book reviews by Althea

Magic Study – Maria V. Snyder ***

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Magic Study
Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was quite enthused by the first in this series, and got started on reading the second as soon as I finished it. Unfortunately, I feel like I was hit by a case of sequel-itis.
‘Magic Study’ was OK – but my enthusiasm fizzled out a bit.

The story as a whole felt more juvenile than the first book, and was much less tightly plotted. it’s more like, “OK, what will Yelena do next?” For most of the book, it’s just her wandering from one situation to another. As the title indicates, the focus here is Yelena trying to learn how to use her magic skills. That magic is banned in Ixia, so she travels to the south to be reunited with the family she hasn’t seen since she was six years old, and doesn’t remember at all. Obviously, this is not a recipe for instant happiness – and indeed, her mother’s got emotional issues and her brother is hostile and suspicious. People in both Ixia and the South suspect her of being a spy for the other side. And then, of course, there are the people who really do want her to spy for them.

Yelena must try to balance her divided loyalties while also pursuing the goals she has for herself…

It’s a quick read, and I’m not ruling out reading more in this series, but I’m also not rushing into them right away.

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