Author: Maria Snyder.
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.