Review 190. Maria Snyder – Magic Study.

3244135Title: Magic Study.
Author: Maria Snyder.
Pages: 419.
Published: May 16th 2008.
Publisher: MIRA Books
Sort: Part two of ‘Poison study.’
Part one: Poison Study.

With an execution order on her head, Yelena has no choice but to escape to Sitia, the land of her birth. With only a year to master her magic - or face death - Yelena must begin her apprenticeship and travels to the Four Towers of the Magician's Keep. But nothing in Sitia is familiar. Not the family to whom she is a stranger. Not the unsettling new facets of her magic. Nor the brother who resents her return. As she struggles to understand where she belongs and how to control her rare powers, a rogue magician emerges - and Yelena catches his eye. Suddenly she is embroiled in battle of good against evil. And once again it will be her magical abilities that will either save her life...or be her downfall.

The first thing I noticed was the fact that Magic study lacked of something. Something Poison study did manage to capture. Perhaps it’s the fact that Valek is hardly there or the bit-unrealistic situations our MC has to endure. Everything went a bit TOO good and our MC had quite some luck when her somewhat annoying temper came up. But, nonetheless a good book that makes me look forward to part three.

Yelena is reunited with her family. Her parent’s are happy, but her brother eyes her with suspicion. He believes she is a spy for Ixia and when he takes her to their capitol, he betrays her. Yelena is taken to a man who claims to be heir to the throne: he is the nephew of the slayed king. She can prove her innocence and she is taken into some school. She is under protection of the fourth Magician Irys and soon, it becomes clear that she has a very dangerous and strong power. It’s not just her ability to talk to animals or to control minds: she is a Soulfinder. Someone who can bring the dead back.

This power is used to help them find a rogue magician. He is raping and killing girls, so he can collect their souls and grow in strength. Then there is also the matter with the Commandant. He comes from Ixia to talk to the people of Sitia. Valek is, hidden behind magic, with the delegation. Yelena is more than happy to see him, but it is dangerous. People of Sitia hate him and they want him dead, including the King’s nephew.

Let me get started with the positive things.

This story is plot-wise strong. I liked where it was going to and how it unraveled in the end. Valek and Yelena both made many enemies and that gives some good action. Maria’s writing-style is pleasant and it makes this a quick read. I really liked Valek and some of the new introduced characters.

This brings me to some things I thought that lacked of something. First of all, Yelena. It’s not that I disliked her, but she lost some of the charm she had in Poison study. She throws herself head over heal in dangerous situations with a “let’s-see-how-this-works-out” attitude. The thing is, everything ends well. She is hardly injured and her powerful magic – she recently discovered – is always there to help her. I wish she was less careless and took more time to think about it. Everybody is trying to help her, but she is stubborn and a bit of a know-it-all. It’s not bad when MC’s think for themselves, but it was too reckless. It also made the action less exciting, because I already knew that nothing bad was going to happen: there was no tension. Most of the times, I was like:


Second, the fact that it’s cliched. MC suddenly becomes one of the most powerful magicians, having the gift of Soulfinder that hardly exist. She doesn’t need much training, because everything just seem to ‘come from within.’ Neh, didn’t buy it. It would have been much more realistic if she had to train and made mistakes when she uses her magic.

I still have high hopes that book three has the spark from Poison study.


  1. Glad you managed to enjoy it, even if it wasn't perfect. <3 I still need to start the series, but I do think they sounds interesting :) Though annoying about her getting it all right in the beginning. Oh, well. Awesome review :)

  2. BAHAHA I love the gif! I'm reading Poison Study soon, and the hype is pretty promising but I have heard that the second one isn't as good. I really hate it when the MC goes reckless and stupid. Makes me go nuts. (Not that I already am)

    Fab review, hon! <33

  3. I am in love with that gif. Fab review. Despite it's drawbacks I still want to give it a go. :)


    1. You should! The first book is really good and I have high hopes for part 3 :)

  4. To be quite honest with you, I can barely remember what happened in this book now, though I did like it at the time. I preferred the first book too though. I hope the next book works for you slightly better! Lovely review, hon. :)

  5. I haven't read this series, but I am a bit curious (okay, part of that interest is the last name). I've heard good things and I would really like to try it sometime. It's a shame that the second book wasn't as good as the first, but hopefully the next one is better!

    Great review. :)

  6. It's been such a long time since I read Poison Study. I don't remember much of it (except maybe Valek). I have this book too but just couldn't get into it anymore. Yelena sounds incredibly brave or incredibly stupid in this one. Lol.

  7. I absolutely loved Poison Study however the next two books were disappointing to me personally :(

    I agree that it's quite cliched. The MC became too Mary Sue-ish for me, she's such a special snowflake being a rare, powerful Soulfinder like you've said. One thing that would make things more realistic would be having a consequence/price for all that magic/power, either physically, mentally or emotionally.

    Also, is it just me or does the MC get kidnapped SO MANY BLOODY TIMES? I lost count of how many times she is knocked out and wakes up in a familiar place (and mostly unharmed). Seriously, I cannot trust her to walk across a dark empty place anymore BECAUSE SOMETHING BAD ALWAYS HAPPENS ARRRGH. I really wish I was kidding...

    1. I agree, I wish she was more flawed in her magic :) and yes, haha. It seems like there is not a single page where she isn't kidnapped.

  8. I do have to agree that the first book in this series is probably the best one. I'm not quite sure why the other two books aren't as good, but there's just something lacking in them. I mean, I thought they were still good, just not as good as Poison Study.
    Although I have to admit I was thinking of buying them because the Aussie covers are so pretty *drools*

  9. "First of all, Yelena. It’s not that I disliked her, but she lost some of the charm she had in Poison study. She throws herself head over heal in dangerous situations with a “let’s-see-how-this-works-out” attitude. The thing is, everything ends well." <-- Sounds like an idealized version of what happens to Tris in Insurgent. Never a good thing when EVERYTHING ends well and the MC knows EVERYTHING because then where is the tension? where's the motivation to keep reading? are our hearts pounding, wondering whether she'll make it out okay? are we not in-the-know? Meh.

    I have high hopes too o.O. The part you mention about the cliches makes me really sad. Yes, she should have a lot of training. I never buy the whole "must-be-within" explanation. There's a reason why it took Harry Potter seven years to learn how to defeat Voldemort, and even it wasn't because he was innately good at magic but because of something else, you know? Bleh. I hope the third is good though - on the off chance that I do like Poison Study when I get around to reading it.

    1. Indeed, I really missed those heartpounding scenes where you're frightened for her life (despite the fact that you know deep down that she is going to survive). But it just wasn't scary anymore.

      And yes, that is one of the reasons HP is so good.

  10. Poison Study is definitely the best of the series and it totally works as a standalone. I think Fire Study had some good moments but it didn't live up to the PS standard.

  11. You make some very good points Mel! Yelena was very careless and the book was a bit cliched. I also enjoyed it though. I haven't actually read Fire Study yet (it wasn't available at my library when I read the rest). I really need to get back to it though, especially since Snyder is writing 3 more books! I wonder if I will be more critical now that I have read so many more books since I read the others.


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