Book Review: Magic Study by Maria V Snyder

Book Review: Magic Study by Maria V SnyderMagic Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study #2
Published by Mira Books
Published on 1st January 2006
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Girls & Women, Young Adult
Pages: 390
Format: Paperback
Source: my home library
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5 Stars


With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way to be reunited with the family she'd been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But though she has gained her freedom, she can't help feeling isolated in Sitia. Her Ixian background has changed her in many ways—and her newfound friends and relatives don't think it's for the better....

Despite the turmoil, she's eager to start her magic training—especially as she's been given one year to harness her power or be put to death. But her plans take a radical turn when she becomes involved with a plot to reclaim Ixia's throne for a lost prince—and gets entangled in powerful rivalries with her fellow magicians.

If that wasn't bad enough, it appears her brother would love to see her dead. Luckily, Yelena has some old friends to help her with all her new enemies....


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.


About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: Magic Study by Maria V Snyder

    1. Nemo

      You’re right,t here were a lot of antagonists. I found it refreshing and exciting, though, how much Yelena had to handle, and her stubbornness at trying ot handle it all herself.

      What world-building issues did you have? I still have a massive one about the Commander…

      1. Sara L.

        I have a problem with how Maria names her Sitian characters. Some of them have an exotic flavor that matches Sitia’s culture. Others don’t. It’s inconsistent, and it kind of bugs me. To me, character names that reflect a place’s culture or language are part of the world-building, even if it’s just a detail.

        There was something else, too, but right now I can’t remember what it is…

        1. Nemo

          Oh yes, I thought that was really strange, too! I think it’s related to clan names, but I don’t like miss-spelling common words as real names like Roze, Lief, Perl, anyway.

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