects were written very well and in a very engaging manner. However, right about page 300 to 400 something went wrong wi More like 2.5 stars actually, but I am being extremely generous in the memory of "Poison Study." I enjoyed the first 300 pages of the book just as much as "Poison Study." Yelena's relationship with her family and Zaltana clan, the world of Sitia, the magic lessons, the mystery of a magician serial killer and political intrigue involving a contender to Ixian throne - all these aspects were written very well and in a very engaging manner. However, right about page 300 to 400 something went wrong with this book. I felt that Yelena had just one too many defying authority/escape from the Keep/kidnapping by a criminal/torture scene/escape using magical powers actions repeated over an over again. There were simply too many repetitions of the same scenarios for one story. In that respect Alea's story line should have been omitted altogether. Action is important, but not at the expense of the structure of the book. And as the amount of action increased, the quality of the writing suffered - the book took a very juvenile tone IMO. Another aspect I didn't like - Valek's role in the book. For one, he was absent until about page 275 and when he finally appeared, most of the time his only purpose was to provide stud services for Yelena (no graphic details here to my chagrin). Where were the partnership between the two, the teamwork? And finally my last complaint - the writer needs to come up with some other type of villain - a torture-loving/raping magician scenario is simply getting old. I was so irritated by these issues that I was about to give the book 2 stars, but somehow the last chapter pulled the story together and left me feeling satisfied. In the end, I did enjoy the book for the most part, in spite of many flaws, but unfortunately my expectations for the next book in the trilogy "Fire Study" and for the writer in general definitely diminished.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Simona B

    Uh-uh. Uh-uh. Fluff and hot air, hot air and fluff. I'll see if a full review is worth my time. EDIT 12/06/2016: Now I've read the third book and I can rightly say it: a full review isn't worth my time. Pardon me this time around. Uh-uh. Uh-uh. Fluff and hot air, hot air and fluff. I'll see if a full review is worth my time. EDIT 12/06/2016: Now I've read the third book and I can rightly say it: a full review isn't worth my time. Pardon me this time around.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elena

    ❝Every decision, every interaction, every step, every time you get out of bed in the morning, you take a risk. To survive is to know you're taking that risk and to not get out of bed clutching illusions of safety.❞ Rating: ★★★½ I still have a love for Yelena. My love for her just grows because of how strong she is becoming and how much of a better heroine she is willing to make herself. I don't think I've ever loved a female protagonist so much. She keeps everything so balanced. The only thing ❝Every decision, every interaction, every step, every time you get out of bed in the morning, you take a risk. To survive is to know you're taking that risk and to not get out of bed clutching illusions of safety.❞ Rating: ★★★½ I still have a love for Yelena. My love for her just grows because of how strong she is becoming and how much of a better heroine she is willing to make herself. I don't think I've ever loved a female protagonist so much. She keeps everything so balanced. The only thing I wanted was for her to make some changes in her plans. Instead of her making them, they were made by themselves. _________________________________ After being a food taster and being trained to be one for the Commander of Ixia, Yelena has discovered she has magic abilities. Because of this magic she has found out about herself, she must return home and meet her family to see what they are able to do. But even though Yelena knows her position in being the foot taster for poisons, she misses it. She doesn't like being with her relatives that don't fully recognize her and even accept her, but rather she misses being home in Ixia with the man she discovered she has fallen for, her friends who were able to give her some basic training, and the background she grew accustomed to. But even though Yelena doesn't care much about her relatives and people she grew up with accepting her for the person who reeks of blood and has killed and been training. All she knows is she's ready to start magic training. She's been given the choice as she did when she was about to be executed: Grow her power or be put to death. But when Yelena decides to make plans for her trip and see how she can grow stronger and become a better person, they decide to take a turn and she becomes the problem of the lost Ixia prince. Even though she has made enemies, Yelena doesn't give up in learning these new abilities she has been told about. Even if it means taking them down herself. But Yelena knows she's got help from her old friends. _________________________________ All I really wanted were Valek and Yelena moments. What is their ship name? - Velena? - Yalek? - Valena? I just wanted those ship names to keep floating on the ocean. I wanted Valek to call her my love a lot more times then he really did, I wanted them to kick ass together, I wanted them to surpass anyone that got in their way, I wanted them to go home and have their moments together, hell, I wanted them to go to the room and have one of those moments together! Shit am I a pervert?? Well I'm sorry I blame Maria for introducing me to these two and loving them both together and by together I mean them being together. Since Valek confessed to Yelena in Poison Study and admitted she has poisoned him, I was so happy and I squealed because all I had been waiting for is for them to admit their love and kiss. I also wanted Janco and Ari to grow a better friendship with Yelena and for Irys to join the "squad." Although Magic Study was so different than Poison Study, there were some things I did like about it and I guess had me hooked on them. But even when I was hoping many other things, I got a few of them. I'm not giving up on the series! Even if the books either fade with the rave or everything just gets better as the series continues, or well, continues for me, I will keep reading it. Yes, I live for Valek and Yelena. But I'm here for Maria's writing and for her beautiful Chronicles of Ixia series. I just want more Janco, Ari, and Velena moments. Please don't kill me I don't know what their ship name is. The writing in this novel was better, I will admit. Of course, Maria's writing just continued to improve every year and every time she would be writing/typing. It makes me upset how I loved Poison Study so much and I was so excited to get my hands on Magic Study and see what adventure Yelena would have, but then I regret all the excitement. Yelena didn't have a fun adventure. Well, not like the one in Poison Study. In this novel, she was rather not fully accepted by her family and there were assumptions, concerns and feelings about her not being a Zaltana. But after she proved herself that she is the "lost child of Ixia" and Yelena Zaltana, she was able to prove herself worthy of her care and her magic and abilities as well. Yelena grew stronger, and I loved that about her! She was able to keep others out of her mind and control her power even when at the same time, she was still learning. Again, Maria did an amazing job on that! Maria is one of those authors where she keeps the characters balanced. They are learning something while keeping their abilities balanced without messing up and ruining everything. Yelena was still the strong heroine and she was only growing stronger! Like I said before, I was upset how there weren't many moments of Valek, Janco and Ari. I literally fell in love with all 3 since the beginning. Valek is still that loyal guard of the Commander and Janco and Ari are still those 2 friends that are able to make fun of Yelena and embarrass her in a small and quick way. Maybe things will change in Fire Study and developments will be made. I'm gonna continue with the series. I've been captivated by it since I first read the blurb. I always heard wonderful reviews about it and how it's all such a wonderful series that doesn't include plot ruiners, character annoyance, and/or love triangles. Hopefully all of that is true. Hopefully Yelena doesn't become weak and spoiled. Hopefully there are no characters that grow a hatred from me. And hopefully, I am just praying, that the love interest doesn't change and Yelena doesn't back up from Valek, only deciding to go with some other guy. Or the other way around. Hopefully Valek doesn't turn into a lying asshole. Hopefully Janco and Ari don't end up annoying me and ruining their friendship with Yelena. And hopefully Valek doesn't decide to leave Yelena for "someone better."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Helena of Eretz ✰

