You know your life is complicated when you miss your days as a poison taster …
With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way to be united with the family she’d been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But although she has gained her freedom, she once again finds herself alone – separated from her lover Valek and suspected as a spy for her reluctance to conform to Sitian ways.
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 embroiled in 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 her new enemies.
After being exceptionally impressed with Poison Study, I eagerly dove into Magic Study. I must say it is, if anything, better than its predecessor. Magic Study still has all the things I loved about Poison Study – great characters, riveting plot, lots of action and romance – and improved upon the previous book because of the level of world building. Yelena’s return to Sitia and her family opens up Snyder’s world so that the politics of Ixia and Sitia can be compared. To be honest, I see the merits of both types of political system and didn’t mind one bit that Yelena stood up for the old home.
I thought that Valek and Yelena’s separation would play out like similar situations in YA, but Snyder minimises any sappy pining and ensures that no stupid decisions are undertaken through a feeling of abandonment, and most importantly, that Yelena never even glances at another man. Their eventual reunion was much-anticipated for me, and I was gratified to find that Valek’s regard for Yelena had not dimmed. However, his ready acceptance of Yelena’s magical powers after dedicating his whole life to eradicating magicians continues to mystify me, and I hope this aspect will be examined in the next book.
The long-awaited reunion of Yelena with her family is one of the most interesting aspects of the novel because it examines how she deals with the familial burdens that are suddenly thrust upon her. The destructive hatred her brother harbours for her is offset well with the easy and open relationship Yelena cultivates with her father. I loved the gradual development of love and trust between Yelena and her family, but also liked that some members (like Nutty) easily accepted her.
Overall, Magic Study is a great follow-up to Poison Study, and a book I thoroughly enjoyed. I still don’t agree with it being marketed as YA, and believe many fans of more traditional, adult fantasy will enjoy this series as well as young adult readers.
About the book: