Rating: 3 stars
YOU KNOW YOUR LIFE IS BAD WHEN YOU MISS YOUR DAYS AS A POISON TASTER...
With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way to be reunited with the family she'd been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But though she has gained her freedom, she can't help feeling isolated in Sitia. Her Ixian background has changed her in many ways—and her newfound friends and relatives don't think it's for the better....
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 involved with 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 all her new enemies....
I'm a little disappointed because I didn't like Magic Study as much as I liked Poison Study! Yelena had been so much more likable in the first book! What happened to her? In Magic Study, it seemed like she was hell-bent on defying all the rules of the Master Magicians. The story seemed to be a perpetual cycle of Yelena wanting to help with a dangerous situation, being told the Master Magicians would take care of it, deciding disobey and go out on her own to take the situation into her own hands, almost get killed, repeat and repeat.
Here's what I did like:
Kiki. That's right. The horse. Yelena can't just hear humans' thoughts, she can communicate with animals, too. I liked Kiki because I like horses. That is all.
Irys. In Magic Study, Irys becomes Yelena's magical mentor. Good lord, I feel terrible for her. I lost count of how many times Yelena disobeyed or disappointed her with her self proclaimed 'rush into a situation and hope for the best' method. I admired Irys for her patience and her logic in understanding that all the old ways of Sitia are not always right.
Ari & Janco. The power twins and their witty humor will never get old! They definitely provided comic relief when I felt the tension of wanting to rip Yelena's head off!
What I didn't like:
Yelena. As I mentioned above, she was just so much more likable in Poison Study. Don't get me wrong, she is a strong heroine that can hold her own in a physical fight, but in Magic Study she still had much to learn about magic. I don't understand why she kept running off into danger to fight an obviously powerful magician. Why not trust Irys with your plans and take her with you?
The obsession with rape. I'm sorry, Maria V Snyder, but every single one of your villains wants to beat down, torture, and rape young women. Why is this necessary? It's sickening for a Young Adult book.
Leif. I wanted to like Yelena's brother. I thought there was some "aha moment" reveal that was going to explain his anger toward Yelena. Nope. That explanation didn't satisfy me at all. He's still a jerk.
Alea. What was her purpose? Big whoop, she was the sister of the villain in Poison Study. What else? Nothing. She stabbed Yelena in the gut, Valek came back and slit her throat. Ok..?
Cahil. He seemed like the Rand of Magic Study. You know, the boy that Yelena wants to be friends with, but the boy turns out to be a selfish jerk. The only difference is Cahil never redeemed himself. I'm pretty sure he's going to be the main villain in the next book. Ugh, annoying.
I still recommend Magic Study! I may not have loved it, but it was still entertaining!