    “Living is a risk,” I snapped at him. “Every decision, every interaction, every step, every time you get out of bed in the morning, you take a risk. To survive is to know you’re taking that risk and to not get out of bed clutching illusions of safety.” Well, I can honestly say that the Study trilogy is quickly becoming one of my all-time favourites! :D There was mystery, action, adventure, fantasy, magic, friendship, family, AND romance! This was a wonderful sequel that had me engrossed in its fa “Living is a risk,” I snapped at him. “Every decision, every interaction, every step, every time you get out of bed in the morning, you take a risk. To survive is to know you’re taking that risk and to not get out of bed clutching illusions of safety.” Well, I can honestly say that the Study trilogy is quickly becoming one of my all-time favourites! :D There was mystery, action, adventure, fantasy, magic, friendship, family, AND romance! This was a wonderful sequel that had me engrossed in its fast-paced storylines from beginning to end. Maria V. Snyder also impressively used her novel as a platform to discuss sensitive topics such as sexual violence and gender biases. I applaud Snyder for not lazily using rape as a plot device, but instead shows how it could negatively impact a victim’s psyche and their view of self-worth. Magic Study continues a mere few weeks after the ending of Poison Study. An orphan no longer, Yelena travels to the exotic, southern land of Sitia in order to reunite with her lost family and to hone her magical abilities before she accidentally harms others, or even herself. I found Sitia to be so much more interesting than the militant, northern land of Ixia. It was also fascinating to learn what the Sitians knew of the Ixians, such as their innate hatred of our beloved Valek. <3 I loved to see Yelena’s character development and her innate compassion towards the beggar children, but I was also irritated by her excessively impulsive behaviour. Think before you act, Yelena, come on... The Master Magicians might know something that you don’t. You barely have any magical training whatsoever!!! *facepalm* “Trust,” Kiki said. “Trust is peppermints.” My absolute favourite aspect of this novel, strangely enough, was Yelena’s horse, Kiki, with whom she was able to communicate with telepathically. I also adored how all of the horses nicknamed the “men” and “ladies” who took care of them. Kiki was perpetually hungry and fiercely loyal to her “Lavender Lady” (aka Yelena). She was such a sassy little horse and the true MVP of the novel. ;) My only complaint for this novel is my disappointment that my favourite characters - Valek, Ari, and Janco - only showed up in the last quarter of the novel. While although it makes sense, considering that they were in a completely different country from Yelena, that didn’t stop me from tapping my foot, as I impatiently waited for their appearance. (#SorryNotSorry) While this did give a Yelena a chance to grow and develop without them, it didn’t stop me from longing for my favourite northerners. ;) I looooove Yelena and Valek as a couple! They’re so bloody cute!!! <3 I also haven’t completely warmed up to Yelena’s brother, Leif, yet, who also has powerful magic. His jealous and judgemental behaviour towards her didn’t help either. Ugh. However, I adore her tree-dwelling parents and her cousin, Nutty. <3 They were so loving and accepting of Yelena and the difficult life that she’s led to date. I’m so happy for Yelena because she finally has the family that she always wanted. I can’t wait for the finale, Fire Study, of this first trilogy in Snyder’s magical world. Hopefully, Valek, Ari, Janco, Yelena’s parents, and Nutty will have more involvement in Yelena’s journey. Thus far, I’ve been reading a book a day, so I should be finished soon! :P

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    The reason for my 3 star reating is that the last 50 pages are so boring and dreadfull , but what i realy liked was the magic shool setting and her magic , and i loved the connection between her and kiki (the horse), and i liked the romance a little bit more , but i'm not sure yet, because it is all just so shallow, i have the feeling that they barely know eachother , and i 'hated' the relationship with her brother because it was all so confusing , and would liked more information for example a The reason for my 3 star reating is that the last 50 pages are so boring and dreadfull , but what i realy liked was the magic shool setting and her magic , and i loved the connection between her and kiki (the horse), and i liked the romance a little bit more , but i'm not sure yet, because it is all just so shallow, i have the feeling that they barely know eachother , and i 'hated' the relationship with her brother because it was all so confusing , and would liked more information for example a better backstory for her parents, sigh , hope the third book is better

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lyndsey

    Considering how often Yelena was injured, captured, and beat-to-a-pulp in this follow-up to Poison Study - I felt this picture summed it up best: There are considerably more DOH! moments in this book, as opposed to the zero in the last book. Quite a few times, I felt myself wanting to smack some sense into Yelena. Especially toward the beginning of the book, she didn't seem to be her reliable calculating and resourceful old self. Instead of reading, like I did with Poison Study, I listened to the Considering how often Yelena was injured, captured, and beat-to-a-pulp in this follow-up to Poison Study - I felt this picture summed it up best: There are considerably more DOH! moments in this book, as opposed to the zero in the last book. Quite a few times, I felt myself wanting to smack some sense into Yelena. Especially toward the beginning of the book, she didn't seem to be her reliable calculating and resourceful old self. Instead of reading, like I did with Poison Study, I listened to the audiobook for Magic Study. The narrator was good, although not the best. She had great inflections and tone to her voice and never became tiresome. However, I found her choice of individual voices a great source of amusement. Some males had a distinct femininity and some females sounded much too masculine. There wasn't always consistency with accents as well. Two of the side characters, Bain and Reyad had what sounded like a mix of Irish and Scottish accents with Bain sounding much too feminine. I actually thought he was a woman for quite a while. Valek, Yelena's love interest, had a slight female sounding voice as well with a mix of a British and Australian accent. Cahil, Yelena's frenemy, came off as a surfer-slash-stoner. The student Gelsie sounded just like the horse Kiki. That's right. A talking horse!! (who I love!) But it's not what you might think. She's no Mister Ed. And Irys, Yelena's mentor - Well, she had about as feminine a voice as Al Green. Like a Russian body building Cher (now that's a mental image). Ari and Janco, however, sounded exactly how I felt they should. In fact, it made me want to listen to Poison Study just to hear some of their hilarious exchanges. The voices also got me thinking about how the narrator decides who gets what voice. Do they consult with the author or just make it up as they go? Do they even read the book first? If memory serves me right, it seems like she started out pronouncing Dax as Dox, then switched halfway through the book. Was she corrected or had she just forgotten how she pronounced his name before? In this book, Yelena refers to her tactics against her foes as her "rush into a situation and hope for the best" method, but I don't think she gives herself enough credit. As her relationships with various new characters progress, she takes on a new role. Team member. Often, she at least seems to be thinking ahead but mostly she relies heavily on others, as opposed to her old self, who trusted and counted on no one. This doesn't come off as a strength or a weakness, she just tends to find herself in need of help more often. All of that is an inevitability with the expanding cast of characters and friends. Valek wasn't in this book nearly as much. I felt their relationship went from "summer lovin" to "you're the that I want" a little too fast. In the Poison Study, their relationship developed slowly. It seemed they were a little too connected in this one. A little more than I believed, at least since it's common knowledge that he would easily kill her if asked to by his Commander. "Oh my love, you're the only one for me. Now come closer, so I can slit your throat because I was commanded to." I didn't get that part of it. I really wished the storyline with Ferda had been completely wrapped up. I was looking forward to a new big bad in Fire Study, because this guy creeps me out. That's the mark a good villain, though. Overall, Maria's prose is lovely. No out of place descriptions or metaphors this time. The character development was decent and mostly believable. This one just didn't draw me in the way the first one did. I felt a lot of disconnect. I am still looking forward to the next, mainly in hopes of more Ari and Janco time! My review for the first book: Poison Study My review for the third book: Fire Study

