Amazing!! I couldn't stop listening to it. The reader was the best I've ever heard. She made it come more alive. You need to get this. Get the the other two books too. I just loved it. Yes, Valek is really, really good.
I loved this book and the reader is fantastic. The story line is new and refreshing. A story about a food taster who would have thought. The music was very fitting to the story as well. Those who enjoy this type of fantasy will have a hard time pausing this story.
This entire series has been an exercise in superb writing. I was put off at first my the fact that Harlequin was the publisher; romance usually isn't my thing. This book, while touching very gently on romance, is fantasy, through and through.
Masterful characterization, beautiful world development, consistent power leveling of the characters, just a marvelous piece of work. This installment is no different. I pray Ms. Snyder continues this trilogy past this, the third book, but all evidence indicates that Opal will be then new main character in a new trilogy.
Typically I read Epic Fantasy and sci-fi. I love Jordan, Martin, Pratchett, Stroud, and can honestly say that if you like fantasy, read this series.
I read all of the other reviews before deciding to finish the series. At first I thought they were wrong, but as the story continued I just lost interest. Too much going on, doesn't stay with the other two books enough and like many others said, it needed more of Valek. Yelena kind of gets on my nerves in this book. Half of the middle of the book should have been skipped, got right to the point of the last part and it would have been better.
I expected a lot from this series, since I enjoyed Poison Study so much. The first book had rounded characters, an intriguing plot, and great writing (sure, there were a few rough sentences here and there, but most books have that). I was excited to find out where the author was going to take these characters that I liked so much. The second book was okay, though the plot felt somewhat unnecessary, like the author was continuing just for the sake of continuing. By the time the third book came around, I lost interest. Not a lot happens in a lot of pages, the characters become very predictable, and they don't develop at all. Well written characters evolve over the course of three novels, and I felt like even Yelena, who has found everything she's been looking for, is still the same person she was in book 1.
Well, one character actually DEvolves, in my opinion. *SPOILER ALERT* The Commander was a fantastically written transgendered character, a woman who identifies as a man and is still one of the most powerful people in this book's universe. The author, for whatever reason, felt the need to invalidate that by claiming the Commander was only a girl at all because, when she was born, her mother's soul got trapped in her baby boy's body or some sort of nonsense along those lines, essentially saying the Commander was really two people to begin with. Why couldn't the Commander just be transgendered? Why feel the need to give it some sort of "explanation" that is almost insulting to the transgendered community? It felt as if the author was saying that people who don't identify with the gender they were assigned at birth must have had some sort of mishap to think that way.
Maybe it's unfair of me to base my negative opinion mostly on the destruction of an originally wonderful character, but I had so much respect for the author for daring to put a transgendered character in her novel at all. It's what made Poison Study so wonderful.
All in all, I was disappointed with Fire Study, and Magic Study to a lesser extent. It was lacking a lot in the way of development all around, character-wise, plot-wise, writing-wise, and I regret listening to the sequels to Poison Study. If I pretend it was a one-off book, with no continuation of the story, and I'll be able to enjoy the first book again.
I do have to say that the narrator was very consistent throughout the entire series, and I liked the way she did character voices. You could really tell who was talking. I gave the narration 4 stars because I cannot fault Gabra Zackman for the content of the book she read to me, and she did a fine job.
I liked this book, but wasn't to sure if there was a book pre-dating this one, it almost seems like there could have been, but I was unable to find it if there is, so it was a little hard to keep all the character in there place till mid story, narration was great, love how Gabra Zackman changed her voice for each character, made it so much easier to follow, the storyline was interesting, but not "WOW" great, but good. Was somewhat drawn out in parts, but picked back up.. All in all I liked it and was glad I purchased it.
I loved the whole series and felt lonely when it was over! Great story, good writing and the narration really pulls you into the story. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed.
I still enjoyed the first novel best of all, but this was a satisfying completion of the series.