Author: Maria V. Snyder
Series: Yes, #2
UK Publisher: Mira
UK Release date: May 2008
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.
Although Magic Study wasn’t as stunningly good as Poison Study, I still enjoyed the second book in the Study series. Yelena has a very different journey to make in this book, as she leaves Ixia and Valek behind. She still manages to make me smile, and she still learns and develops as a character. Her connection to Kiki, a rather wild and wilful horse, was very unexpected but I found their interactions very humorous and sweet.
I was really sad that Yelena had to leave Valek, as he’s such a dynamic character. But you don’t need to be too disappointed, as he pops up in the book with his typical deadly fighting moves and protectiveness over Yelena. Perhaps not as often as I would have liked but enough to keep me going.
With the introduction of Yelena’s family and the Magician's Keep, a wealth of new characters are invited into the story. Once again, Snyder is skilled at creating wonderfully real individuals, and also balancing the action packed plot against the character driven elements. And it must be said, the plot was just exploding with action. The downside was that the plot often felt repetitive - Yelena would go off on her to own to solve a problem and end up getting caught, tortured and very much in trouble. A little deviation and variety wouldn't have gone amiss.
Both Cahil, the surviving prince and apparent heir to the Ixia throne, and Yelena’s brother, did however really confuse me. They would blow hot and cold, and I couldn’t figure out their true characters. This wasn’t a downside though – I loved the fact that the characters were three dimensional; they had secret motivations and agendas and changing emotions. Like in real life, I couldn’t predict what they were both up to, and this made the plot more interesting.
Magic Study had a lot to live up to, and although it didn't surpass Poison Study, it was still an action packed fantasy.