Rating: 4/5 stars
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Magic, Fiction
I have to admit, I’m enjoy the read through of this series just as much as I have in the past. This world’s characters and magic system still fascinates me, even though I mostly know what’s coming next – at least in relation to the major plot points.
Getting to see more of the world is always enjoyable and Snyder does this in a way that feels so natural. At the start of the book Yelena is travelling through a new country – Sitia – and so we get to experience the world through the eyes of someone seeing it for the first time. It makes the over explanation of the scenery make sense – something a lot of books have a problem doing.
Of course, the introduction of new types of magic opens up the world even further. It’s great to see the jungle and the plains, but getting to experience how different magics work is always more enjoyable for me. Thankfully, there was lots of magic to experience in this book – both good and bad.
I find the magic in this world is extremely complex. While we got a small taste of this in Poison Study, it’s nothing compared to what the reader gets introduced to in Magic Study. Of course, magic ruled Sitia whereas it’s been outlawed in Ixia since the takeover.
If you’re interested in complex magic systems in the books you read, I’d highly recommend giving this series a shot. Snyder is one of my favourite authors when it comes to building the magic of her worlds.
While I enjoyed learning the fact that Yelena is a soul finder, I know that we’ve barely touched the surface of what her powers can do. Since they’re so rare and the last soul finder was so feared, there isn’t much that Yelena knows about her powers other than what she’s done with them herself. It was cool finding out that her soul finder abilities was what helped her find the Commander back in Poison Study and again with Tula in Magic Study. Her soul finder abilities was what allowed her to connect with people so easily the first time without the aid of Theobroma. Heck, they were even responsible for her seeing Reyad everywhere – she’d accidentally collected his soul when she killed him.
Thankfully, Yelena was able to use her powers to stop Ferde – with Valek’s magical immunity’s help, of course – right at the end. If she wasn’t a soul finder, there’s no way that Yelena would’ve had the power to stop him – especially not since she’d made it into the room right as he’d killed his twelfth, and final, victim.
Yelena also couldn’t have done this all without the help of her brother, Lief, and their story weaver, Moon Man. If Moon Man hadn’t have gotten their stories untied – and shown Yelena the truth of the past and how Lief would have suffered if he’d tried to stop Mogkan from abducting her – she wouldn’t have been able to defeat Ferde. You can’t always run from your past, but you can embrace it and let it make you a better, stronger person.
Lief’s magic was pretty cool, too. Being able to sense a person’s past – like the blood he claimed Yelena reeked of – could be a really useful tool to have. It’s cool that the Zaltana clan’s magic always takes on a unique form. Though, it must be awkward trying to go about your own business and not being able to stop yourself from sensing a person’s darkness. You’d almost have to become the world’s biggest pessimist.
Moving along from the magical aspect of this book, the relationships within it themselves were extremely complex and convoluted. You get Valek sneaking into Ixia to protect the delegation and to see Yelena, Lief hating Yelena and not trusting her even though he was searching for her for fourteen years, Rose hating Yelena straight from the get-go and basically brain raping her, Irys not trusting Yelena and leaving her alone while she goes to face Ferde and end things, Cahil doing so many 180s about people that it made my brain hurt… the list goes on. You really have to read the story carefully in order to be able to follow how people feel about everyone else at any given time.
Speaking of relationships, I think it was pretty cool of Snyder to place Mogkan’s sister in this story. While not the main villain of the novel, she certainly causes Yelena some problems and wrecks the council’s investigations into Ferde by giving them false information. It was also a great way to prove that the pockets in the source of magic actually exist and the story weavers are strong enough to be able to manipulate them – well, the threads around them, at least.
Having grown up in a land where every citizen is given the basics in order to survive, or at least not remembering a time before this, it must have been hard for Yelena to experience beggars for the first time. I can’t imagine the shock of having to see people beg to survive for the first time. Of course, Yelena isn’t the kind of person to just sit by and watch people suffer when she can do something about it – even if everyone around her tells her to just ignore them.
Fisk shows how great of a businessman he’s going to be one day through his ability to organize his network of beggars and make them legitimate business men. By showing the boys they could earn some coin by helping out at the market – and even more if they do so while bathed – Yelena showed them how to improve the lives of them and their families. When she let the group know about an opening as a gardener, Yelena was opening the way for the beggars to rejoin conventional society and make a steady wage should they so choose. And, of course, Fisk and his crew made it possible for Yelena to even sneak up on Ferde.
Very briefly, I just want to touch on the fact that Rose is a… not nice lady. I’m sorry, but she’s worse than a jerk. Forcing her way into peoples minds? Destroying these minds as she goes through them? I’m glad that Yelena was able to find a way into her mind through her heart and soul, because she needed to be shown that she’s not infallible and her judgement is very skewed.
I can see why Rose chose Lief to be her only student based on the way he was at the start of this book. Being so filled with hate and guilt, it makes sense that Rose was drawn to the boy. Since they’re both able to help force criminals to pay for their actions, can tell a person’s guilt and bring justice to those who deserve it, they almost seem like a perfect match. Except, of course, for the fact that Lief does things in order to help everyone he can whereas I think Rose just like to punish people.
In order to leave this off on a happy note, I just have to say how much I love Kiki. As a Sanseed horse, she’s considered difficult to train but her mental connection to Yelena allows the two to become best friends. It allowed them to sense when the other needs help, to ensure that the other is taken care of no matter what. Also a benefit of being a Sanseed horse, Kiki is able to use her gust of wind gait which allows her to travel ridiculously fast. I can only imagine how freeing being on a horse like this would be.
As this isn’t my first read through of the series, I remember the biggest plot points and thus am not surprised by a lot of the twists and turns within its pages. This doesn’t stop me from enjoying the read, though.
Is this your first read through of the series? Did you read this book a while ago, or have you reread the series or this book recently? I’d love to hear about your experience in this world.
Other reviews in the series:
- Poison Study (Book 1)