Friday, October 8, 2010

Study Series = A Fantastic Adventure!

Title: Study Series
Books: Poison Study, Magic Study, Fire Study
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Adventure
Page Count: 416 - 448 Pages
Rating: 5/5

The Study Series:

I got Storm Glass and Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder (The covers grabbed my eye from the book section at Wal-Mart) but was waiting for Spy Glass to come out to start reading them. Some may think it strange but I do that all the time, I hate cliffhangers! I was so happy when NetGalley gave me the ARC for Spy Glass to review. Imagine my chagrin when I opened Storm Glass and found out it was a sequel series! Now with 60 days before the timeout on the ARC, I had to read all 6 books, not a big deal for full-time reviewers I suppose, or you crazy fast readers out there, but a huge YIKES! for me. I’m now in the middle of Sea Glass and am so happy for this little mistake because I really loved the Study Series and wouldn’t have found them if Opal hadn’t called to me from that bookshelf!

I’m going to split up the review for the 3 books and give quick sum-ups and reviews for each instead of clumping them together. So here we go…

Poison Study:

Book’s Description:

Choose: A quick death . . . or slow poison . . .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.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 . . .

My Review:

Yelena had her reasons for killing Reyed, but in the land of Ixia the penalty for killing is death, regardless. She is about to end her year-long stay in the dungeon with her hanging. That is until she is given the choice between execution and becoming the food taster for the Commander (ruler of Ixia). She takes her chances with this new dangerous job and has to live day to day wondering if the next meal would be her last.

The story was interesting enough with just the concept of Yelena’s battle for how and when she would die, but then interwoven was the aspect of the banned magicians and Yelena’s awakening to that magic. Great characters and world building made for a story that I got totally lost in (in a good way). As always I loved the twists in the story and was quite pleased with how it turned out.

A word of caution; this series has a lot of violence (especially toward women) and the graphic nature may be disturbing for younger teens or people with a sensitivity to reading about sexual and physical abuse. Obviously there is a reason for it and it’s paramount to the story but I know some people who would want to have a heads up.

My Rating: 5/5

Magic Study:

Book’s Description:

If you haven’t read Poison study yet there will be spoilers from here on out…
Yelena is a survivor.Kidnapped as a child, held prisoner as a teen, then released to act as a poison taster, she is now a student of magic.But these magic skills place her in imminent danger, and with an execution order on her head, she has no choice but to escape to Sitia, the land of her birth.But nothing in Sitia is familiar.Not the family to whom she is a stranger.Not the unsettling new facets of her powers.Not the brother who resents her return.As she struggles to understand where she belongs and how to control her powers, a rogue magician emerges -- and Yelena catches his eye.Suddenly she is embroiled in a situation not of her making.And once again it will be her magical abilities that will either save her life . . . or be her downfall.

My Review:

Now in the land of her birth, Yelena must learn to accept and learn to use her powers. With girls going missing and people making her out to be a spy, every minute counts. In this second book of the Study Series we get to see many different clans and their villages all over Sitia as Yelena tries to help track down the kidnapper.

This one kept me guessing even more than the first. It had a unique feel to it with more dominance being put on the magic aspect of Yelena’s training over the physical training in the first book. We get introduced to a whole new array of characters but of course the main characters from the first book make appearances along the way. Great read, I ate this one up!

My Rating: 5/5

Fire Study:

Book’s Description:

If you haven’t read Poison/Magic study yet there will be spoilers from here on out…
The apprenticeship is over— now the real test has begun.When word that Yelena is a Soulfinder—able to capture and release souls—spreads like wildfire, people grow uneasy.Already Yelena's unusual abilities and past have set her apart.As the Council debates Yelena's fate, she receives a disturbing message: a plot is rising against her homeland, led by a murderous sorcerer she has defeated before.…Honor sets Yelena on a path that will test the limits of her skills, and the hope of reuniting with her beloved spurs her onward.Her journey is fraught with allies, enemies, lovers and would-be assassins, each of questionable loyalty.Yelena will have but one chance to prove herself—and save the land she holds dear.

My Review:

Turns out there is something that Yelena is afraid to face...herself

Again, I loved this one. Maria had me hooked 'till the last word. Set mainly in Sitia Yelena tries to discover her own powers while battling a seemingly endless list of people who want her dead. She starts to wonder if the Commander was right to try and destroy magic all along. Now that she had grown to love both Sitia and Ixia, can Yelena choose between them in the war that is brewing? With lots of twists thrown in along the way I couldn't put it down.

This is the final book in the trilogy and it ends well enough that Maria could leave Yelena’s story or come back to it after the Glass Series (I just posted the review to Storm Glass, the 1st book in that series. I know I posted backwards oops!). Fantastic series! I’m so glad that I found it!

My Rating: 5/5

You'll like this series if you liked:

The Glass Series by Maria V. Snyder, The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, Graceling (The Seven Kingdoms Trilogy) by Kristin Cashore, or Eragon
by Christopher Paolini.

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