Monday, October 10, 2011

Magic Study - Maria Snyder

Wow, I'm really in a Snyder phase at the moment, haha. But I figured I'd finish the Study series before I move on, and I'm trying this whole review every book I touch before I touch another one kind of thing, so here we are. I'll probably end up doing Fire Study at some point soon, too, haha. That being said, onto the review!

Magic Study is, as you may have figured out, the second in the Study series by Maria Snyder, and the sequel to Poison Study. If you haven't read Poison Study yet, you might want to skip past this review until you're done, because I'm probably going to ruin it for you otherwise.

Magic Study continues Yelena's story after she's forced to leave Ixia for being a magician. After leaving behind everything and everyone she knows and loves, Yelena heads into Sitia with Irys and the other children from her orphanage, all of whom are believed to have been originally kidnapped from Sitia's magic families. Yelena meets her family, finds out she has parents, a brother, cousins, and more family in general than she can remember the names of, and goes on to study her magic. But having grown up in Ixia, Yelena's ways clash up against many of the Sitian customs, and seems to gain more enemies each day she remains in Sitia. And to make things worse, she comes to travel and study with a young main who claims to be the rightful prince of Ixia, and who is involved in a plot to get himself back on the throne.

I can't decide how I feel about this book. On one hand, I really wanted something more like Poison Study, and this book kind of takes Yelena's story in a completely different direction. On the other, I kind of like the new direction, too. Poison Study had more of a theme of rebellion, which I loved. I loved the idea of Ixia's command, I loved the setting, I loved the people, I loved Yelena getting stronger, and the love building, and I just loved it.

Magic Study is less about Yelena growing and rebelling and her relationships, and more about traveling, trying to prove that she isn't a spy every 5 minutes, and exploring her magic. Well, that last one makes sense, given the title, but still. Without being in Ixia, there's no real rebellion to be had, the setting changes frequently, with none of them as likeable to me as the Ixia castle was, and, while many of the characters from the first book are present, the relationships are already built with them, so it just isn't the same. There are new characters, obviously, but few of them are very likeable, since this book kind of revolves around Yelena's enemies and clashes in the new culture. That isn't to say there isn't good relationship building, so much as it's just different.

Just because the stories are different doesn't mean this one isn't good, of course. There are a lot of new aspects to Magic Study that I like. Yelena explores her magic, which leads to some pretty awesome developments, not to mention her family and the school. I won't say too much, to keep from spoiling this story for you, but I thought it was still an excellent book. But personal preferences in mind, Poison Study was spectacular, whereas Magic Study is just good.

If you liked Poison Study, then you should obviously check out Magic Study. They're not the same, but if you liked Poison, then you probably want to follow Yelena, haha. And if you like Tamora Pierce, I'd once again recommend both Magic and Poison, because they're definitely in the same place, I think, as far as genre and such.

Check back, and I'll probably have a review up for Fire Study soon, the next book in the Study series.

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