Series: Study Series #3
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Pages: 441 (paperback)
Published: January 16th 2009
Published by: MIRA Books
The apprenticeship is over
Now the real test has begun
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.…
Honor 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, enemies, lovers and would-be assassins, each of questionable loyalty. Yelena will have but one chance to prove herself—and save the land she holds dear.
In Magic Study, we started to discover more about Yelena: her history, and her way with magic. This, the last in the Study Series thus far (though there is talk of a follow-up trilogy), ties up all of the ends left open in Magic Study. Yelena has to try and find the truth when it comes to her Soul Finder powers, and the prejudice - and sometimes hatred - which comes with the stigma of this name. Of course, that's not the only thing going on and Yelena has to deal with the continued threat of enemies made in previous stories.
This book, unfortunately, continues on the downward trend in the progression of the series. There's a lot of dire situations put in just because it makes the story 'more interesting'. It seems like every couple of chapters that Yelena is put into a life-threatening situation and it begins to work the opposite, becoming repetitive. Although it can be said that there are at least different challenges to overcome in each book when it comes to \using magic: for everyone, but Yelena in particular.
So while the story isn't up to the same standard as the earlier books, all the great characters from the first get their screen time (though in my opinion, Valek could always do with more). There are some great moments where we see Yelena and Valek experiencing problems in their relationship. Up until this point it's been all happy-wonderful-in-love stuff, so it was nice to see that it isn't always perfect for them either. Their disagreements were realistic, as were their resolutions. Both fit with the characters that have been built in the other two books and felt like things that genuinely would have come about for them rather than being put in for the sake of it.
We also get to see a bit more of Yelena's immediate family, Lief in particular, and the development of those relationships were nice. Though her relationship with her parents seems a bit easy considering they hadn't seen each other for so long, with Lief it followed a believable line both for the circumstances and the animosity he feels towards her.
The end of this book was dragged out quite a lot, and it definitely could have been shortened without serious detriment to the book as a whole. Indeed, the whole thing probably could have done with some tightening up to make the story more streamlined and less repetitive.
But as I said before, there are rumours of a second trilogy following Yelena, and I will definitely be reading at least the first. Why? Because of the central characters: Yelena, Valek, Ari and Janco are some of my favourite fictional characters, each unique with their own personalities and yet fitting together to make a good team - both for get things done, and to make for good reading. Here's hoping it next book will be an improvement on this, and get back to the awesomeness that was Poison Study.
Not a bad book by any means, but the repetitiveness of the situations bring it down a little, though the characters are - as always - wonderful.