Series: Study, #3
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Pages: 441 (Paperback)
Publisher: Mira Books
Release Date: March 1, 2008
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....
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.
I hate to say this, but I was a bit disappointed with this final installment of the Study series. While the previous book was fun, exciting, and action packed, this one was action packed but in an almost boring way. It seems like the characters were just going in circles for the first 300 pages. Yelena and Co would travel, get ambushed, fight, move on to next location, get ambushed, fight some more, go to another location, and so on. Sure we learn more about Sitian history and the powers of the different clans, but I felt like we got nowhere with the story.
The plot also got extremely convoluted and I had trouble keeping up. There were too many characters with their own plans and agendas, and they were connected in various ways that were hard to keep track of. In fact, with all of the location jumping, I would forget about what was happening in previous locations until Yelena and Co went back there. Yelena was constantly making promises to help everyone everywhere, which just added to the too many separate plots list. I eventually gave up trying to keep everything straight, and just kept reading without absorbing much.
I did like how fire played a different role than what I was expecting. I don't want to spoil anything, but it involves yet another one of Yelena's unique abilities, which I wish had been explored more. This series could have benefited from an extra book or two rather than being a trilogy. We would have gotten to see Yelena grow into her powers, and Fire Study wouldn't have felt like too much information in too few pages (even at 441 pages!).
The ending was fitting though. I liked watching Yelena go from being unsure and afraid of her powers to embracing them and becoming a kick-ass magician! I also loved the reveal of the origin of the Commander's secret; very interesting! Overall, this one wasn't as good as the previous two books, but it was a pretty good ending to the series.