Reviews from the Realm of Magic

Magic StudyFire Study

Magic Study and Fire Study  by Maria V. Snyder

Series: Study #2 & #3

Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Romance, Young-Adult

Published: October 1st 2006 and January 16th 2009 by Mira Books

*mild spoilers for book one, Poison Study.

A Brief Summary of the Magic Stories

Once upon a time, lived a girl named Yelena Zaltana. Well… actually you might just know her as Yelena and she found out that she had magic, so she must flee her home and the one she loved.

She went on a journey of self-discovery battling the villains and other magicians that tried to stop her whilst she developed her magic and grew as a person. She made some new friends, kept some old friends, made some enemies. She also met her family and began to develop her past identity whilst trying to balance the old and the new in her life of magic and non-magic worlds.

During all this, her fabulous man-candy appeared in her life at frequent intervals to seduce her and spice up the story with some swoony romance. Through all of this she found a trusty steed that called her Lavender Lady and made the story oodles of fun.

There were lots of twists and turns, fun and emotional moments that brought a little tear to the eye. The stories kept you turning the pages with the multiple plots and tonnes of action.

Finally, Yelena realizes she is super-awesome all on her own, but she does need the help, support and guidance of others and she becomes less frustrating so you don’t want to bash her head against the wall and we get an interesting happily ever after.

The Review

Magic Study and Fire Study retained lots of the fun and enjoyable elements that made me fall head over heels in love with Poison Study and I think they make a good series together. I’m breaking it down into some elements to summarise the progression of specific elements.

Yelena

Yelena was a character that wormed her way easily into my heart in Poison Study and she still retained the fire and tenacity that she held when we first met her. However I feel that at times she was a little head-strong and that she just threw herself into things which annoyed me, but that was her character and you had to appreciate her stubbornness and loyalty. She was still the smart and defiant Yelena who fought for what she believed in.

Although I did feel that at a couple of moments she wasn’t quite as witty as she had been previously and smart. She seemed like she’d lost a few brain cells when she didn’t get everything that was going off, but in her defence she was being dragged all over the place to make things exciting so she couldn’t do everything.

Valek

Is it quite manageable to fall in love with this man even more? Something about him with his secret allure and charm that slipped and slide through these two stories as more elusive got me all excited about Valek’s character. My only problem was we didn’t see nearly enough of him and I don’t think as an individual character we saw enough of his personality. He seemed to become Yelena’s love interest rather than an individual that we had gotten to know in the previous novel.

Although Snyder did give me a scare when I briefly thought Valek would be replaced as love interest for another. However fear nor, no love triangle develops nor does Valek disappear. He is very much around for the cute, swoony moments that maintains the magic for their relationship throughout both books!

Two steps and I was wrapped in his arms.

“That’s the best welcome I’ve had all day.”

World Building

I think it’s safe to say that Snyder immerses you in the world of magic and magicians along with the clans whether they were Zaltana or Sandseed or one of the many others. She delves into the politics of Ixia and Sitia and the tensions between the two.

We learn to understand the history of magic, not nearly enough for my own thirst for knowledge, but enough that you really start to understand the dynamics of the world.

Fantasy is a genre that really depends upon believing the world and understanding it, and I could picture every grain of strand, every jungle vine that Snyder depicted and this made the journey so much more enjoyable.

The Secondary Characters

Wow. Snyder excelled on all fronts here. This is what totally sells me her novels. Not only do we draw in everyone we met in the first novel, but in these two we meet a whole new cast of characters. She really built up a world of characters and individuals that moulded so many different elements to this story from the magicians to simple street beggar children who become friends of Yelena or the soldiers.

Snyder also managed to build up Yelena’s family and we developed some real relationships of her past that we hadn’t seen before. Things were certainly rocky and full of ups and downs, but I think that reflects a true family dynamic and how nothing is smooth and perfect. Her brother, Leif was certainly an interesting character of multi-dimensions and I had lots of changing emotions which I really liked.

Lief pretended to be shocked. “But our fearless leader. You have it all planned out. Right?”

I shrugged. “I’m going to take a long hot bath. How’s that?”

Overall, everybody in this novel had a story and a time to shine in the plot and I really liked how Snyder managed to interweave them all. If you like secondary characters, Snyder really excels here!

Ari and Janco

Ari and Janco are still present as my two favourite characters from Poison Study with their camaraderie. I’m sooo glad to see that Snyder brought this two back to be present in both books because I don’t think it would be quite the same without them. They brought humour to the books that could lighten up the more intense and action filled moments to just draw you back down to earth.

“Janco,” Ari warned. “We’re not supposed to be fraternising with the Sitians.”

“But she’s not Sitian. Right, Yelena? You haven’t gone south on us, have you?” Janco’s voice held mock horror.

