Fire Study (Study #3)

fire study
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Category: YAFantasy
Pages: 441
Publication Date: March 1st, 2008

Fire Study. In which Yelena realizes that all those times in the last book that people said “Let’s think this through before we act” they may actually have had a point.

There was not a lot of focus in Yelena’s mind or in the plot for this book. The story opens almost directly after the end of Magic Study and Yelena heads off on a mission to track down Cahil and Ferde. As the book moves along this plot point is abandoned in favor of another, which is in turn soon abandoned in favor of yet another. Rinse and repeat.

By the end of the book Yelena is facing a magician known as the Fire Warper, who was never even mentioned in past books, but is apparently a big deal. The way that she ends up beating him in the end (sorry, spoilers?) is pretty original and actually is cool use of her powers as a Soul Finder. However, the lead-up to her defeating him was pretty anti-climatic and her supposed fear of him is kind of flat and unbelievable.

Also on the topic of unbelievable, nearly every characters seems to defer to Yelena when it comes to planning objectives even though she has not really shown any skill apart from “burst in and hope for the best.” This was especially confusing when it came to Valek. He’s a master assassin! He killed all sort of magicians, noblemen, royalty.The guy obviously knows how to make a plan and make it work. Yet he never really puts in his two cents when Yelena is talking.

This sucks because Valek is actually a really good character. It would be fantastic if Snyder would write a prequel book about his childhood and how he came to work for Commander Ambrose. This would honestly be a better book than Fire Study.

There were several things in this book that felt like total cop outs and made a limited amount of sense. Firstly, Yelena’s epiphany about why Valek is immune to magic (unless of course it is in Magic Study. There is still no reason that she was able to use some magic on him in that book). It was a total throw away at the end of the book like the author forgot that she hadn’t tied up that loose end so she threw it together in a few sentences.

Also was Valek’s whole reason for being in Sitia. This is minor spoiler-y so you might skip to the end of the paragraph but the entire plot point was just a device to get Valek with Yelena in the story and didn’t actually do anything with the plot. Commander Ambrose apparently sent Valek to Sitia to assassinate the Council. Valek shortly realized upon arriving at the Citadel that there is more going on than the Commander realizes and holds off on doing so. The question is why did the Commander want to assassinate anyone in Sitia in the first place? He has been trying to avoid war with them. If ever council member suddenly met and untimely demise, wouldn’t there be someone in Sitia kind of suspicious of their northern enemies?!?! Maybe just a little??

Dani’s 2¢

Yelena became much more of a typical YA heroine in Magic and Fire Study. I really wish that her knowledge of poisons that she gained in the first book was carried over into the sequels. There seems to be a huge disconnect between the two to the point that it is almost a different series with characters that share the same name. Valek is easily the best thing about this series for me and I hope that in the next series we get to see a lot more of him and not just in the vaguely supporting role he has played in the past two books.



Greg’s Thoughts

I really enjoyed both of the first two books of this series. If this is suppose to be a trilogy then I did not feel like this was a last book. The characters didn’t feel like they grew at all. The bad guys were super forgetful, and the plot snaked all over the place for me. Magic Study was a fun read and interesting, but here it doesn’t feel like Yelena has learned anything. This book kinda let me down on this series and I am not as excited anymore for the rest.



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