Review : Poison Study, Magic Study, Fire Study

Poison Study;  by Maria V. Snyder
Genre : Fantasy
Series : Study series : Book 1
My Rating :

Magic Study;  by Maria V. Snyder
Genre : Fantasy
Series : Study series : Book 2
My Rating : 

Fire Study;  by Maria V. Snyder
Genre : Fantasy
Series : Study series : Book 3
My Rating : 

Sentenced to death, Yelena will seize any opportunity to stay alive; so when she is offered the position of  food tester for the Commander, she immediately accepts. It’s an offer that comes with a twist; to ensure that she doesn’t try to escape, she will be poisoned, and given daily her dose of antidote -which she would die without. But danger might come from unsuspected sources, and as Yelena steps into what she believes to be a temporary situation, her true story is revealed and her life is forever changed.

The Man of the House and I first read Poison Study when it came out in 2007, and we loved it. I thought the setting, the characters, the plot, everything was great and just different enough to be refreshing when compared to the traditional fantasy I was devouring at the time. So when the following books came out, we added them to our shelves. It took me a while to get to them though, so last year I finally reread Poison Study and followed with the next two books.

I was happy to discover that I still loved Poison Study, even after a second reading. I loved Yelena, found her story intriguing, and felt her relationship with Valek was paced perfectly through the pages. It was a great mix of mystery, romance and worldbuilding, without stepping into the overfantastical-fantasy type of fiction (you know, the kind with magic and elves and mythical creatures and wars and demons, etc). I did feel that some part of the plot was a tad too obvious, but the ending itself had a few surprises.

Sadly, the amazement I had felt in the first book evaporated as I started reading Magic Study. What had been an original setting became a more traditional one of fantasy, with magic school and all that. Yelena was still a nice character and I loved the part that was about her reuniting with her family, but the plot itself was less surprising. Also, not enough Valek.

Which is a trend that continued in Fire Study. At that point, I had a very hard time reading. I will be honest and say I was bored. Had it been the first of a series, I would probably have given up, but after spending so much time with Yelena, I wanted to know where this led. Again, I missed Valek, and despite the action, there wasn’t enough to keep my interest. Plus, I found that Yelena hadn’t developed as a character. To me, her voice was more adult in the first book. It might have been that I wasn’t paying attention enough though.

A side note about age : I was very surprised to see this book being shelved as YA on Goodreads! Here, the books are sold in the regular fantasy section, not with the YA literature, and I have always thought of them this way. It doesn’t really matter really, but I thought it was funny; adult YA readers often argue that good YA doesn’t have an age, and this seems to prove that. I personally think the characters are a bit too old to be considered YA (Yelena is 21, and I imagine Valek is older? I guess?), but honestly, I don’t think the tags matters much. If you want to read it, read it! 🙂

So, I’m not sure what happened between book one and three, but I didn’t like it. I would not hesitate to recommend Poison Study to readers, but I would advise to lower your expectations before getting to the following books. Hopefully, you will enjoy them more than I did, and will be able to appreciate the complete series.

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8 responses to “Review : Poison Study, Magic Study, Fire Study”

  1. Venom says :

    Good review 🙂 now you make me want to read “Poison Study” !!

  2. rubymanuela says :

    I just came across your blog and I really like it so far! For a long time, I’ve been hating reading books, but I started with Harry Potter (in Dutch) and now I can’t stop reading! I’m currently reading The Hunger Games, and it’s amazing! You just inspired me to buy and read more books, followed you on Bloglovin, thankyou (:

    • kay says :

      Thank you for your kind words! Harry Potter and The Hunger Games are two of my favorite series! I am glad to hear you read and enjoy them both, and there are so many more series that you could love, for sure. Feel free to poke around my blog and previous reviews if you ever need inspiration 🙂

  3. christina says :

    I actually loved the whole trilogy…and it was sold to me as young adult and only this past couple of months (year?) that I saw it listed as just plain fantasy. Anyways, I adored the series. Valek was a mucho hottie and let me tell you, I was thrilled that our girly-protagonist was full of energy and independence. (I probably appreciated this more since I walked into the trilogy thinking it as a YA which are usually filled with dopey-eyed pining girlas and love triangles).

    • kay says :

      I loved Valek – mucho hottie, I agree! And I also agree with Yelena being independent (maybe that’s another reason why I didn’t feel the series were YA?) I just really wished we would have seen more of Valek, not necessarily as a hero but simply as a secondary character.
      I’m happy to hear you loved the whole series though; I know many readers did! A strong point for me was that even though I didn’t enjoy the last part of the story much, I still appreciated Snyder’s writing and her main character, so I’ll definitely continue reading her books. Have you read her YA books (Inside Out and Outside In)?

  4. Kay (Dead Book Darling) says :

    I completely agree with you on this series – I flat out ADORED Poison Study, but by the time I got to Fire Study I was ready to give up. Yelena’s voice just felt so flat and Valek, whenever he did appear, seemed… different. *sigh* It’s really rather sad!

  5. dsuzuki says :

    Interesting to see the downward trend. I read her other fantasy books first and loved them. Everyone raved about the Study series so I finally picked up Poison Study this year and loved it. I didn’t enjoy Magic Study as much so I’ve been pushing off reading Fire Study. Looks like there is no real rush to now 🙂

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