A brief overview of the plot of Magic Study is this: Yelena, the poison taster turned magician whom we met in Poison Study, leaves Ixia for Sitia, the country of her birth, to enter magical training and meet her long-lost family. Along the way, there are family tensions, new friends and enemies among the students and teachers at Yelena’s school, and sinister forces that may claim Yelena’s life, or that of one of her friends, if Yelena can’t thwart them. It’s a fast-paced and exciting plot, and I stand by my earlier assertion that Maria Snyder can tell an interesting story.
What isn’t so interesting anymore is Yelena. There were hints of Mary Sue in her character in Poison Study, but here she blossoms into full Sue-itude. Yelena is not just a magician, she has staggering powers that are almost unheard of. Then, after the umpteenth person has commented on Yelena’s nearly-unprecedented powers, it seems a little disingenuous when she responds to “You’re very powerful” with something along the lines of, “Who, me?”
Another issue I had with Magic Study has to do with grammar and editing. I don’t know if this issue existed in Poison Study and I missed it because I liked the story better, or whether the success of Poison Study meant the author was given less editing, but there are a lot of unintentionally funny dangling participles in this novel.
I will read the third book in the series (Fire Study), but will almost certainly not buy it in hardback.
The Chronicles of Ixia (Soulfinders) — (2005-2017) Publisher: 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.