Moon Man

He brought lots of cryptic wisdom, fun, adventure and emotional moments. Moon Man reminded me a lot of Finnick from The Hunger Games who weaselled his way into my heart entirely too easy as well. He had an aura about him that was hard not to like and from the moment of his first introductions, despite lots of ambiguous characters to whether they were truly good or not, the vibe from him was full of fun and mystery.

Not only that but he helped Yelena and strengthened her character growth and I liked how Snyder used him to do that as well as interlinking the clans and the plot lines that really helped the two novels to flourish.

I studied his colored skin. “Why indigo?”

A slow grin spread over his lips. “A cooling color to help soothe the fire between you and your brother.”

Then, a sheepish look. “It is my favourite.”

Kiki

Kiki is Yelena’s horse. This sounds entirely bizarre, but I think animals if used well are increasingly fantastic characters that authors can make use of. Buckbeak, Nero, Burru to name a few. She has intelligence and insight that the characters don’t and I liked her ability to rebuke Yelena when others couldn’t.

I also loved her nicknames for everybody which represented their identity of personality really by the smell and I think in most cases they fitted really well.

Yes. I’m sorry to take you out on such a horrible day, I said.

Not bad with Lavender Lady. Lavender Lady was the name the horses had given me. They named the people around them just like we would name a pet.

Villains

I’m never really sure how you can assess a villain. In terms of evilness, cruelty, ingenuity. They tend to be slippery characters that are hard to define and Magic Study and Fire Study are filled galore with them. Snyder gets a real mix of rather irrelevant villains that you can skip without much consequence and real two-faced characters and mysterious enemies that creates lots of plot twists and excitements in her novel.

I think the balance of villains done bad and villains done good makes the two novels work really well. I felt the villain in Magic Study was a lot stronger, the plot unravelled more in Fire Study to undermine it and make it a little more predictable in an element that I just knew it had to be that from the start. However, I don’t think it’s entirely obvious, but Snyder drops some fairly big hints throughout the novel looking back that makes it hard for you to ignore.

Overall, she creates some wicked villains and lots of bombshells with characters chopping and changing sides to show that human nature really isn’t set straight.

Favourite Moment

Undoubtedly Snyder packs the novels full of adventure and action which makes it so easy to like them when you can constantly turn a page and find something new happening. I find that I prefer novels with lots of action that transport me to an entire new world rather than something slow and thought-provoking. However one of my favourite moments from the two books was more humorous moments that captures Snyder’s sense of humour that appealed to much to me.

I spotted my mother’s green cloak near the top. I called to Perl, telling her I was fine. “You can come down now,” I said.

“Yelena! Thank fate! come up here where it’s safe,” she said.

Overall

Honestly, I thought these two held great strengths that made them enjoyable, but they didn’t shine as much as the original book, Poison Study. I felt that Magic Study held the edge over Fire Study too and that this series weakened a little by the end. I just felt Fire Study was a little more predictable and rushed than the other two. Still, that does not take away that I would happily label this as one of my favourite fantasy series and recommend it to everybody out there because there is something a little special about Yelena Zaltana and this series. I  cannot wait to get my hands on more Snyder books as she’s undoubtedly one of my favourite authors now!

Magic Study: ~ 4 / 5 Books ~

Fire Study: ~ 3.5 / 5 Books ~

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32 Comments

Filed under 2006 Publication, 2009 Publication, 3.5 Books, 4 Books, Fantasy, Magic, Maria V. Snyder, Mira Books, Paperback, Romance, Young Adult

32 responses to “Reviews from the Realm of Magic

  1. The original sounds really good, to bad the sequels are not as fun!

  2. This is great post, Livvy! I think you sum up my feelings about this series as a whole perfectly. I didn’t enjoy these two as much as Poison Study either, but I still really liked them. I agree about Yelena, too. She frustrated me at times as well, though it’s pretty hard not to appreciate her character in the end. And Valek… don’t get me started! I love that guy. 😉

    • Livvy @Nerdy Book Reviews

      Thanks, Sam!

      Yes, he is a very awesome guy! haha. I think most people veer towards those feelings too! 🙂

  3. Oh Livvy this is another series that I can’t wait to start, I just checked and my library has all three in stock, guess I better get onto requesting them! I love how you’ve broken down your review, your love for this series comes through really strongly in each paragraph! I hope I end up enjoying them just as much you did! Great review! 🙂

    • Livvy @Nerdy Book Reviews

      You definitely better and I can’t wait to hear what you think of them! I’m glad because overall I really enjoyed this series! Thanks, Jasprit! 🙂

  4. Livvy, you have whole-hearted convinced me to try this series out!! I will have to find a copy in my library or just go ahead and buy it. 😉 The main character, even though she is slightly stubborn, sounds very lovable, and as does the love interest! Their moments together sound SO swoon-worthy. It’s also great to hear that the secondary characters are developed and fleshed out- that’s such a big issue I’ve been seeing with YA books today. So I’m glad to see the last two books of this series to fall prey to this problem.

