I’ve put off this post for weeks upon weeks now for two reasons:
- I love Maria V. Snyder’s Study series; we’re talking serious love here.
- I can never write about books/series I love because I can never adequately express just why it is that I do love them. (Who am I kidding? Sometimes I can’t even write about books that I have a crush on.)
So, I’ll try to put into words what, in my opinion, makes these books so great, but by all means, see for yourself…
About Poison Study…
About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace–and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.
And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust–and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.
As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…
Poison Study is all about characters. Yelena is intelligent, brave, and has an underlying strength that rallies support; she is also naive and cynical, occasionally acts without thinking, and is often vulnerable. She’s a dynamic character that inspires sympathy and the desire to follow her on any journey she undertakes. And she’s not the only one. Don’t get me started on Valek, the Commander’s chief of security, or, for that matter, on Ari and Janco, two of Yelena’s most vocal allies. Each individual that populates Ixia and Sitia was given Snyder’s undivided attention; all are multidimensional, adding something valuable to the exciting story lines in the Study series.
This time around, Yelena lives every day not knowing if it will be her last. Along the way she runs into magic and trouble – often both at the same time – and finds a family where she least expected to.
Even if you are not typically a fan of fantasy novels, this story just might appeal to you. There is magic involved, but there’s also intrigue, action, and suspense. I couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough and the hours I spent absorbed in Yelena’s world were more than pleasant. In fact, I was kicking myself (literally, had I been able to) for not having the next book within reaching distance. A mistake I remedied in short order. And so I moved on to Magic Study and once again fell under the Study series’ spell.
…About Magic Study
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 . . .
Book two in the Study series, Magic Study, maintains the level of solid storytelling that took root in Poison Study while amping up the fantasy elements. Yelena makes her way to Sitia, the Southern territory known for its magicians, but the magic never overshadows the story. Because of events that unfolded in book one, this one is perhaps even more exciting, wrapping the reader up in the tale.
I can’t recommend this series highly enough. I love it so much that I refuse to read the third book, Fire Study, for awhile because I don’t want the magic to conclude any time soon.