  10. 4 out of 5

    Puck

    2/2,5 stars for a book wherein the writer doesn’t know how to take her time. Oh man, how I wish I could rate this book differently. I had such high hopes for the second book in the Study-series: "Poison Study” absolutely kicked ass and was a great mix of political scheming, romance, and magical powers with an awesome MC to rule it all. The only problem that I had was that Maria Snyder lost control around 2/3 of the book, which I hoped wouldn’t happen again… But it did. And boy, did that fuck up t 2/2,5 stars for a book wherein the writer doesn’t know how to take her time. Oh man, how I wish I could rate this book differently. I had such high hopes for the second book in the Study-series: "Poison Study” absolutely kicked ass and was a great mix of political scheming, romance, and magical powers with an awesome MC to rule it all. The only problem that I had was that Maria Snyder lost control around 2/3 of the book, which I hoped wouldn’t happen again… But it did. And boy, did that fuck up the second half of this book. “Living is a risk,' I snapped at him. 'Every decision, every interaction, every step, every time you get out of bed in the morning, you take a risk. To survive is to know you're taking that risk and to not get out of bed clutching illusions of safety.” Yes, the stakes are definitely higher this time. Where Yelena only had to deal with political enemies and evil magicians in the first book, things get a lot more personal in this book. In Magic Study Yelena travels to Sitia where she’ll start her magical training and finally meet her family. That doesn’t go without a problem, especially since Valek isn’t there to support her, and things get even more complicated when a rogue, murderous Magician appears who sets his eyes on Yelena. So more than enough people and events to write an action-filled, fast-paced story, and that’s exactly that Snyder did. Where the writing-style in Book 1 echoed the calm precision of Ixia’s military control, book 2 is written very different. Battles, meetings of new characters, and magic lessons come quickly one after another, without us rarely getting time to breath and take it all in. However every bit of information that we got in the first half of the book was fascinating, so the tempo didn’t bother me. The land of Sitia was enchanting to discover alongside Yelena, just as it was interesting to learn about the different types of magic (abilities). As for the new characters: Leif pissed me off at first, but I kept feeling that there was more to him. Cahill reminded me of Joffrey – a naïve, spoiled boy who has too much power - and I liked the mentor/teacher-relationship between Irys and Yelena. And Kiki and Topaz were lovely to meet too (they were no Janco and Ari, but still :) What wasn’t lovely was that the fast pace made Yelena’s magical training seem like joke. Training, who needs that? Yelena could do everything at the first try! Talk to animals, mind/body-control bad guys (which makes it okay, I guess? Not really), even heal badly injured people: whatever Yelena set her magic to happens without a hitch. It was such a painful contrast with "Poison Study" where Yelena really got the time to learn new skills and master them; it made her such a great MC. Now everything that I previously liked about her – her bravery, her intelligence, her respect for her teachers – disappeared to the background because Snyder needed Yelena to be active ALL THE TIME. She was still a nice person, and I liked how she helped Tula through her trauma, but I really feel that Snyder should’ve treated her better. But the reason why we don’t have time to patiently study is because Snyder really kicks the tempo up a notch when the second half of the book starts. The reader and Yelena just jump from one (action-)scene to the next one without a logical flow: - BAM! To the capital to look for Ferde with the help of the young beggars, instead of, you know, the Four Master Magicians who apparently aren’t that powerful. - BAM! Time to make out with Valek, who only appears after 70% of the story is done and does nothing but kiss and fight for Yelena when she needs him. (Come on Snyder, the man deserves better than that!) - BAM! A random kidnapping which is completely pointless for the plot. - BAM! Back to hunting Ferde with the help of Yelena’s parents, who only are useful when the plot needs them to be. BAM! BAM! BAM! - And then suddenly Snyder remembered that she needed to end some plot lines before the book is over, so she quickly does this without taking care of her own plot. This way the fast tempo doesn't only kill the storylines, but also the magic study itself, Yelena's character, and the danger and romance which made the first book so great. Therefore I can only give this book 2,5 stars, and despite the promising start, take down to 2 stars in the end. But beside that Snyder damaged her second book pretty bad, she also burned up my joy of looking forward to "Fire Study". I’ll be reading it of course, but not with the same enthusiasm as I started Magic Study. The blurb tells me that there’ll be plenty of action to go around, so I hope that Snyder treats Yelena, Valek, and the plot with more respect and patience. Please, let this series, which started so well with Poison Study, end well. *Prayer hands* Read here my other reviews of the Study trilogy: #1 Poison Study | #3 Fire Study

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I loved the first half, same vibes of Poison Study. Yelena was discovering her magic and starting a new life in Sitia. She meets some great (and bad) people there. The first part of the second half and all the events with Ferde weren't so impressive, though. It got slightly better with the Ixians arrival and the last chapter was promising. I think my main problem was with the villain, a different sort of villain would've been appreciated since this one was similar to Ryad (sadist and rapist and I loved the first half, same vibes of Poison Study. Yelena was discovering her magic and starting a new life in Sitia. She meets some great (and bad) people there. The first part of the second half and all the events with Ferde weren't so impressive, though. It got slightly better with the Ixians arrival and the last chapter was promising. I think my main problem was with the villain, a different sort of villain would've been appreciated since this one was similar to Ryad (sadist and rapist and like in Poison Study both want the magic of some people). I wanted to see her connect with her family more, a deep relationship not just spare them the pain of the my horrors and the nice parents. I wanted more complexity. Leif is another story, can't say anything about him to avoid spoilers but even with the end, I still don't like him. I HATE CAHIL. Overall I enjoyed this book, while I wasn't disappointed, i wasn't wowed either. Poison Study is better true, but this book is still worth it. I lowered my expectations because of the negative reviews, they have a point but I love the characters too much: Yelena, Valek, Ari, Janco, Irys, and Kiki are my favorites. Dax, Zitora and Bain are cool too. Now fingers crossed for the last book. It's under 4 stars (and a 3rd book), hope it won't be bad!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Maria V. Snyder

    Re-read this one for a book discussion. I'm surprised by how much I've forgotten! Lots of things going on and a number of new characters. The book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger - the main plot is resolved, but then there's an.... ;) Re-read this one for a book discussion. I'm surprised by how much I've forgotten! Lots of things going on and a number of new characters. The book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger - the main plot is resolved, but then there's an.... ;)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Zainab

    This was good and all but I don't think I'll be continuing this series This was good and all but I don't think I'll be continuing this series

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anja H.

