Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

Magic Study coverMagic Study is the second book in the Study series by Maria V. Snyder. This review will contain some spoilers for the first book, Poison Study.

Yelena has left Ixia, the love of her life Valek, and her best friends Ari and Janco behind to travel to the Citadel in Sitia. There, with the help of her mentor, Master Magician Irys, she will either learn to control her powerful magic or die trying. On the way, Yelena will meet her family-the ones she was stolen from when she was only six years old. Not all of her family members will be very accepting of her return into their lives. Additionally, when Yelena arrives in Sitia, she is asked to use her unique magic to help catch a serial killer. Yelena’s life only seems to get more challenging, and while trying to catch a killer and missing Valek, she wistfully remembers her days as a poison taster, when life was simple and easy.

In Magic Study, Yelena continues her struggles to find herself, and find a place where she belongs. In Ixia, she was an outsider who had to hide her magic which if discovered would get her executed. In Sitia, her magic is accepted, but her Ixian beliefs and customs are not. Yelena must find a balance between these two parts of herself, while trying to learn enough about her magic to keep herself alive. Yelena makes new allies but also new enemies in this novel. She meets her family for the first time. Her parents love her, but her brother resents and even hates her, and constantly seeks to undermine her and even put her life in danger. Her brother arranges to have Yelena kidnapped by Cahill, an Ixian who believes he is in line for the Ixian throne. Cahill tries to have Yelena imprisoned as an Ixian spy when she arrives in Sitia, and this turns some of the master magicians against her before they even meet her. Yelena’s road only seems to become more challenging, rather than easier as she thought it would.

I liked the first novel in this series a little more than this one. Valek, Ari, and Janco, three of my favorite characters from the first novel, were not present in this novel as much, and I missed them (almost as much as Yelena did!) While I still love Yelena, and think she is a strong, independent female character I would love to have as a friend, I also thought she was a big whiny in this book, and made some bad choices that she was lucky to survive. Although I did love her discovery that she could “talk” to horses, and they could talk back. This book had a bit too much politics in it for me, but the politics were an important part of the novel and I think those issues will be resolved in book three. Overall, I enjoyed this story and the new characters and I’m excited to see what happens to Yelena and Valek next!

Happy reading,

-Branwen

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