Series: Study, #2
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Pages: 392 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Luna Books
Release Date: October 1, 2006
You know your life is bad when you miss your days as a poison taster...
With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way to be reunited with the family she'd been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But though she has gained her freedom, she can't help feeling isolated in Sitia. Her Ixian background has changed her in many ways—and her newfound friends and relatives don't think it's for the better....
Despite the turmoil, she's eager to start her magic training—especially as she's been given one year to harness her power or be put to death. But her plans take a radical turn when she becomes involved with a plot to reclaim Ixia's throne for a lost prince—and gets entangled in powerful rivalries with her fellow magicians.
If that wasn't bad enough, it appears her brother would love to see her dead. Luckily, Yelena has some old friends to help her with all her new enemies...
When we last saw Yelena she was fleeing execution in Ixia. Now at the start of Magic Study she's on her way to study magic and finds her family. While her parents are ecstatic at her return, her brother, Lief, has his suspicions. He's convinced that she's a spy for the Commander, and has her kidnapped when he's suppose to be escorting her to the Citadel for her magic lessons.
Even though we lose the novelty of having Yelena as a food taster, she still gets herself into plenty of exciting and interesting (and sometimes disturbing) situations as she travels through the jungle and when she eventually enters the Magicians Keep. I loved being able to see the world outside of Ixia. There's several different clans, each with their own unique fashions (or lack thereof!) and lifestyles. We also learn so much about magicians and the vast variation in their magical abilities. It was so fun getting to see some Yelena's abilities, such as bonding with an adorably hilarious horse!
Speaking of her horse, there's a fantastic cast of new characters along with the return of some favorites! Esau, Yelena's sweetheart, scientist father. Perl, her neurotic mother. Lief, the standoffish brother. Kiki, the horse, and my personal favorite! Cahill, friend or foe? The Master Magicians, Moon Man, and several others. Each of them adds something to the story and even the minor characters felt well developed.
There's more than enough action and intrigue, twists and turns aplenty, a little bit of romance, and lots and lots of magic! While I really enjoyed this one, I'm not sure if I liked it more than the previous book. Both are so different, so let's just say I like them the same but for different reasons. One thing that was definitely more enjoyable in the previous book was Yelena and Valek's relationship. In Magic Study it felt forced and superficial. Every scene with them together they're having sex (not that that's a problem), Valek is calling her "love," but I felt absolutely no emotion. It was as if their scenes were just added for the sake of having romance. Despite that, I'm excited to see what Fire Study has in store for them!