    *4.5 MAGICAL STARS* "Every decision, every interaction, every step, every time you get out of bed in the morning, you take a risk. To survive is to know you're taking that risk and to not get out of bed clutching illusions of safety.” A little less good than the previous book in this series, but still very good nonetheless! Either way, Yelena keeps on slaying! You go girl! I've been struggling to find books with a female character as badass as Celaena from Throne of Glass, and Yelena is definit *4.5 MAGICAL STARS* "Every decision, every interaction, every step, every time you get out of bed in the morning, you take a risk. To survive is to know you're taking that risk and to not get out of bed clutching illusions of safety.” A little less good than the previous book in this series, but still very good nonetheless! Either way, Yelena keeps on slaying! You go girl! I've been struggling to find books with a female character as badass as Celaena from Throne of Glass, and Yelena is definitely coming in a close second! Full review coming soon!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Julie Kagawa

    In this sequel to Poison Study (which I loved), Yelena must travel to her homeland to learn how to control her magic, and meet a family she thought lost forever. While I still enjoyed the book immensely, I felt that Magic Study wasn't quite as good as Poison Study. The unique sense of danger was gone, and the poison angle, which made the first book so fascinating, was completly non-existent. Still, it was a very good story, and Yelena still manages to get into one scrape after another. Valek make In this sequel to Poison Study (which I loved), Yelena must travel to her homeland to learn how to control her magic, and meet a family she thought lost forever. While I still enjoyed the book immensely, I felt that Magic Study wasn't quite as good as Poison Study. The unique sense of danger was gone, and the poison angle, which made the first book so fascinating, was completly non-existent. Still, it was a very good story, and Yelena still manages to get into one scrape after another. Valek makes an appearence, but not until the second half of the book! Hopefully, I'll see more of him in the final book, Fire Study, which I'm eagerly awaiting from Amazon. Although the fact that this will probably be the last time I read about him and Yelena (mostly him) makes me a little sad. Yes, I admit my Valek crush freely. Julie

  16. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    "Many have tried to kill us. All have failed. I loved this!! I've read a lot of mixed reviews on this series and I've heard a lot of comments about how this series gets worse rather than better but I'd definitely have to disagree. I loved this second book in the series and I can't wait to continue on! I was definitely scared that this book would have that stereotypical second book syndrome since we wouldn't be seeing much of Valek but that never happened. There's still a little bit missing in "Many have tried to kill us. All have failed. I loved this!! I've read a lot of mixed reviews on this series and I've heard a lot of comments about how this series gets worse rather than better but I'd definitely have to disagree. I loved this second book in the series and I can't wait to continue on! I was definitely scared that this book would have that stereotypical second book syndrome since we wouldn't be seeing much of Valek but that never happened. There's still a little bit missing in order for this book to be a full 5 star but I definitely love love love this series! I'm actually loving the direction that this series is going. I'm so glad we got to see a whole different side of this world and there's much more magic than before! The plot has definitely expanded a lot from book 1 - Yelena was once a poison taster but now that's literally the least of her worries. Basically Yelena has magic and she gets reunited with her mother, father and brother, Leif - who was actually with Yelena when she was kidnapped and has dealt with that grief for 14 years. We're introduced to so many new characters but we still get a lot of time with our old crew from back in Ixia. How do I put into words how much I love Yelena and Valek? I just ship it so hard. I was highkey concerned that Cahil was going to get in the way and make a love triangle but luckily that didn't happen. I practically screamed when Valek was reunited with Yelena - I missed him so much but I'm definitely glad that Yelena got to learn and grow by herself first. "Your life is like this snake's coils. No matter how many turns it makes, you'll end up back where you belong. With me." I really love Yelena herself and I never get bored of her POV. Her story is definitely an interesting one and there's so much more to learn about her. I'm so glad there's 6 books on her rather than just 3. Her magic is freaking cool. She can basically break into other peoples minds and manipulate them or she can simply just have a chat with them. (There's more to it but SPOILERS) I particularly loved the conversations she had with Kiki, her horse. Kiki herself was so funny and her little comments had my in stitches half the time. She's also obsessed with peppermints and tells Yelena that if she wants Irys to stop being mad at her, she should bring her peppermints because they make everyone happy. Apple? You've grazed all night. How can you still be hungry? Always room for apple. I can't explain how happy I am that Ari and Janco are back. I was highkey concerned that we wouldn't see much of them but luckily they still were here for the last half. I love their relationship with Yelena and how protective and loving they are - despite the risks. Leif was an interesting addition to the story. I really liked him at first then I hated him and then I went back to liking him. I definitely want to see more of him - which I'm sure we will - and he definitely has his own demons to face. Also he has a really unique ability and so does Yelena so I wonder how they got this much random magic. I'm not sure if either of their parents have any magic or how magic even pops up in families so I hope we'll find out a reason behind this in the next few books. Cahil was a shit. I thought he would be okay but yeah nah he's not great. He's the King (haha) of temper tantrums and POOR ME I AM BIG KING BOY HOW DARE YOU BEAT ME. YOU MUST BE CHEATING IF YOU BEAT ME BECAUSE I AM SO STRONG. Cahil, please shut up and stop your shit man. I'm still loving this transgender representation (I still won't tell you who it is) but it's hugely appreciated - especially since this was a book published in 2008? when transgender acceptance wasn't really a thing. Can't wait to continue on with this series and I highly recommend picking it up if you haven't already!!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Robin (Bridge Four)

