I read Magic Study and Fire Study consecutively, and as they are two books in the same trilogy (following Poison Study, which I reviewed here), I thought I'd just review them together. And as they are sequels in a fantasy trilogy, it will be quite difficult to do plot summaries, so I'll just do a general one for both.
At the end of Poison Study, Yelena leaves Ixia to go south to Sitia to learn more about her inner abilities. She meets many people along the way and within the city- some take to her instantly, but others view her with grave distrust. She is a foreigner and relations between Ixia and its neighbors are strained. As Yelena learns about her own abilities, she becomes frightened of her own powers, particularly when other people associate her with the evil that seems to be infiltrating the world. She must fight back against the corruption and learn to understand her own powers and feelings before she can help those around her battle the dark forces that seem to surround them.
I put off reading these books for several months after reading the first one. This isn't unusual for me, to be fair; it takes me years to get through some series in this manner. But for this particular series, I just had a very strong feeling that the second and third books would not stand up to the first for me. And, more importantly, that Yelena would start to get on my nerves, as so many heroines inevitably do.
However, I arbitrarily set a rule for myself that I can only start a new fantasy series after finishing one of those that I am in the middle of. And, as I really, really want to sink my teeth into a new epic world, I picked these books up. They read very quickly, and I finished both in just a few days. But, as expected, they just didn't hold the magic of the first book for me.
Yelena did annoy me, but so many women in fantasy do. She just seemed so very perfect and incapable of making mistakes. And she used her magic all the time. For the smallest things. If she was having a conversation with someone and that person didn't trust her, then she'd conveniently go into his mind and change it. Not only is this really manipulative, but it also means that she never really had to deal with situations in which she would actually have to converse with people who were skeptical of her actions.
Also, and this is completely off-subject, the animals annoyed me in these books. First of all, there is a horse named Kiki. As if that weren't bad enough, Kiki also speaks in broken English. I am not sure why, if an author decides that animals can communicate wit humans, they can't also make the leap to have these animals speak in sentences. So many authors do this! I don't understand!
But I digress. I did enjoy reading these books, and I am glad I finished this series, but for some reason I just didn't feel quite as engaged here as I did previously. I did appreciate Yelena's friendships with Ari and Janko (of "Characters I would marry" fame) are still refreshingly without drama or unnecessary angst, but are instead filled with witty banter. Much appreciated!
But maybe that's what was missing for me. In Poison Study, Yelena and her friends spent most of the time in one place, and so we really got to know the characters well through their dialogue and interactions. In both Magic Study and Poison Study, it seemed like every five minutes, Yelena was flying from one end of a continent to another, giving no real thought to whether this was an efficient use of her time. It got really tiring to read about her gallivanting all over the country all the time (after which she was either hit in the head and passed out or was incapacitated in some other manner), and I feel like if at least some of that would have been left out, the stories would have been leaner and more interesting to read. Instead, they sometimes came off as repetitive and I admit to skimming through parts of both.
Honestly, I think these books just disappointed me because I so enjoyed the first book. And these didn't stack up or hold their weight, in my opinion.
I am so sorry :( I mean I knew it but still, it sure sucks.ReplyDelete
I loved book 1, it made it to the keepershelf (or maybe I was in a haze) and then these two were just so freakin' blah. They just didn't keep up like you said
I just finished Magic Study, which I rushed to get after Poison Study because I loved it so much. I hate to admit it, but I'm not in such a big hurry to get Fire Study. I pretty much agree with everything you said about it! Such a shame, PS was so very good!ReplyDelete
I have been meaning to read Fire Study for the longest time. Like you I loved Poison Study. I have good intentions, because I want to read more from Snyder, but it just hasn't happened yet.ReplyDelete
I didn't read any of the books in the series but I just picked up Inside Out at BEA because I heard so much good about Ms Snyder. I hope it's as good as I heard Poison Study to be.ReplyDelete
I had a hard time getting into PS b/c I'm not big on fantasy but had heard such good things about it. If I do try again, I won't move on to the next onesReplyDelete
I'm in the same boat as Heather. I read Poison Study and loved it. I then read Magic Study and liked it, but while I have Fire Study at home... I have no desire to read it. I should finish the series though...ReplyDelete
I've been hearing about Poison Study and was looking forward to reading it, but I'm disappointed that these didn't live up to book 1 - I hate when that happens!ReplyDelete
Often I find that the first book in series is just wonderful, only to discover that the consecutive books can't hold a candle to the first. It's kind of frustrating because as a reader, I want to know how the story ends, but the execution of the sequels leaves me so disappointed. This has happened to me so many times that I have lost count. I also find that the longer a series goes on, the further downhill the story lines go. I am so sorry that these books were a bit of a disappointment to you, but at least you were sort of prepared for that!! Very insightful and honest review. I appreciate that!ReplyDelete
I can see why Yelena would annoy you, Aarti. Too perfect characters are a problem, I agree. And someone who uses magic to solve all their problems, even the littlest of ones can't really grow as a person, I think.ReplyDelete
That's a great rule about reading series; I need to adopt something similar because I seem to have the First Book Sample down pat, often even buy the next one or two to try to force some focus, but then... oh, it always comes down to too many books nagging, doesn't it?! I haven't rushed to this series, but have picked it up and wondered about it many times.ReplyDelete
I also found the sequels to Poison Study to be a lot less enjoyable. I actually never even finished the third book.ReplyDelete
Agreed with everything you said here. I loved Poison Study so much, particularly because Yelena grows and has her expectations and ideas challenged; she has to work really hard for everything she does. I didn't get the same feeling from Magic Study at all, and haven't picked up Fire Study for more than a quick scan. Normally I wouldn't be happy leaving a story half-finished, but I can leave this one because I like Yelena after Poison Study.ReplyDelete
Further, there's something really creepy about a heroine who feels no compunctions into going into someone else's mind and changing things. That's just not *right*.
Sorry, I'm a little off-topic here, but I'm just laughing at your comment below that you love someone because she hates Nicholas Sparks!ReplyDelete
Authors make their talking animals speak in broken English? Ahem, excuse me a minute - WHY?!ReplyDelete
Sorry to hear the books weren't as good as you hoped.ReplyDelete
I wish you had liked these books better, but I am glad that you have finally read this trilogy.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed Poison Study and have pondered reading the next two, but have been continually warded off by the negative views I've heard. Part of me wants to know what happens to Yelena & company, but a larger part wants to keep my memory of that character and story unsullied by inferior story developments.ReplyDelete