Series: Study, Book Two
Published: 29th February 2012
Originally Published: October 2006
Number of Pages: 432
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Paranormal, Magic, Romance, Mystery, Suspence, Action-Adventure, YA, YA-Adult Crossover
Recommended Age: 14+
Contains: Violence, Death, Swearing, Alcohol, Sexual and Sexual Assault References
Author's Site: Maria V. Snyder
WARNING: COULD CONTAIN SPOILERS... AND FANGIRLING.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED…
Controlling the past.
Controlling the future.
With an execution order on her head, Yelena has no choice but to escape to Sitia, the land of her birth. With only a year to master her magic – or face death – Yelena must begin her apprenticeship and travels to the Four Towers of the Magician’s Keep.
But noting in Sitia is familiar. Not the family to whom she is a stranger. Not the unsettling new facets of her magic. Not the brother who resents her return. As she struggles to understand where she belongs and how to control her rare powers, a rogue magician emerges – and Yelena catches his eye.
Suddenly she is embroiled in battle against good and evil. And once again it will be her magical abilities that will either save her life… or be her downfall.
Yelena has had to leave her home – her kingdom – and flee to Sitia, the place of her birth but a place she knows nothing about. In Sitia, she will train her powers – must train and control them, or else be put to death in one year’s time. And so she goes to the Four Towers of the Magician's Keep, a place where magic is taught to those like her.
In Sitia she is also reunited with the family she was taken from so long ago. They are all strangers to her but are welcoming – loving. All except for her brother, Leif, who seems to hate her.
Caught up in struggles that are political, magical and emotional, Yelena is already dealing with a lot. The emergence of a powerful magician, targeting young girls, just creates more mayhem.
Of course, Yelena gets involved in the investigation. With magic as powerful as hers, she will either flourish here amongst those like her, or... she will perish...
I finished Poison Study and then instantly cursed myself – quite creatively too – in my head for not buying the rest of the damn books at the same time. So I ordered the second two in the Yelena Zaltana series on Amazon, vowing that if they didn't get here soon I would just buy them again on my Kindle. I was so excited when I saw a book saying: 'A Yelena Zaltana Novel' on the bottom. And then I cursed again – even more creatively – when I realised it was the third book not the second!! Magic Study did arrive the next day but it was still too long! I dived right in the moment it landed on my doorstep!
Now, I have this habit of writing down quotes as I go through a book. It's a habit I should really stop because it means that when I read a book with loads of quotes I love I end up writing down half the blinking book. I don't even really know why I do it... I think in case I want to use them in the review or make a picture quote of the book... But Magic Study... Well, it was one of those books that was just too good to stop! I literally could not stop. It was that good. Sure, it wasn't quite as good as Poison Study, but there really wasn't much in it.
I really loved how Yelena grew in this book: she was so much stronger and such a good person, better than before. She'd really come into her own as both a woman and a magician. Of course, she still has the pesky habit of rushing in without thinking – generally with bad results – but she's growing stronger too. She's able to kick some butt and she uses her family and friends' help when she needs it. Do I wish she'd trust the Council and Irys more? Yes. But I also got her reasons for not trusting them. Yelena isn't perfect and I think that's why I like her so much: she's tough as nails, but flawed and vulnerable too.
I missed Valek all the time he wasn't there and then felt my heart do a little flutter every time he reappeared, often in some bizarre disguise. Valek is sweet and hard, protective and trusting of Yelena's ability. He lets her do her thing, but he's always there for her too. Why I love Valek in one sentence?
"I'll be close by if you need me, love."
I also love this little scene between Yelena and Valek, where Yelena is nervous and Valek is... Valek:
"I knew falling for you was dangerous, love."
Yeah. I melt every time he says 'love'. I think it's leftover from my Spike-addicted days. I always did have a thing for the bad boys...
Now, my favourite characters in the previous book, Yelena and Valek aside, were Ari and Janco. You guys can't even begin to fathom how pleased I was when the two of them popped up again! But we were also introduced to a whole range of new, brilliant, evil and sometimes bizarre characters. I really liked Irys – she was a really awesome teacher. The Zaltana clan were brilliant – and so bonkers! Leif intrigued me and I'm so excited to see more of him. Moon Man was brilliant; gotta love the cryptic ones! Dax provided comic relief in the Janco-less times. And then there was Cahil... who I did not like. At all.
But I think my favourite character in Magic Study just had to be Kiki. Now who's Kiki, you may wonder. Well, Kiki was Yelena's horse. Weird favourite character, right? Not if you've read this book.
I adored the world building in Poison Study. My love only grew as I read Magic Study. Because now there wasn't just Ixia, but Sitia too! A land of magic and clans, a land (for the most part) without poison and secret spying. The cultures of the different clans intrigued me, as did the differences between the two lands of Ixia and Sitia.
Maria Snyder's writing and plotting were pure genius – as always. The writing was beautiful and hooking and not too heavy. The plot was addictive and just the right pace (fast and exciting but not neglecting world building). I loved how it built all the time, with plenty of action, and came to an impressive conclusion. I was a bit exasperated that Yelena has yet to learn the advantages of patience and assistance, but she's pretty badass, so it was all cool. And I also liked the way Maria dealt with sex in the book. Yeah, this bit is random, but I need to mention it. Maria didn't just ignore the fact that Yelena's a girl in love with a bad-boy boyfriend (heart mate) who called her 'love'. There was no lengthy description, almost no mention of S-E-X at all, but you knew what was about to happen. I think it's a good way to deal with sex: let us know it's happening, it's natural, but not with all the... graphic details.
I adored Poison Study and it really was one hell of an act to follow. Magic Study fell a little short, probably due to the only intermittent appearances of my three fave boys, but it kept me hooked and just as invested. The world building was epic, the action addictive and the characters believable. It also had the best horse in the history of the world – of any world, even.
I love Maria V. Snyder and, of course, she didn't disappoint with Magic Study. It was a worthy sequel to one of my favourite magic books. I can't wait to continue with the series – with Fire Study and Shadow Study! Eek! I don't have to leave Yelena and Valek! Yelek? Valena? Someone needs to come up with a shipping name! I would, but I'm too busy grabbing my copy of Fire Study!
4½ Out of 5
4½ Out of 5
Read this book if you liked:
The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig
Grisha by Leigh Bardugo
Throne of Glass and A Court Of Thorns And Roses by Sarah J. Maas