Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Magic Study by Maria Snyder

Good book, fairly quick read. Yelena was kidnapped as a child from her home in Sitia and grew up in Ixia. (Note: I wish the author had given the countries names less easy to confuse.) In Snyder's previous book Poison Study, Yelena escaped death to become a poison taster and find a place for herself in Ixia. Here, she returns to Sitia to gain control of her newly discovered magical powers, under sentence of death if she doesn't succeed. (Certainly one way of getting her to focus on her studies.)

One of the things I liked about Poison Study was the political system - the semi-benevolent, if rather twisted, military dictatorship was an interesting change from the conventional fantasy monarchy or vague ruling by some sort of council arrangement. Sitia falls under the "vague council" governing category.

The main story arc involved catching a serial killer, and the main theme was Yelena coming to terms with her roots in Sitia. She spent remarkably little time on magic study, especially given the threat of death, which seemed to have been forgotten about by book's end.

Overall, an engrossing read, but a bit too much plot. I didn't get that feeling from the previous, although it was also action-filled.

I'd have liked to spend more time with Yelena's brother.

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