    First and foremost. I’m totally glad that someone told me that Velek was missing for the first half of this. Otherwise I would have been distracted wondering when I was going to see him again because he is my favorite character of this series so far. But since I knew that going into it I could focus on Yelena and meeting her family and getting to the school. When Yelena meets her family you would almost expect it to be sunshine and rainbows. But while many are willing to accept her it is clear ri First and foremost. I’m totally glad that someone told me that Velek was missing for the first half of this. Otherwise I would have been distracted wondering when I was going to see him again because he is my favorite character of this series so far. But since I knew that going into it I could focus on Yelena and meeting her family and getting to the school. When Yelena meets her family you would almost expect it to be sunshine and rainbows. But while many are willing to accept her it is clear right off that her brother isn’t one of them. Others think she is a fake and a spy. So it is a bit of a rough start. The school isn’t much better as some there also assume she is a spy. Irys might be a friend and mentor but it is clear that there are others that really don’t want her there. But Yelena finds herself quickly thrown into the mix when a girl is recovered almost dead who had been the victim of a heinous crime. If Yelena can help to heal her then maybe they can find a serial killer before he claims yet another victim. The pacing and story move along at a decent pace and I did like Yelena getting more used to her magic and what she can do. I especially liked the time she spent with the Horses. I was worried for a second when Cahil, the exiled prince, showed up that we might have love triangle situation on our hands. But thank you to MVS for not putting us through that. Cahil also was a little bit of an enigma. Is he a good guy or a bad guy, should we like him or hate him. Well I was on the fence until the end when I clearly fell off onto the side I’m meant to stay one. The same went for her brother Leif “Why did Mother ask you to help me rescue Gelsi?" I asked Leif. "She thought I could assist you in some way. Instead, I had tried to-" "Kill me? You can join the 'I Want to Kill Yelena Guild.' I hear they have six members in good standing. Valek is president since he had wanted to kill me twice." After Valek showed up I was infinitely more interested in the story and finished the rest of the book quickly. He and Yelena have some sort of special bond that I’d really like to know more about and how it works. But I always love Yelena and Valek on page together and get lost in their budding romance. “When I carved this, my thoughts were on you, love. Your life is like this snake's coils. No matter how many turns it makes, you'll end up back where you belong. With me.” I will definitely finish out the series to see where a little more training and Yelena’s new role will take her.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Penny

    1.5 stars Huge, huge disappointment. It wasn't bad really, I just wasn't interested in anything at all. I couldn't care less for anything that happened in this book, or care about anyone in it. To me all seemed pointless. The whole book, the characters and the plot, all was pointless. Leif character was absurd. I spent the whole book waiting for Valek, and when he finally did appear, nothing happened at all, it was incredibly anticlimactic and disappointing. There was nothing about their relationsh 1.5 stars Huge, huge disappointment. It wasn't bad really, I just wasn't interested in anything at all. I couldn't care less for anything that happened in this book, or care about anyone in it. To me all seemed pointless. The whole book, the characters and the plot, all was pointless. Leif character was absurd. I spent the whole book waiting for Valek, and when he finally did appear, nothing happened at all, it was incredibly anticlimactic and disappointing. There was nothing about their relationship or about anything, no development of any kind. Uhg! it's so frustrating. I don't know where the characters from the first book went to put this Yelena and Valek aren't them. I seriously doubt I'll read the third installment.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tweebs♥️

    I lowkey went into this book thinking I'd be disappointed. Why???? LOOK AT ALL THOSE MIXED REVIEWSSS. LISTEN, trust your homegirl over here and just go into this book with ZERO expectations. You'll thank me :'') I'm just super super SUPER happy that it didn't end up being whatever I originally expected. I loved this! *cough* alright, let's be real when I say "loved this", I really meant Valek, Ari & Janco. I lowkey went into this book thinking I'd be disappointed. Why???? LOOK AT ALL THOSE MIXED REVIEWSSS. LISTEN, trust your homegirl over here and just go into this book with ZERO expectations. You'll thank me :'') I'm just super super SUPER happy that it didn't end up being whatever I originally expected. I loved this! *cough* alright, let's be real when I say "loved this", I really meant Valek, Ari & Janco.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Khadidja

    This was much better than the first book!! VALEK!! I LOVE YOU And i want to get an Ari and a Janco of my own, where do i sign up??

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

    I enjoyed this a lot more than Poison Study! Cannot wait to read the next one!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.)

    I really liked this sequel, especially I enjoyed its magical aspects, which are undoubtedly the strong point of the book. Being honest, I feel that this book has taken a new direction, and this makes it completely different to the first book, even so, it was a lot of fun 4/5 Stars You can find this one and more of my reviews on my blog A Book. A Thought. In Magic Study we can learn more about Yelena's past, and we'll see how she has to face completely new and unexpected situations. Many aspects I really liked this sequel, especially I enjoyed its magical aspects, which are undoubtedly the strong point of the book. Being honest, I feel that this book has taken a new direction, and this makes it completely different to the first book, even so, it was a lot of fun 4/5 Stars You can find this one and more of my reviews on my blog A Book. A Thought. In Magic Study we can learn more about Yelena's past, and we'll see how she has to face completely new and unexpected situations. Many aspects of her past that she didn't know about will be revealed, while she tries to adapt to the meeting with her biological family and her customs and all of this will reveal who she really is. On the other hand we'll also see Yelena begin to understand how her magic works and we'll see her grow in this aspect a lot during this book. I personally think that magic is the protagonist in this occasion, that, and the incoportacion of new characters, which are ALOT and each of them will affect Yelena in some way and to her future actions as well I want to start highlighting how much the writing style has improve from one book to another, I love that since I want to read all the books, so knowing that in each one this aspect will improve makes really me excited. It was much easier to get into the plot this time, which is obvious since I'm more familiar with the story, but I attribute it to the writing style as well, that has been very fluid and addictive since the first page. This book in general has been very different from the first one, this is because we see Yelena established elsewhere, in a place where magic has a great weight and is very important for citizens. I remember that in Ixia magicians were not allowed then this has been a big change. I also think that the incorporation of so many new characters makes everything look new, you know? It's as if I just started reading a new series or something like that. Being surrounded by other landscapes and other culture also made me feel far from the main story. Being honest, I think this may not work for many of you, the fact that there is a lack of connection of one book with the other can annoy you or even make you stop caring about the plot. .Personally wasn't a problem for me at all, I enjoyed this book a lot, I loved meeting new characters and it seems very interesting to see where the plot is going now that many things have been clarified, especially the most important that focuses on the Yelena's magical powers and what they mean in this world. That seemed great to me, I love magic when it's well managed and certainly liked it in this book. As for the characters, as I've said before, there are many new ones. I really liked the incorporation of the Master Magicians and I like that each one has a different personality, that's fun. I love reading the Yelena and Irys interactions , I feel that their relationship has grown a lot and as you know, because I've said it in previous reviews, I love master-student relationships, I find them adorable and super interesting to follow. I like Dax he's great, he's not a main character at all, but he seems like a super sweet guy and I really like that. I'd like to know more about Leif, I think he's a very complex character, but there's a lot in his mind and I haven't quite understood him yet, I find him a bit selfish the most part of the book and even though his actions are explained at the end, I feel that I need more of him to trust in this character. I'm excited to see what position Cahil will take, I think he's a very ambitious character, so I'm also interested in him. And finally I think Ferbe as a character is pretty creepy, it worked in some way like the villain, he's very evil and the things he has done are horrible, so obviously the darkness inside him isn't discussed, but still I would like to see more interaction between him and Yelena, because his scene together was too convenient and short. Ari and Janco are always two lights in the dark, I love them and I loved what they meant for Yelena in this book. (I've said Yelena a lot, I'm sorry, lol) As you already know, I like Yelena very much as the main character, she has made a lot of progress in this book and I'm proud of her decisions, she has also acquired an admirable strength and courage, so I love to follow her story. I absolutely and indisputably love Kiki, OMG this horse is the most beautiful thing in life, YES, it's a horse and that doesn't prevent it from being one of the best character I've ever read lol There was something big that was missing and that is Valek, on the one hand, I like his absence and I understand it because he has let Yelena stand out and has given rise to new characters, but on the other hand, I think I've missed him too much, I liked his participation but I feel that I would have liked to see more of him. Also I think that his appearance in "dreams" was like WTF, I'm not sure if I liked that, I think I didn't get it actually I think the book should have finished a few chapters earlier than what it actually did, this is because I think that the end was stretched too much and all the time I was waiting for something to happen, but then there is a small "fight" that only serves to get rid of a character, which doesn't make sense to me, it could have been interesting to leave everything for the next book and thus have been able to give a more important place to the whole fight scene that lasts about 2 seconds here I want to clarify that I liked what happens after this scene, there is a creation of a new conflict that I think will unleash very good things for the next book, I'm excited by the position that Yelena has taken in the plot, it will be super great to see what will bring her the future after everything that happened Finally, I'm super excited to read the next book which will be the end for this trilogy, then I understand that there is another trilogy, I guess it follows other characters in the same world, which is great. I think there will be many surprises for the end, I want to see all the new characters along with the old ones and I want to see magic and all the political drama that characterizes these books, I would really like that

