This review will inevitably contain some spoilers for Book 1: Poison Study.
Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
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....
I really enjoyed Poison Study, the first book in this series, so I was looking forward to reading this one. I had set pretty high standards, and hoped that this book would hold my attention like its predecessor had. Well, I'm happy to say that it did. This story felt new and refreshing, while maintaining the likability of the characters (well, at least SOME of them). There are new villains, and the reader gets to experience Yelena's new life in the south, a life which is extremely different from the one she had in Ixia.
I liked the new family dynamic. It was nice to see Yelena show a softer side, even though she seemed to perceive it as "going soft". Similar to the first book, there are some scenes involving sexual/physical assault. They're certainly not easy to read, but that doesn't mean the book should be passed by. These scenes/memories allow readers to understand Yelena better as a character. We are forced to relive her worst memories, and watch as she grows and overcomes them.
I was glad to see the return of a few of my favorite characters (the flawed Valek, and of course, Ari and Janco). They didn't appear until the second half of the book, so I'm hoping they'll play a larger role in Book 3, Fire Study. Overall, this book was a great sequel, and I can't wait to read more.
By Maria V. Snyder
Published by Luna