Yelena has arrived in Sitia and is immediately swept into family politics, magician politics, and a serial killer plot as she reconnects with her parents, learns to control her magic, and tries to keep the peace between the factions bristling for war.
I love Snyder’s world, although I did miss the order and regulation of Ixia. Ixia’s a military-run dictatorship, for lack of a better understanding, having overthrown the monarchy some years before. Sitia, in contrast, is like a wild jungle, and run by a Council advised by the powerful magicians. It was a blast getting to know Sitia, and through Snyder’s writing I really felt the onset of the seasons and the pull of the jungle and the plains.
Yelena, as always, was totally awesome. She’s headstrong and likes to take action, which goes against Sitian tradition. This caused plenty of conflict as she tried to solve all of the world’s problems while also managing hers and learning to control her magic. Valek showed up as and when he was needed, and sometimes when he wasn’t, which was a bit strange. Irys, of course, gets a starring role as Yelena’s mentor, and she has to overcome certain prejudices before she can recognise Yelena’s greatness. I really liked where Yelena ended up and was quite happy to follow her increasingly complex life as she strived to be the best she could be.
Like I said, Valek showed up as and when he was needed. It certainly didn’t feel like a romance book, and truth be told, I don’t think I actually ship them. Valek completely transforms around Yelena, and I like him when he’s a badass. The relationship does nothing to enhance the book and only served as a plot point for Valek’s rival for Yelena’s affections. Yelena also cultivated a deep relationship with Irys, which I liked, considering Irys tried to kill her once or twice, and attempted to slot back into her family, whom I did like – well except for the older brother, but seriously who likes their older brothers? Pains in the butt.
Was it similar to Poison Study? Not at all. I really missed Ixia, and I wasn’t prepared for the entire story to shift locations to the magic-friendly realm of Sitia. But Snyder is a master storyteller and her pacing is spot on. She knows how to enhance the conflict until you wonder how anyone’s going to solve any problems. I feel that Magic Study was a very worthy second novel, absent of any of that uaul ‘second novel syndrome’ filler stuff, and it contained an excellent journey for Yelena to embark on, and grow, and change as a character. I really look forward to her net set of adventures in Fire Study.