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Elizabeth

    “Your soul fits the void in my soul perfectly. I’ve no doubt you’re mine. I hope you’ll call me Mother, but if you can’t you can call me Perl.” This was so much better than Poison Study! I liked Yelena in this book, she was a strong character, she had multiple things going on at once and somehow found a way to juggle them. She did put herself in dangerous situations, but it was always with the best intentions. “Men exploded from the bushes with their swords in hand. But the element of surpri “Your soul fits the void in my soul perfectly. I’ve no doubt you’re mine. I hope you’ll call me Mother, but if you can’t you can call me Perl.” This was so much better than Poison Study! I liked Yelena in this book, she was a strong character, she had multiple things going on at once and somehow found a way to juggle them. She did put herself in dangerous situations, but it was always with the best intentions. “Men exploded from the bushes with their swords in hand. But the element of surprise was mine.” The storyline in this was quite different to poison study. In this story Yelena got to meet her parents, discover a bit more about her history, and family, and also discovered a bit more about her own talents, whilst rescuing people and getting into trouble. “I sensed movement, but before I could swing around, I heard a horrible thud, felt a sruching pain at the base of my skull, then nothing.” We got some more time with Valek in this story! Yay! Very happy to see him again! He really seemed to love Yelena, and I liked the way their relationship developed. “Our gazes met for a moment. Sapphire-blue lightning struck my heart. That rat. I wanted to slug Valek and kiss him at the same time.” The ending to this was pretty good, but still left us with bad guys at large to plague Yelena in this next book! Overall; good YA fantasy with a little bit of romance, 8 out of 10.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Helen 2.0

    Almost as good as the last one, so still pretty damn awesome. I love this series. Spoilers for Poison Study below. In Magic Study Yelena follows Master Magician Irys to the souther country Sitia to meet her long-lost family and train to become a controlled magician. Once there she's forced to deal with an angst-ridden older brother, a delusional aspiring king and his sadistic soldiers, and a killer (Ferde) who steals souls and magic. Unfortunately Yelena has to face all these problems without the Almost as good as the last one, so still pretty damn awesome. I love this series. Spoilers for Poison Study below. In Magic Study Yelena follows Master Magician Irys to the souther country Sitia to meet her long-lost family and train to become a controlled magician. Once there she's forced to deal with an angst-ridden older brother, a delusional aspiring king and his sadistic soldiers, and a killer (Ferde) who steals souls and magic. Unfortunately Yelena has to face all these problems without the help of Valek, who is tragically absent for most of the story. It was nice to see Yelena grow and come to terms with her difficult past while at the same time trying to bring her immense magical powers under control. I especially liked seeing her develop without having Valek, Ari, and Janco to bail her out all the time. Yelena was left to her own devices and handled herself brilliantly. Her separation from her northern friends and lover was sad but I think she's better for it. I personally want to know more about (view spoiler)[this Soulfinder business. I'm scared of Yelena's powers, even if she vows to use them only for good there's so much potential for evil. She can control people's bodies, alive or dead. Think of the things she could do with that magnitude of power! And then she could steal souls if she wanted to. I find it totally reasonable to be afraid of Yelena if I didn't trust that she is 100% a good person. Really, I can't blame those who fear her and other Soulfinders. (hide spoiler)] One thing that bothered me was that the Ferde plot line (the stealer of souls) was the one that was supposedly the main story of the book, but it took the backseat most of the time. Yelena gets kidnapped TWICE by people she initially thinks are Ferde but turn out to be some other threat. It made Ferde seem very insignificant when in reality he could have destroyed the country. I think the threat he posed was far bigger than the role he played in the book, that gave the whole thing an incongruent feel. I LOVE the Commander, I wish we had seen more of the Commander in Magic Study. He/she is such a smart way for Maria Snyder to sneakily insert an argument against gender roles into the series. The Commander took on the role of a man because he/she believed women could never be seen as strong, unwavering, and uncompromised like men. But Yelena, in my opinion, is living proof that women can be everything men can, and more. So, at the risk of overanalyzing, I would say the Commander demonstrates the pressures women endure in the face of sexist stereotypes, and Yelena demonstrates the potential women have despite those pressures. Maria Snyder is calling for gender equality here if you ask me. Beyond that, I did notice that, before Mogkan's sister showed up, every single villain (even the little ones like the cook in the last book) was male. Is there something there? Maybe, maybe not. I'm starting Fire Study on July 10th. Anyone who wants to join me is welcome!

