Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder Book Review
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Given one year to master her abilities, Yelena travels to Ixia to reunite with her family and begin training. However, learning to be part of a loving family will be just as hard as wielding her magic. Especially when your own brother is convinced you're a Sitian spy. Plagued by her brother’s misguided actions, Yelena will also have to contend with an Ixian Prince determined to reclaim the Sitian throne. Surrounded on all sides by those she cannot trust, Yelena will have her hands full as she navigates political tensions and the inner workings of magic.
Readers will be fascinated as they travel Ixia with Yelena. Compared to the militaristic lifestyles of those in Sitia, everything in Ixia is bright and full of excitement. Experiencing the various cultures and lifestyles through Yelena’s eyes was wonderful. Being able to listen to her thoughts and see how she views everything differently adds to the overall world-building. Yelena also brings fresh eyes to situations and a difference of opinion that helps propel the story forward and influences characters to further develop.
Similar to book one, Magic Study also touches on recovering from trauma. Stolen from her home, Yelena and her family have much to process. Having endured years of abuse, Yelena will need to learn how to let her guard down and trust her family. It doesn't help that her brother Leif carries immense guilt for her kidnapping. Plagued by Yelena’s loss, Leif has allowed the guilt to fester over the years. His character is filled with anger and resentment, causing many confrontations with Yelena. But the two siblings will be forced to walk paths together and their complicated relationship will be sure to keep readers entertained.
But while Yelena’s family relationships are thought provoking and emotionally intense, Magic Study falls short once again with relationships involving attraction. One character, in particular, was built up to be harsh and mistrusting of Yelena. Convinced she was a spy, he had little regard for her well-being. Yet as the story progressed, he reached a sudden turning point where his mistrust flipped into attraction. While this could have been believable with enough time and interaction between the characters, it felt sudden and jarring.
Despite how some of the relationships didn't quite fit into the storyline, the plot itself is filled with action and will be sure to keep readers engaged. While there is much for Yelena to learn, several storylines will run parallel to this, forcing Yelena to unlock her magic in ways no one thought possible. There is a great mix of mystery and magical intrigue that are sure to keep fans of high fantasy entertained.
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