Series: Study, Book Three
Published: 16th January 2009
Number of Pages: 448
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 Blog: Maria V. Snyder
WARNING: COULD CONTAIN SPOILERS... AND FANGIRLING.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED…
The apprenticeship is over.
Now the real test has begun.
When word that Yelena is a Soulfinder – able to capture and release souls – spreads like wildfire, people grow uneasy. Already Yelena’s unusual abilities and past have set her apart. As the Council debates Yelena’s fate, she receives a disturbing message: a plot is rising against her homeland, led by a murderous sorcerer she has defeated before.
Honour sets Yelena on a path that will test the limits of her skills, and the hope of reuniting with her beloved spurs her onward. Her journey is fraught with allies and enemies. Yelena will have but one chance to prove herself – and save the land she holds dear.
Finally, I've finished my review! And just in time for Shadow Study! Enjoy...
"Fire is your downfall, little bat. Can not call it. Can not control it...."
It seems things were never intended to be easy for Yelena Liana Zaltana. Having escaped her homeland to seek magical training in birthplace of Sitia, she soon found out that she is a Soulfinder, a rare kind of magician with the ability to control souls.
Sitia has had an unhappy history with Soulfinders: the last one raised an army of the dead and was burnt on the stake. So when word gets around about what Yelena is, the reaction is not positive.
As the Council decide what to do with Yelena, she and her brother Leif go in search of the outcast magic clan Daviian and the wannabe King of Ixia, Cahil. They soon discover that the Daviian Vermin are using an ancient and brutal form of blood magic – and have a very powerful magician amongst them: a Fire Warper.
But quickly the Vermin grow in strength and become infinitely more deadly. So deadly, in fact, that they spark a plot to destroy Ixia, Yelena's former home.
With the Council turned against her, and with no way to help save Ixia, Yelena flees with her brother Leif to the one place they can be safe. There, she will have to prove herself to both kingdoms and stop the Fire Warper and the Vermin clan – before they destroy them all...
I love the Yelena Zaltana series and I was so sad that Fire Study would be my final Yelena-centric novel... And then along came Shadow Study and I was overjoyed! Still, I can't help feeling a sense of loss after finishing Fire Study, as it is the end of a trilogy I adored. And it finished so brilliantly, I think. We saw Sitia and Ixia, saw friends from both books, were taken on a series of wild adventures that constantly had me on the edge of my seat. I read Fire Study in a single sitting and loved every second – even though Yelena managed to get herself in a million scrapes! That girl is a trouble magnet! But, personally, I think that it is just... the perfect end to the original trilogy. And after reading it, I am itching at the collar to read Shadow Study – NOW!
Yelena, I think, was perfect in this one. She was looked to as a leader, but she worried about whether she was doing the right thing, like all young people. She was strong and vulnerable, funny and scared and real. She planned a lot more now – sure, she did her rush-in thing too, but she took charge more. She made a few mistakes early on, but I really admired how she grew.
Valek: oh, how I adore Valek. Every time he says 'love' I swoon a little. He is just... perfect. I love him so so much. I also love how he's protective but not overbearing: he lets Yelena do her Yelena thing and doesn't try to stop her. He's the best heart mate ever – I wish he was all mine.
I quite liked Leif, Yelena's brother, by the end of Magic Study. By the end of Fire Study, I loved him. He is so funny and sarcastic – and a real brother too. And I loved how close Yelena and Leif became by the end of this one – it was so cute and so funny. Their sibling-bantering was hilarious, and when they fell out it felt real, like something siblings do (God knows I've ticked my brothers off a few times, and vice versa).
Onto the other characters. Firstly, Janco and Ari, who are the best things since sliced bread in my opinion. They rock: every time they're in a scene, they kill me. Janco with his craziness and big-talk, Ari with his attempts to tone Janco down... I love them. Love them love them love them. Then there was Moon Man, who was a bit mixed in this one, but by the end I loved him. And it was great to see Opal again – and it made me even more excited to read the Glass series!
But the animals in this series are awesome. Kiki, Yelena's horse, I love: she's hilarious. And Yelena also got a little bat buddy (a LBB) in this one too – love him!
As always, Snyder's writing was flawless and beautiful. I love her lyrical voice and the beautiful way she describes the lands and people. You can really feel Yelena in the words – stubborn and scared, strong and uncertain. It was perfect. The plot, too, was perfect and just nonstop – like all of the Study plots! But, out of all of them, this felt the most fast-paced and also the most... choppy. I have no better word. There was just so much going on so fast and it felt... I don't know. Not as flawless as the previous two books. Don't get me wrong – by most book standards, Fire Study is a work of pure magical art. But by the standard I hold Snyder to (which is probably unfairly high thanks to her amazingness) it fell a little short.
Nonetheless, I was hooked start to finish and was left thinking: 'Yeah. That was awesome – and a worthy finale.' Of course, I'm even more excited that it isn't the end, that the adventure isn't over, but it was still a good ending! And I really was shocked by that last twist, and terrified by one before it!
I've said numerous times that I adore this world – both the Ixian and Sitian sides. I love how both were visited in Fire Study – along with a few other worlds! The mythology Snyder used, on top of the existing magical Sitia and military Ixia, was so brilliant – she took the notion of heaven, hell and purgatory and made it so unique. Loved it!
I've loved every single moment of this series (even all the rush-in moments that ended with capture) and am sad it's over.... But it isn't over anymore, is it! Because we have a new Yelena trilogy! Excuse me while I do a crazy happy dance.
I'm back. I absolutely adored Fire Study; it was exciting, thrilling, magical, addictive and totally epic. I love all the characters, the world and the magicness of the series and can't wait to continue it with Shadow Study! Yay! I love you, Maria V. Snyder!
4¼ Out of 5
4¼ Out of 5
Read this book if you liked:
The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Grisha by Leigh Bardugo
Graceling by Kristin Cashore