Review: Fire Study - Maria V. Snyder


Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder
My rating: {★★★★☆}

Young Adult Fantasy
first published March 1st 2008

Source: Borrowed
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.

At times the plot was frustrating and at times it had pacing issues, but in general it was a solid instalment in the Chronicles of Ixia and I was entertained throughout.

Fire Study is pretty action packed but does suffer again from being less tightly plotted than Poison Study and some of it even seemed circuitous and dare I say... repetitive. However the characters and their development saved this for me along with the wonderful world building and sheer scope of this fantasy series. There's some wonderful magic and some well written emerging technology and a great political arc that keep this series alive.

Also worth mentioning is how completely diverse Snyder has made her world and I love the depth in which she has developed not only the layout but also the culture.

I love Snyder's writing style - it's uncomplicated and concise and it's easy to become immersed in her books. There's also some things throughout the entire series that I love, and yet they are the very things in other series that have turned me off the series or pushed me to drop my ratings. There's something about the way Snyder weaves her story that just makes everything work.

The relationship between Yelena and Valek is fantastically done - well developed, mature and no insta-love or interfering love triangles or anything unnecessary really. Unbounding love, trust and the fact that they are true equals in everything - there are some definite relationship goals there.

The side characters are also fully developed and have their own arcs and never disappear into the background. I know and love all so many fictional people through this series.

Could this have been better? Definitely. As a series finale I know that Snyder did not produce her best work here. All in all though, this series is definitely worth trying - Poison Study was excellent and while books two and three are not quite as good it is definitely worthwhile. I must also mention that the continuation of the Study series beginning with Shadow Study is fantastic. ;)

There's a lot of adventure interspersed with humour all housed in an epic fantasy world.

“There's always another storm. It's the way the world works. Snowstorms, rainstorms, windstorms, sandstorms, and firestorms. Some are fierce and others are small. You have to deal with each one separately, but you need to keep an eye on whats brewing for tomorrow.”

Magic Study (Study #2) -- Shadow Study (Study #4/Soulfinders #1)→


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