Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Title: Magic Study
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Published: 2006, Luna
Category: Fantasy
Rating: 9/10

Y'all know how much I was looking forward to this book. After reading Poison Study and loving it, I was completely impatient to start this one. But I tried to keep cool, because I'm always wary of sequels, and especially wary of middle books of trilogies. Strange in-between stories that are so often unsatisfying. And there's nothing worse than being disappointed by a book that didn't live up to your high expectations. But I'm happy to report, that I loved this one just as much as the first. YAY!

At the end of Poison Study, Yelena is exiled from Ixia due to her burgeoning magical abilities. With her magical mentor Irys, Yelena heads south to Sitia to be reunited with the family that she was kidnapped from 14 years previously. She meets her parents and brother, as well as the rest of her clan, who all live in treehouses. [Cool!] The reunion is marred however, by the reactions of her brother, Leif, who is resentful and hostile toward Yelena for reasons she doesn't really understand. Soon Yelena leaves her family and travels to the Citadel, the capital of Sitia, to start her magical training. On the way, she is attacked by a man named Cahil, who claims to be the last living member of the old royal family of Ixia. He thinks Yelena is an Ixian spy and is determined to use Yelena in his quest to retake Ixia.

The plot tears off from there at a high pace, and a lot happens. The action is really nonstop. Yelena must deal with all the strange Sitian customs, her magical training, the distrust of most everyone, and a rogue magician who is killing young girls. It takes all of Yelena's ingenuity, strength and magical abilities to make it through it all. She does has some help from a certain someone who appears with an Ixian diplomatic envoy. The yummy Valek.

Where to start with why I liked this book? Yelena, who was a tough chick in the first book, gets even ass-kickier. She is so independent, and even though she now has friends and family, she still goes her own way and takes charge of any situation. But I do love the way that she and Valek are somehow magically connected and he is able to help her from afar when she needs it. Valek knows how strong she is and lets her take what risks she needs to, but he's always there watching, ready to help.

I thought Yelena's reunion with her family was well done. The varying reactions of everyone seemed very genuine. Yelena's anxiety at meeting them, her parents' relief and wonder, and her brother's guilt and confusion all rang very true to me. I love all the secondary characters--the new ones: Cahil, Moon Man, Esau and Perl, the master magicians, and the horses. And old friends who return from the first book, especially Ari and Janco.

This is the kind of book that as I was reading I made myself read slowly, so that I could savor each page. You know you've got a good book when that happens. :) It's a world that I will enjoy returning to on future re-reads.

And now I can't wait for the third book in the trilogy, Fire Study. It's out sometime next year. *sigh*


Dylan said...

Oh dang, you're making me want to read this NOW...I think I'm going to buy these books this friday and read them soon, you lucky duck!

Marmee said...

So the Leif had fallen some distance from the treehouses?
Sorry, couldn't resist.

nath said...

I'm glad that it's good :D the only thing is one year for the next one?!? no!!!!

Jennie said...

Dylan--You should try them, I highly recommend them. :)

Mama--Hardy, har, har. I didn't actually think about his name being "leaf." I wonder if the author did it on purpose, or if it was just a subconscious thing.

Nath--I know! Maybe it'll be released in the spring, rather than the fall. I hope anyway.

Rosario said...

Ohhhh, I want this! I just finished reading Poison Study this weekend and loved it. I wonder if they'll be releasing this one soon as an ebook?

jmc said...

I have this book TBR, but I've been holding it so that I can sit down and read without distractions. Hurry up, weekend! I want to read!

Colleen Gleason said...

This sounds lovely. I think the covers are absolutely incredible. I'm wanting to give it to my 10 year old daughter to read; she reads Scott Westerfeld, Meg Cabot, and Ally Carter. Is it appropriate for a 10 y.o.? (Ie, is there sex and major violence?)

I'd love to hear. Let me know!

Jennie said...

Rosario--Isn't PS great? Not sure about the e-book. Isn't Harlequin really good about providing their books in e-format?

JMC--I know! I got this on Saturday, but was so busy I didn't get to start it until Tuesday. (Killer!) But then I had yesterday off, so I just snuggled on the couch and read all morning. It was awesome. ;)

Colleen--Hmm, I'm not sure. Maybe not. There is quite a bit of violent action, though it's not very graphically portrayed. And in PS Yelena does have some flashbacks to a man who raped her, who she then killed (slit his throat), but again there aren't any horrible details. The sex scenes are very PG-rated. Maybe it's one you should read first and see what you think. 10 is pretty young.

Anyone else have an opinion for Colleen? I'm afraid I'm a bit out of the loop on what's appropriate for children.

Mailyn said...

EEeekksss!!! Holly bought me Poison Study and I just got it. I am going to devour this!!!!!

Jennie said...

YAY! That was nice of Holly. :)

Jessica said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jessica said...

Love, love, loved Poison Study! I want to be Yelena for Halloween (by then I'll be living up in Anchorage with my four cousins under the age of 12, so I'll have a good excuse). Just bought Magic Study yesterday and can't wait to dig in--I think I'm at Chapter 4.

I don't know if I would have a 10y.o. read this book; that might still be a little young, even for a girl that's left Harry Potter in the dust. I would encourage Mom to read it first, and I'm a teacher!

Thanks again for the great book/trilogy rec!

Jennie said...

Jessica--Oooh, you should totally be Yelena for Halloween!

Reminds me actually of last week when I was shoe shopping. I needed some new heavy-duty winter shoes and I picked out this pair of Borns. They're Scandinavian, or something, I think. Anyway, my sis told me that they looked like Yelena shoes. I'm not sure what about the shoes made her think that--I guess they looked like kicking-ass kind of shoes. Anyway, I liked it and I ended up buying them. :)

Glad you liked Poison Study! Have fun with Magic Study. ;p

Jessica said...

Bummer moment of the day: Checked out the LUNA BOOKS website and read a couple of interviews by Maria V. Snyder. In the interview accompanying Poison Study, she completely gave away one of the major plot points of Magic Study! I really hope that that was a mistake and not true... Sadness!