Titles: Magic Study and Fire Study
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: YA Fiction
Publication Dates: 2006 and 2008
Maria V. Snyder is one of my new favorite authors; I got more than a little obsessed with Poison Study, and my resolve not to buy any more ebooks lasted approximately one week. My customary rock-solid resistance crumbled in the face of learning what happens to Yelena and Valek.
In case you haven’t experienced the joy of Maria V. Snyder’s Study series, allow me to fill you in:
Nineteen year-old Yelena is about to be executed for the murder of a General’s son. But in the land of Ixia, doomed criminals are given a choice: face their execution, or become Commander Ambrose’s food taster. Poison Study follows Yelena’s training as a poison taster, as well as her journey from pariah to…well, a different kind of pariah.
Magic Study picks up where its predecessor left off, with Yelena returning to her native land of Sitia to meet her family and learn to control her powers. But when an evil magician begins kidnapping young girls and using ancient “blood magic” to amass power, it is up to Yelena to discover his whereabouts and defeat him — with the help of some new friends.
Most recent in the series is Fire Study. Yelena is finally beginning to learn more about magic, but the more she learns, the more she begins to fear that her abilities are cause for concern. She can see ghosts and speak to them, and soon whispers of “Soulstealer” begin to follow her wherever she goes. Old enemies return, new enemies and surprising allies appear, and Yelena must survive the biggest test of all.
This series is definitely topping my favorite reads of the year so far. I love fantasy, action, romance, and mystery, and it’s great when an author combines them all into one story.
The Study series is often marketed as a YA novel, despite its actual classification as “Fantasy.” While some of the themes are similar to YA (a somehow “special” female protagonist, an “unexpected” love interest, and that creepy sexual possession thing I’ve complained about before), I wouldn’t consider any of the books in the series to actually be Young Adult.
That said, I’d much rather that my (hypothetical) teenage daughter read this series than most of the other junk that’s marketed to teens these days. Yelena starts as a strong character, and only becomes stronger. Her relationship with Valek is mature and loving, and an important part of the story, but I never felt that the love story overtook the main plot.
The short and sweet of it
If you haven’t read Snyder’s Study series, you should. You’ll thank me later!