  25. 4 out of 5

    majo

    this book blew my mind away. This story has become my new obsession, I could write about how much I'm enjoying this world and these characters and this magic system. But I want to talk about something else and it is the relationship between Valek and Yelena because I haven't seen a couple so well done in a loooong time. So I'm going to be a little spoilery about them (without ruining the book) because readers need to read more healthy relationships in books, like the one they have. And i'd appreci this book blew my mind away. This story has become my new obsession, I could write about how much I'm enjoying this world and these characters and this magic system. But I want to talk about something else and it is the relationship between Valek and Yelena because I haven't seen a couple so well done in a loooong time. So I'm going to be a little spoilery about them (without ruining the book) because readers need to read more healthy relationships in books, like the one they have. And i'd appreciate if you take the time and read this I feel like this book could've gone down the road of cichés tropes and love triangles and it didn't, by what I'm extremely grateful. Is a well known thing that couples in series tend to be separated by different circumstances (usually at the end of the first book) which leads to the girl main character meeting new people and usually meeting this one guy that will become the second love interest in the story. because apparently when protagonists are separated from their loved ones they need to get involved in another relationship because god forbids a girl is alone and happy. right? girls need to be always in some kind of romance, especially when they are separated from the guy they supposedly love, which leads to the infamous trope of love triangles. What do you think happened in this book? That's right. Yelena and Valek are separated. In fact, they live in different countries. So they are miles and miles away.And since Yelena is in a different city, she obviously gets to know more people. And there's this one guy named Cahil that is extremely direct to her and told her that he'd like to get to know her better and even start something between them. What do you think Yelena does? In a typical YA book this would be the perfect opportunity to start a romance with another guy.(this is not YA, btw, but I wish more YA romance to be like this) BUT QUEEN YELENA KNOWS OF THIS THING CALLED COMMUNICATION and tells him that she's in a relationship with other guy, a guy that she loves.Even if he's not with her right now, she loves him and stops Cahil right there and then BECAUSE SHE'S WITH SOMEONE ELSE. I'm going to applaud the author on that, because that's what a decent person would do if they're in a relationship with someone else. They're not going to cheat on their couples. AND THIS IS BASIC HUMAN DECENCY THAT MOST BOOKS FORGET ABOUT in order to "extend the plot and the drama". Let me quote one of those moments (because Yelena stops Cahil on multiple occasions) - Yelena (to Cahil):"I'm willing to accompany you to the feast as the first step on our new friendship" Cahil: "Friendship?" Yelena:"That's all I can offer" Cahil: " Because of the person who gave you that butterfly pendant?" Yelena: "Yes" Cahil: " And what did you give him in return?" Yelena: "My heart" * a moment of silence to appreciate that scene, please* The scene mention before happens because Cahil invited her to a feast. And when the feast comes, yes, Yelena dances with him, but she's also aware that he's not the only man in that event. She dances with a lot of people, makes new friends, and over all, spends a good time in the company of those people. I want to say that Yelena is aware that she can have fun even if she's not with Valek. Yes, she misses him, but she's not going to cry about him because SHE KNOWS THEY'RE GOING TO BE TOGETHER AGAIN AT SOME POINT. can we talk about how we don't see that that often in books? How when the girl is "alone" she's sad and miserable and only becomes a strong character when another guy is with her? I beg people to read this book and learn about Yelena and Valek's relationship. In fact, and this is something that I LOVED, Yelena grows up as a person and become stronger and clever. And that is part of the message in this book: She can be an awesome individual by herself, because Yelena needs no man to defend her or help her. She's capable of that. And when she's with Valek, they become and AMAZING DUO. When she's with Cahil, he doesn't treat her as an equal, but more of a girl that needs him, when she clearly doesn't. And when Valek is with her again he shows how much he respects her and adores her and trusts that she can be a strong and wise woman. Because that's the thing about Valek and Yelena, they are a couple that truly and fully respects the hell out of each other. And they trust each other completely. I want to stand up and thank the author for making this amazing amazing romance and yes, this is not the "main plot" of this book, but I wanted to talk about it because of how much I love it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    bella farren

    5/5 “Many have tried to kill us. All have failed. my review of the first book in this series I am officially HOOKED, SOMEBODY SAVE ME I AM LITERAL TRASH FOR THIS SERIES. I devoured this book in a day and I am in love with this series. I haven’t been able to find a YA series that has grabbed my attention in years, but this blew my expectations out of the water. This book was entirely focused on Yelena’s magic and the magician’s world, which was quite a pace change from the castle politics and spy 5/5 “Many have tried to kill us. All have failed. my review of the first book in this series I am officially HOOKED, SOMEBODY SAVE ME I AM LITERAL TRASH FOR THIS SERIES. I devoured this book in a day and I am in love with this series. I haven’t been able to find a YA series that has grabbed my attention in years, but this blew my expectations out of the water. This book was entirely focused on Yelena’s magic and the magician’s world, which was quite a pace change from the castle politics and spy feeling that the first book in the series gave me. And because of the change of location, many of my favourite characters (Vakel, Janco and Ari) were missing for a significant amount of the story. But the new characters in the story, although not my beloveded solider boys, were still amazing. Maria V. Snyder just has a talent at creating the most realistic characters who struggle, are imperfect in so many ways but are ultimately the most loveable and relatable creatures. Yelena’s family were incredibly unusual but as the story went on, I began to enjoy their involvement so much more. Lets just quickly talk about the shining light of this book. The horses and Yelena's ability to communicate to them was the stand out of this entire book. Kiki was the most pure and adorable character I have ever read about, "trust is peppermints" equates to trust is good. I loved that in both the books so far there has been a kind of crime/mystery element which literally has you guessing the fine details until the very last page. I really enjoyed the magical crime but like I mentioned in my previous review, there was even more potentially triggering content if (view spoiler)[scenes of rape and brutal abuse (hide spoiler)] are something you struggle to read. I still ship Yelena and Valek like nobody's business, and the few romantic scenes between them literally had me dying inside. They are perfect, this book is perfect and MVS is a perfect. Honestly, everything about this series is beautiful and I cannot wait to see how the story develops next.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Althea Ann

    I was quite enthused by the first in this series, and got started on reading the second as soon as I finished it. Unfortunately, I feel like I was hit by a case of sequel-itis. 'Magic Study' was OK - but my enthusiasm fizzled out a bit. The story as a whole felt more juvenile than the first book, and was much less tightly plotted. it's more like, "OK, what will Yelena do next?" For most of the book, it's just her wandering from one situation to another. As the title indicates, the focus here is Y I was quite enthused by the first in this series, and got started on reading the second as soon as I finished it. Unfortunately, I feel like I was hit by a case of sequel-itis. 'Magic Study' was OK - but my enthusiasm fizzled out a bit. The story as a whole felt more juvenile than the first book, and was much less tightly plotted. it's more like, "OK, what will Yelena do next?" For most of the book, it's just her wandering from one situation to another. As the title indicates, the focus here is Yelena trying to learn how to use her magic skills. That magic is banned in Ixia, so she travels to the south to be reunited with the family she hasn't seen since she was six years old, and doesn't remember at all. Obviously, this is not a recipe for instant happiness - and indeed, her mother's got emotional issues and her brother is hostile and suspicious. People in both Ixia and the South suspect her of being a spy for the other side. And then, of course, there are the people who really do want her to spy for them. Yelena must try to balance her divided loyalties while also pursuing the goals she has for herself... It's a quick read, and I'm not ruling out reading more in this series, but I'm also not rushing into them right away.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Francesca ❆

