Tuesday

Study Series by Maria V Snyder

#49-51 of 200
From condemned prisoner to food taster for the Commander of Ixia, from apprentice to a charismatic assassin to warrior with ever-evolving magical powers, Yelena is a remarkable heroine like none you've ever experienced. Follow her amazing journey through Maria V. Snyder'sbreathtaking fantasy series. Bundle includes Poison Study, Magic Studyand Fire Study, and also includes as a special bonus, the online read written exclusively for eHarlequin.com, Assassin Study!
In her stunning YA series, beginning with Poison Study, Maria V Snyder has created a magical world to envy. Her trilogy, also containing, Fire Study and Magic Study follows the adventures of Yelena and her friends as they repeatedly save their homes from danger.

The trilogy begins with Yelena being presented to Valek, the Commander's head of security, after a year of imprisonment for murder. She is given a choice: immediate death by noose or eventual death as the commander's food taster. Yelena chooses life...or as close to it as she can get with a daily dose of the Butterfly Dust poison.

Yelena discovers more about herself than she thought possible and learns that accepting yourself is the first step towards happiness. The plot thickens when the Commander's life is threatened and eventually all of Ixia is in danger and in need of Yelena's unique magical powers.

A fantastic set of companions join her quest; the brusque but passionate Valek, joker Janco and protective Ari, and eventually her lost brother Leaf will help Yelena save their world. Synder's characters are enticing. They have a great balance of fun, sarcastic and serious - the kind of friend we all want. Valek and Janco are my particular favourites, fun in their own ways and they encourage you to keep turning the pages.

Yelena is a great protagonist. She is given a solid history and a reason for her journey through the trilogy. She conveys a sense of confined freedom that consistently has the reader empathising with her plight. Though annoyingly repetitive at times, her paranoia about her unique, and dangerous, brand of magic is easy to understand. She controls soul magic; magic that allows her to see into and potentially control souls.

The romance between Yelena and her partner (I am trying to avoid spoilers!) doesn't get a lot of page time. It seems paltry in comparison to the plot but it is a sweet and necessary aspect of the narrative. Without giving too much away, the romance, though sudden, is perfect.

Soul magic aside, another interesting magical outlet in the Study Series is the addictive use of blood magic to leech off and control others. Gruesome but intriguing. I love new ways of looking at magic!

The series is a great fantasy read for young adults that just keeps going. Snyder has written two free short stories (available on her website): Assassin Study and Power Study that fit in between the novels.

#49 Fire Study
Original Language: English
Publisher: Harlequin - Luna
Country: Canada
Publication Date: October 1, 2005
ISBN: 0778327116
Page Count: 409
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 . . .
Raiding Bookshelves Rating


#50 Magic Study
Original Language: English
Publisher: Harlequin - Luna
Country: Canada
Publication Date: 2006
ISBN: 0373802498
Page Count: 400
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.
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#51 Fire Study
Original Language: English
Publisher: Harlequin - Mira
Country: Canada
Publication Date: March 1, 2008
ISBN: 0778325342
Page Count: 441
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.
Raiding Bookshelves Rating

Judging by the cover: There are too many covers for the trilogy to choose from! I think I like the ones with a black cover and brightly coloured vapours suiting the topic. I do like how each of the covers, displayed above, match but each has an identifying colour. I'm a sucker for colour coordinated covers.

Note: I'm going to begin reviews a series I read together as one post because I'm so far behind. It will help me catch up and lessen future demand. Sometimes my opinions are similar (if not the same) for each book in a trilogy/series and I just add a note about plot progression. 


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