Book Review: Fire Study by Maria V Snyder

Book Review: Fire Study by Maria V SnyderFire Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study #3
Published by Mira Books
Published on 1st March 2011
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 441
Format: Paperback
Source: my home library
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4 Stars

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.


Everyone wants to kill Yelena, and she’s hunted some kind of fire demon from hell whilst trying to bring peace to both Sitia and Ixia and finding her true calling as a Soulfinder.


I’m not sure what more there is to say of worldbuilding that spans the entire series, but I can say that a map would have been MIGHTILY HANDY in this book as Yelena seems to travel all over the world. Due to that, sometimes the pacing seemed a little off as she travelled large distances. Another thing I’d like to know is the limit to this magical power, because to me it just seems that Yelena is getting more and more powerful, and what’s her limit? Is she all-powerful? Is she the most powerful magician in Sitia? She can do so much, and magic seems to have no limits.


I’ve spoken before about how much I love Yelena, and in this book she comes into her own as the Soulfinder, and although I’m still cool on her romance with Valek, I do have to mention some other characters. Kiki the horse is totally adorable, and I wish I could speak to animals, too. Lief was pretty awesome in this book, and I like him more when he’s friends with Yelena. I also really liked Moon Man and his constant cryptic guidance. On the downside, I felt like this book focused a lot more on plot than character development. I felt kind of at arms’ length a lot of the time and I didn’t feel much of a connection with anyone besides the damn horse.


OK, there was this one point where Yelena thought Valek had died, and she seemed to have a really weird grieving process. I understand that she had other priorities and not everyone can fall into a depressive coma for several months and then jump of a cliff to make themselves feel better, but I just totally didn’t buy it. Apart from the fact that I never bought Valek’s supposed death, anyway. It almost felt like the whole thing was written in a rush, because priorities.


Fire Study was a complicated novel with a convoluted plot and basically everyone turned out to be a bad guy who wanted to kill Yelena for some reason or other. There’s never a quiet moment when Yelena’s around. It felt like the novel was written quickly with a focus on dialogue and action that therefore lacked a closer look at character development. I can’t help but be a little disappointed, but that’s only because I’m so used to 5 starring Snyder’s work. One thing I can praise is the ending: I felt it wrapped up all the existing conflicts neatly and I was perfectly happy to let Yelena continue her adventures without me.


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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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Fire Study by Maria V Snyder

  1. Sara L.

    Yeah, Fire Study is kind of a hot mess. *lol* I liked it for the most part, too, but some of the issues I had were different from the ones you listed. I thought Fire Study was the most poorly written of the trilogy, and was super-annoyed with how Yelena treated Moon Man. I understood why she was annoyed, but after a while I wanted to yell at her, “Can you stop for a moment and really LISTEN to him?”

    One thing I did like about Fire Study was how it showed Yelena at her worst, and then she’s literally singed by clarity so she comes around and redeems herself at the end. I also liked how there was tension once again in her relationship with Valek. There was virtually none in Magic Study, so I was pleased that they argued this time around.

    Pssst, are you still interested in the Shadow Study giveaway?

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