    Meh....nothing sensational :( Very dry writing, characters poorly designed & developed, not enough development in the romance for the relationship to be believable. This has such a big “filler” vibe! For the amount of pages it has it delivers a little on the development of the plot and it actually hurts most of the characters we met in the first book because instead of maturing they regress (especially Yelena, she loses all her rational thinking and becomes a concentrate of impulsive decisions), t Meh....nothing sensational :( Very dry writing, characters poorly designed & developed, not enough development in the romance for the relationship to be believable. This has such a big “filler” vibe! For the amount of pages it has it delivers a little on the development of the plot and it actually hurts most of the characters we met in the first book because instead of maturing they regress (especially Yelena, she loses all her rational thinking and becomes a concentrate of impulsive decisions), the romance was so good in the first book but I didn’t see any progression in this one? Yelena and Valek are far apart for most of the book and when they meet up instead of solify the relationship they “waste time” having sex (and we don’t even get the details because it’s a YA 😤). The plot only got interesting near the end, the new secondary characters feel extremely bland....the only thing that keeps me from deleting this series from the iPad is the magical system, I’m still very intrigued by it....

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jaclyn

    *4.5* "Living is a risk," I snapped at him. "Every decision, every interaction, every step, every time you get out of bed in the morning, you take a risk. To survive is to know you're taking that risk and to not get out of bed clutching illusions of safety." I LOVED THIS ONE!! This picks up directly after Poison Study with Yelena going off to meet her family and getting to know her magical abilities. There's a lot of mystery, magic, awesome new characters, some romance, family, kickass battle *4.5* "Living is a risk," I snapped at him. "Every decision, every interaction, every step, every time you get out of bed in the morning, you take a risk. To survive is to know you're taking that risk and to not get out of bed clutching illusions of safety." I LOVED THIS ONE!! This picks up directly after Poison Study with Yelena going off to meet her family and getting to know her magical abilities. There's a lot of mystery, magic, awesome new characters, some romance, family, kickass battle scenes and of course amazing character development. I am loving how far Yelena has come! She has become so badass, smart, confident, and strong. I love her! She's so much fun to read about! 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." It was really cool watching Yelena grow to be more powerful and experiment with how far she could take her magic and we got to see this whole other world called the Citadel and the Keep. The world is definitely expanded in the book and we got to meet different groups, and see different lands. I was very impressed with the way the author was able to capture it so beautifully and show it to us. We got to meet new characters in this one such as Leif, Dax, all the four magicians, Kiki, and all the new villains who I don't want to say because spoilers! It's more fun to read it! I'll have you know that the most delicate flowers often produce the strongest scent when crushed. We got to really know Irys in this one and she is wonderful. She's so powerful and cares so much for Yelena. I really enjoyed watching that friendship develop. And Leif, who I love to hate. It's a very very complicated relationship. Yelena's family is great but her brother Lief is angered at Yelenas return but eventually towards the very very end he came around! "In the end only Leif believed that you were still alive. He thought you might be hiding somewhere, playing a game. As the rest of us grieved, Leif searched the jungle for you day after day." "When did he finally stop?" I asked. "Yesterday." Another aspect I enjoyed in this was Yelenas horse Kiki! I love how they communicate it was so fun and gave the book a lighter tone. "Trust," Kiki said. "Trust is peppermints." And then Cahil. Do not worry THERE IS NO LOVE TRIANGLE OR ANYTHING. And I can't stand him. That's all I'm going to say on him. Just read to find out more. And now Valek. I would have enjoyed this book ALOT less if I knew he was barely going to be in it. Thankfully I read reviews and so many people kept mentioning how he wasn't in it and how disappointed they were. Since I knew that going in I feel like I got to really settle into getting to know Yelena without him and appreciate her magical journey. Just because he's not in it as much doesn't mean his presences isn't felt frequently. He is mentioned many many times and then when he finally does come in at the very end, the happiness in that moment is so worth it. He made a weak attempt to look innocent, but I knew better. "Should I guess how many concealed weapons you have or should I strip search you?" "A strip search is the only way to be absolutely certain," Valeks deep blue eyes danced with delight. *swoon* MY SHIP!! Anyways, this was an addicting, enticing sequel to the wonderfully enchanting Poison Study! I can't wait to see how it all wraps in Fire Study!!! "When I carved this, my thoughts were on you, love. Your life is like this snakes coils. No matter how many turns it makes, you'll end up back where you belong. With me." Oh Valek. *fans self.*

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mara YA Mood Reader

    2017 While I devoured the majority of this book, I was let down a bit. I was immediately intrigued & entertained by the introduction of new characters. And also the change of scenery. I loved Leif's character and I expected him to have a larger role straightaway so I was a bit disappointed that he did not (but perhaps he will in the next installment). I also highly enjoyed Cahil. And immediately shipped him and Yelena. What I was most looking forward to in Magic Study was Yelena and Valek reuniti 2017 While I devoured the majority of this book, I was let down a bit. I was immediately intrigued & entertained by the introduction of new characters. And also the change of scenery. I loved Leif's character and I expected him to have a larger role straightaway so I was a bit disappointed that he did not (but perhaps he will in the next installment). I also highly enjoyed Cahil. And immediately shipped him and Yelena. What I was most looking forward to in Magic Study was Yelena and Valek reuniting as was inclined at the end of Poison Study (so not no spoiler there). But again, the author's vagueness snubbed out that excitement and my interest began to wane from there. All throughout the story Yelena talks of Valek, missing him, longing for him. And when he finally shows up, I was highly let down how anticlimactic they were, like "oh hey. What are you doing here?" Where was the passion? The explosive act of expressing said passion? Which leads me to another turnoff of the writing. Snyder seems to have no problem offering up explicit details of a rape with sentences consisting of when he thrust deep inside me and the like, which I’m surprised passed editing in a YA book. And when it comes to sex in a beautiful act of love, she chooses sentences of vague implications like I fell asleep in Valek's arms , followed by he rose and dressed and once I touched his skin, the game ceased to matter as we became reacquainted "Reacquainted" how sweet....I'm not 12. Followed later again by he rolled out of bed and began to dress I don't rate a book based on its lack of romance, or a YA based on its obvious lack of explicitness. But when the plot has been building up a romance into subsequent books, it sucks when there’s no big show for it.... Overall this was a very well written read with a lovely plot and characters and I do recommend it. And I am even continuing on with Fire Study.

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