PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE STUDY SERIES AS FIRE STUDY IS THE THIRD BOOK IN THE SERIES.
Title: Fire Study (Study #3)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: Sword and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Mira (29th February 2012)
THE APPRENTICESHIP IS OVER
NOW THE REAL TEST HAS BEGUN
When word that Yelena is a Soulfinder – able to capture and release souls – spreads like wildfire, people grow uneasy. Already Yelena’s unusual abilities and past have set her apart. As the Council debates Yelena’s fate, she receives a disturbing message: a plot is rising against her homeland, led by a murderous sorcerer she has defeated before.
Honour sets Yelena on a path that will test the limits of her skills, and the hope of reuniting with her beloved spurs her onward. Her journey is fraught with allies and enemies. Yelena will have but one chance to prove herself – and save the land she holds dear.
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Fire Study is the third book in the Study Series, and in it we see Yelena finally come to terms with what she is and what that means for her. Like the previous two books in the series, Fire Study is packed with intrigue and adventure. Once started I found it hard to put the book down.
As I am sure I have mentioned in my reviews of both Poison Study (review) and Magic Study (review), Yelena is one of my favourite characters in the sword and sorcery genre – although to be honest, in Fire Study she relies a little too much on magic for my tastes, but then it’s kind of to be expected. Yelena is a strong, determined, and moral (in her own way) character and Snyder continues to build upon this in Fire Study. She has come along way from the character we first met in Poison Study.
The plot of the book is an interesting and twisty romp – both things I enjoy. On the surface everything seems so simple, in part because of the set-up from the previous books, but the reality isn’t quite so simple at all. Yelena finds herself in yet another precarious position in Fire Study, and whilst this isn’t unique Snyder does a good job at keeping the tension – at making you wonder who is friend who is foe, and if you can trust certain characters. She also discovers a few interesting secrets in this book (one of which results in a spin-off series I believe) that have some intriguing implications that I hope are explored in future books (if there are any).
Whilst I was really glad to continue Yelena’s adventures, I also liked re-uniting with secondary characters. It was interesting to see how Yelena’s relationship with her brother Leif had and hadn’t changed. I also enjoyed the appearance of Janco and Ari, and the way things had changed between her and both Cahil and the Commander. Valek of course make an appearance, which I thought was awesome (he’s probably one of my favourite characters in the book).
If you are a fan of sword and sorcery fantasy then you should definitely check out the Study Series. If you’ve read and enjoyed both Poison Study and Magic Study then you should totally read this book because it builds on them. Hopefully (according to Goodreads at least) there are more books in the series to come from 2014, but we shall see…