    Lovely review, Livvy! I can’t wait to try this series out now. 😀

    • Livvy @Nerdy Book Reviews

      I’m sooooo thoroughly glad because I love this series, Aneeqah! She most certainly is, I am positive they will find places in your heart and they are brilliant together! I cannot wait to hear your thoughts on this one! thanks, Aneeqah! 😀

  5. I loved Poison Study but I think the main reason I never picked up the next two were because I heard that Valek is hardly in them. The main reason I loved this was because of their relationship so to take him out or have him hardly there I think would ruin the story for me. Great review of the two books, Livvy. I might re-think my decision. 🙂

    • Livvy @Nerdy Book Reviews

      He isn’t in them that much, but enough to satisfy I think especially when the moments you get are really good! Thank you, Rachel. I hope you enjoy them if you decide to pick them up! 🙂

  6. I adored this series as well, and kept falling for Valek over and over… Great review, makes me want to read them again

  7. I LOVE THIS SERIES TOO!!!! and I love Valek, it’s rare to find male leads like him in YA these days.
    Have you read the last book in the series yet?
    Anywaysss Great Review and I am glad you loved this series 😀

    • Livvy @Nerdy Book Reviews

      I know, you never do. He’s such a swoony guy! Fire Study? Yup. Thank you! 🙂

      • Damn. I keep on getting the titles of the books mixed. I read them a while ago. But have you heard that there are going to be 3 more books in the series? (and YELENA AND VALEK are the main characters)

        • Livvy @Nerdy Book Reviews

          Really? I heard there were three more books planned, but not about Yelena and Valek as the centre of the novels. FUN! 🙂

        • There was already a spin off on the series but as far as I know the three books are part of the series and focus on Yelena and Valek .. but if I am wrong.. that is going to suck a lot because I was looking forward to 2014

        • Livvy @Nerdy Book Reviews

          Yeah, that would suck if they weren’t focusing on those two.

  8. Hahha, your brief summary is both enlightening and hilarious. It made my day. I totally agree with you about animals in books, some of them I’ll never ever forget. I have yet to read this series, but I’ll try to be patient with Yelena at first, keeping in mind that she DOES find her own footing eventually. 🙂
    Great review, Livvy.

    • Livvy @Nerdy Book Reviews

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! haha. I was going for humour.
      Well, I hope you enjoy this when you get around to it! Thanks! 🙂

  9. Wow I love the breakdown of each individual character involved in this story that you presented in your review! And better yet, this series is catching my eye. C: It sounds so interesting especially with that plot summary you did. Of course, I would love to see that eye-candy as well. ;D

    Wonderful review Livvy! Thanks for the congrats on my blogoversary. Definitely nerds FTW! 😄

    • Livvy @Nerdy Book Reviews

      Well I hope you enjoy this series if you ever manage to read it because it’s certainly worth checking out! 🙂

  10. Oh man, do I love this series, too! I agree with you about Poison Study being the best out of the three, but it’s still an awesome series overall. Do you plan on reading the spin-off Glass series? I didn’t like it as much as Study, but it had its moments.

    • Livvy @Nerdy Book Reviews

      I think I may try reading the spin off series and I’ve heard that there are plans to write more books in this series following Valek and Yelena. I definitely want to read more of this author though! 🙂

  11. kay

    Great review! I enjoyed this series, but Poison Study will forever be my favorite. I agree with you that Fire Study lost a bit of the series original feel. I still want to read more from the author though!

    • Livvy @Nerdy Book Reviews

      Thank you. I most definitely do too and I have to agree about Poison Study having a special place in my heart.

  12. I really need to start this series! I continue to hear fantastic things about it, especially Poison Study. Sorry Fire Study isn’t quite as strong as the other two, but glad you enjoyed it overall. Wonderful review!

    • Livvy @Nerdy Book Reviews

      Thank you. Most definitely you need to read it because I adore the series. Hope you enjoy if you get around to reading! 🙂

  13. veganyanerds

    I have heard so much about this series from fans of Maria’s writing and I do plan on reading at least the first book, and hopefully I’ll like it. It is a shame that the series seems to decline after that, but I’m still willing to give it a go because I really enjoyed Touch of Power 😉

    • Livvy @Nerdy Book Reviews

      I definitely recommend just the first book! Whilst it declines, I do definitely think it’s worth reading. Hope you enjoy if you start reading! 🙂

  14. The only book I’ve read by Maria V. Snyder is Inside Out, but I own Outside In and plan on reading it soon! But this series sounds really good as well. Moon Man sounds like a very cool character! I’m glad you liked these, even if they didn’t quite live up to the first in the series. Great review!

    • Livvy @Nerdy Book Reviews

      I hope you enjoy this if you get to read this series, because I think you’ll enjoy it and I hear it’s different to her Inside Out book! Moon Man is a brilliant character who I loved. Thank you! 🙂

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