But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap in to a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening. And the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear.
With lives hanging in the balance - including her own - Opal must control powers she hadn't known she possessed...powers that might lead to disaster beyond anything she's ever known.
©2009 Maria V. Snyder; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
3 1/2 star. Usually a writer improves with each novel. Ms. Snyder appears to be doing the opposite. Her first book, the award winning Poison Study is superb and the best of all she's written. The other two Study books are entertaining and tie things together. Now Ms Snyder focuses on a character from the first series. The heroine is called a one trick magician and for now, it seems to be somewhat fitting in comparison to the multi-dimensional skills of her first heroine. There are far too many characters in this new series and is confusing for the thread seems to stop and another starts. It is to be hoped that future books weave threads together and provide a hero as in Poison Study. I had additional difficulty with the narrator. Usually quite good, she does not measure up in this book. I guess I was spoiled by Poison Study ... be sure to ready that series first.
I thoroughly enjoyed the previous series, and really looked forward to listening to this one. I was intrigued by the story and the author does a good job with making the story original (albeit a tad slow) while remaining grounded in the interesting world created in the previous series. The most significant negative is the narration.
The narrator isn't bad, she just has an impossible act to follow. Gabra Zackman took a good story and made it great, this lady takes a good story and leaves it more or less on the same level. Annoying things like the way she pronounces names and events from the previous series add to the disconnect between the series.
I loved the Study Series by this author and got used to hearing Gabra Zackman's voice and pronounciation of words. I can understand wanting to use a different voice for Opal than for Yelena, but this narrator's voice does not fit the character. Opal is supposed to be 20, but the narrator's voice is that of a much older woman. Her pronunciation of many of the words is really off too. If you're going to switch narrators, at least get some consistency in pronunciation. In additon to that, the voices used for characters from the Study Series was totally different, which also really threw me. They really should bring Gabra Zackman back as narrator for any future books.
As for the book itself, it was okay. I think that the lack of self confidence in Opal was a little too drawn out. I would have liked to see her gain in self confidence sooner as it grew very tiresome to listen to her constant self doubt. So, while I mostly enjoyed the story, I think Opal is too weak to carry the story as the main character. The romance part of the book was a real let down and should have been left out as underdeveloped as it was. This book was a real disappointment after the Study Series.
After having read the previous series of novels (Poison Study, Magic Study and Fire Study), I looked forward to the latest offering from this writer. Unfortunately, the offering fell short of its potential. This novel read like the poor relation to Poison Study; the author tries too hard to elicit sympathy for a character that lacks real depth. And as for the romantic angle, it read like the equivalent of a quickie. With the potential of a wonderful story, the novel came across like a prettily wrapped box with no gift.
If you're going to have a different narrator for a series set in the same universe, at least coordinate the word pronunciations!! I had trouble, coming from the Study books, figuring out what a few things were when pronounced--I have never actually seen the words written since I listened to the Study books as well, so it was very distracting. And the way that the narrator mispronounces "sai," the Okinawan weapon, as "say". If there is going to be a mispronounciation, it shouldn't be with a "real" word. Also, there seems to be a section missing--suddenly Opal's dreams take a major part in the story, but I don't remember hearing about them until what seems like the middle of a plot thread. It is right between the 2nd and 3rd sections of Part 2--it seems to jump and be disconnected. I am not sure if this is a book editing problem or an audiobook problem. The story is interesting enough to keep me going, though :-) Good light fantasy/mystery/romance.
Thus far I am enjoying the story, but the narration is distracting. The emphasis always seems to be at the wrong point in the sentence and the dialogue always has a tone quite different from what the text seems to imply. The narrator has a beautiful voice, and the tale so far is clever and unusual; it's only the inflection that interferes with my total enjoyment.
Born to read
I really like all of Ms Snyder's books- this one is good. I like the world that the story is placed in.
the New Narrator was fine - wished she had check out how to say the words and names from the other three books, it was disconcerting.
Looking forward to the next one
Despite everyone else talking about Narration, I am complaining about it too. I'd say they should have at least had her listen to a bit of the books done by Gabra to get a feel for what the listeners would expect.
Also, this is the same reader as Rachel Vincent's Werecat series, and is reading exactly the same.
Which leads to me asking myself what Faith is doing in Sitia, and it's just darned distracting.
It is nice to visit Ylena's world again, but it's not as good as it was the first time around.
As someone who had the release for this book on my calendar, I was so disappointed.
First off, the narration, while not terrible, was distracting and irritating. I had gotten so used to the voices that Gabra Zackman gave the characters in the Study Series that I was confused for a little bit as to who was talking. Also, her pronounciation was a constant problem and, at times, hard to follow. (If you listeded to the Study Series.)
I did like that the clans that up until this point we didn't know much about were given life and described at legnth. Especially the Storm Dance clan and their unique magic.
Opal seemed bound and determined to live in the past, repeat her mistakes and learn nothing. I genuinely hope that in the books to come that I can become more interested in her, as I did the previous heroine Yelena.
All in all, read the Study series first, and read this one realizing that while it continued the previous story line somewhat, it will probably let you down.
A previous reviewer already addressed the technical and reader issues with the book, so I won't re-hash that. While I enjoyed it and actually finished listening to it over two days (I've been laid off so I need something to keep my mind easily occupied while playing with my two year old.) what made this a three rather than a four star book for me was that, well it became tedious in parts, just going on and on, and on when I wanted it to get to the point. This is from someone who will only buy unabridged and greatly enjoys fantasy novels, which have a certain style that, if not edited well become, well, boring.
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