Rating: 4.25/5 stars
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Magic, Fiction
Publication date: February 26, 2008
Magic made me lazy. And when I encountered a bad situation, I reached for it without thought.
(Yelena’s musings, Ch. 22).
Word that Yelena is a soulfinder is spreading like wildfire throughout Sitia and people are growing uneasy. Yelena’s past and her unusual abilities set her apart from other magicians, leaving the Council debating Yelena’s fate. When she receives the disturbing message that a murderous sorcerer she’s defeated before is plotting against her homeland, honour sets Yelena on a quest to stop him once and for all.
Without going into spoilers, I just have to share my love for Moon Man. No matter how cryptic he’s being or how much he’s frustrating Yelena, I absolutely adore this man. His sassiness speaks to me, along with his determination to do what’s right even when it’s not the easiest thing in the world.
Looking at the plot of this story, I think it was a great way to conclude this, the opening trilogy in the Chronicles of Ixia. Yelena has gone through a lot of growth; both as a person and as a magician. She’s learned what it takes to trust others and how to do what you believe in, even when it’s terrifying.
As with the first time I read this series, I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the world. It feels real, the necklace snakes a terrifying nightmare that could be a reality. The Avibian plains, a place filled with magic and mayhem, almost somewhere I’d like to get lost in.
Of course, things are even more difficult for Yelena and her friends in this book. One might think that facing the same villain for a second time would make them easier to beat, but that’s not accounting for all of the twists and turns Yelena and her friends find themselves dealing with this time around.
If you haven’t yet checked out Snyder’s work, I’d recommend it. So far I’ve read the six main books in the Poison Study series so far and am looking forward to completing the rest of the Chronicles of Ixia novels. I’ve grown to adore her writing and look forward to checking out her other books as well.
Like I said before, I absolutely adore Moon Man. He was constantly pushing Yelena to work harder and to accept herself and her magic. While she grew up in a country where magic was forbidden and then told that she possesses the scariest form of magic there is, Moon Man continued to try and lead her to the truth – about herself and the world around her. She wasn’t seeing the spirits of the world because she didn’t wish to. She thought herself a terrifying Soul Finder because that’s how everyone else reacted to her magic. But Moon Man worked throughout his life – and into his afterlife – to try and show Yelena that she shouldn’t be terrified of herself or the magic she’s been gifted with.
Moon Man didn’t deserve the death Rose gave him – in fact, I think he deserved to continue to live – but I can understand why Rose took him away from Yelena. Not only did it show Yelena that she’s on her own, it proved to Yelena that everyone she cared about was at risk and vulnerable. As well, I doubt that Moon Man would’ve enjoyed living knowing that his people were murdered by Rose and her cohort.
Getting back to Moon Man’s teachings to Yelena, I greatly enjoyed the way that Snyder presented Soul Finding magic throughout this trilogy. While the reader is learning about magic at the same time as Yelena, we’re told that being a Soul Finder isn’t always a good thing. Instead, the last Soul Finder to walk the earth was a terrifying person who raised an army of the dead to do his bidding. Finding out that this person was actually a Soul Stealer made Yelena’s magic that much more special.
Yelena was willing to give up her life to protect the living. Upon Moon Man’s death she went with his spirit to stop the Fire Warper for good. If it wasn’t for Opal’s magic, she would’ve stayed there forever. Thanks to Opal, she was able to imprison the Daviians and stop the blood magic for good. It also allowed her to come back to life to be with Valek and everyone else she loves.
By choosing to come back to life, Yelena was able to become the Soul Finder she was always meant to be. She was finally able to follow Moon Man’s teachings, to understand what – who – he’d been trying to get her to see the whole time. She realized that there were souls trapped on earth and it was up to her to return them to the sky – to the magic source covering the world, fixing its wrinkles and holes for future generations.
I never liked Rose – she was instantly unlikable in her mind rape of Yelena – so it was gratifying to see she ended up being the Big Bad. It’s understandable that Yelena freaked out when she thought she was abusing her powers like Rose did hers. It was a great wake up call for her, showing her the side effects of going to the dark side early enough to circumvent the further abuse of her powers.
I also adore that Valek snuck back into Sitia to assassinate the council based on what was going on during the Sitian delegation but decides to hold back because he knows how bad of an idea that would be at the moment. It allowed him to send Yelena to seek refuge in Ixia, to get her out of Rose’s warpath for at least a little while.
By seeking refuge in Ixia, Yelena was able to get the Commander to halt his attack of Sitia for the time being. It also allowed Lief to go head to head against the Commander in a verbal war about the pros and cons of magic. Great scene! While Yelena was mostly hiding in Ixia to save her own life and through fear of what her magic could do, it also allowed her to uncover a plot in which magic users were being smuggled to Sitia. It also allowed Valek to save the girls that were stolen from the smuggling ring, to save their lives and prove to Yelena that he wasn’t in the habit of executing people just because they showed magical potential.
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