• Page Count: 392
  • Release Date: October 1, 2006
  • My Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:


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…

My Thoughts:

I’m kind of conflicted on my rating because I DO love this world and the characters. But the writing is a bit dry and the plot felt kind of recycled here… like once again there is a magician raping & killing young women. And that’s just not particularly something I want to read about in the first place.

Yelena returns to her childhood home after dropping off the rest of the missing girls from the first book. She spends a few chapters trying to become reacquainted with her family. Her brother last saw her when she was 6, but still says

“My sister would be reveling in her freedom, and wrapped with hatred for her captors. You have lost your soul to the north. You are not my sister. It would have been better if you had died than returned to us tainted.”

Meanwhile someone is systematically abducting, raping/torturing, and killing 15-16 year old unmarried girls. Yelena spends a lot of the story training and/or trying to find the killer. While training, she learns she’s able to control other people’s bodies, read minds (and communicate with her horse, which was odd), and might even be powerful enough to wake the dead. So there was a hint of super special snowflake magic and a love triangle with a royal guy, but the plot didn’t rely on any of that too heavily.

I was excited when Ari, Janco, and Valek finally showed up again in the last 1/3, but then Valek didn’t do much except sleep with Yelena. The last part of the book sort of fell apart as it went through the same sort of situations that filled the rest of the story… Yelena escaped more terrible scenarios yet again. The end.

The events were intense and there was potential for an engaging, fast-paced plot! But the writing stayed pretty dull the whole way through no matter what was happening. I’ll still read the sequel because I like this world, but hopefully it’s more interesting and there’s some other conflict besides all of the repeated violence against women.


4 comments on “Review: Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder”

  1. Hmm, I’ve been curious about this for a long time but I didn’t realize the plot was centered on that. It sounds like something I wouldn’t like very much. But wonderful review! Yours are always so clear and informative!

    • Yeah it just got to be really unpleasant… I’m hoping her future books are a bit different!

  2. My daughter read this one and it wasn’t what she was expecting, she didn’t really dislike it but she didn’t really like it either. That happens though. She is currently reading Sara Pascoe’s Being A Witch and Other Things I Didn’t Ask For which she loves. That’s more the style I wish Snyder’s book was.

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