TITLE: Magic Study
AUTHOR: Maria V. Snyder
STARTED: November 12, 2006
FINISHED: November 13, 2006
FIRST SENTENCE:"We're here," Irys said.
SUMMARY: [From barnesandnoble.com] With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way to be reunited with the family she'd been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But though she has gained her freedom, she can't help feeling isolated in Sitia. Her Ixian background has changed her in many ways -- and her newfound friends and relatives don't think it's for the better.
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 involved with 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 all her new enemies.
THOUGHTS: Snyder did not come close to slipping into a sophomore slump. This book did not have me reading it in one sitting (mainly because I was too darn tired), but I'm sure I would of if I had had the chance.
Yelena is back, and with it, her magical and mysterious life. Everything I loved about her in the first book was back in the second. She was strong willed, intelligent, and more than a bit fiesty. And while she may have done "stupid" things, she always went into those situations with her smarts and thought-out plans. I like a female character who doesn't simper. Magic Study also added depth to Yelena's character. She's exploring a new aspect of her live; her family, her past, and her magic are all uncovered layer by layer. Each layer stays with the character, and each change or discovery makes sense. There are no random "WTFs" as one reads. Everything has a purpose and a place, and nothing is for outright shock value, though there are certainly shocks.
Through Yelena, we come in contact with many new characters, and none of them drag the book down. Irys moves from killer to mentor with ease, but the tension between her pupil and herself always remains. Yelena's family bring a heart and another story to the series. Her parents are the comic relief in many cases, particularly when her mother scurries up a tree a time or two. They also prove a vital role into Yelena discovering her magical abilities. Her brother Lief is a dramatic plot maker, and I can't wait to find out more about him. Snyder only scratches the surface of his story, but she leaves enough bare to make my mouth water with need to read.
Valek, Ari, Janco, and a number of other characters are also back. I think I would have cried if Valek had not come back - while he does not play as huge a role as he did in the past novel, his resistance to magic proves vital once again. Throw in some new characters and you've got yourself a hell of a cast - from the baddest of the bad, to the are-they-bad-,-I-really-can't-tell, to the clearly good.
Snyder advances her characters in a way that entices the reader. Her books have so many layers of plot that it's almost difficult to follow. She unveils everything in such a way, however, that one is never lost, only intrigued. She creates more questions than she answers, but she never leaves her readers dangling with unsated need. There appears to be more to this series, both in the characters and the plot, and I can't wait to read it.
Snyder's vivid imagination and scene description are absolutely astounding. She takes the reader from the canopy of the trees, to the damp forest floors filled with creatures unknown, to the dry grassy plains, to the strength of The Citadel. The world she has created is so vivid it belongs in a travel brochure. Snyder's "Study Series" is creating a new myth and fantasy series that ranks up there with the best of them. And by the best of them, I mean J.R.R. Tolkien and Jacqueline Carey. I'm not kidding. They're that good.
MISCELLANEOUS: Snyder is creating a realm I want to visit. Namely because I like the idea of walking in the trees.
KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): Goes back to the library, but you can be damn sure I'm buying my own one day.
RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]
CR: Tender is the Knight by Jackie Ivie
RN: Blaze of Glory by Catherine Mann