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Publisher's Summary

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....

Honor 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, enemies, lovers, and would-be assassins, each of questionable loyalty. Yelena will have but one chance to prove herself - and save the land she holds dear.

Don't miss Poison Study and Magic Study
©2008 Maria V. Snyder (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Maria Snyder has created an engaging and entirely original new fantasy, fascinating in its rich detail." (Mercedes Lackey)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • DKay
  • United States
  • 03-03-08

More please

I love Maria V Snyder's books. More please. This was fast paced and just as interesting as the last two, Poison Study and Magic Study. Lots of new details too.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Another great Study book!

If you loved Poison Study and Magic Study, you'll be happy to know Fire Study lives up to the first two! I inhaled this in two long sessions over the weekend. The characters I loved in the first books are still engrossing, their world is still fascinating, and Valek is still delectable.

This book is a little more like MS than PS, since it takes place mostly in Sitia. Yelena learns more about magic and her abilities while continuing to grow into herself. I don't want to give anything away-- but all my favourite characters were back (including ones I love to hate, like Roze).

I strongly recommend this series, especially if you like fantasy. If you liked the others, you'll like this one, too.

Did I mention Valek was still delectable? :)

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • 'Nathan
  • Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 03-03-10

Enjoyable Series

Yelena has had a rough couple of years. After murdering a torturer and being tossed in jail, she had to survive being chosen as a food taster in 'Poison Study,' (the first book), then she had to survive learning about her inborn magical talent, and high political intrigue in 'Magic Study,' (the second book), and now it turns out her magic doesn't stop at making mental connections and reading minds - she's a soulfinder.

Given that all the soulfinders of history have raised soulless armies and eventually been burned at the stake, Yelena's finding it hard to get along with everyone, and an attempted coup, a homicidal soul-stealing magician, and her own pride are not going to make it any easier.

In 'Fire Study,' Yelena struggles even harder to find the balance of her own life and the powers that seem intent to rule her, and the journey is as enjoyable as ever. I enjoyed where Snyder took the character, and hope to see more from Yelena in the future.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

I love the 'Study' series so much . . .

I wish Ms. Snyder would write a fourth book. Until then, I look forward to listening to this series over and over again with delight. I also loved the narrator, Gabra Zackman. She was PERFECT.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A slight disappointment...

I enjoyed this series very much (Poison Study was the best of the 3). It has a strong female lead character who is fully fleshed out, it has no profanity, a decent romantic thread, and an engrossing set of plots.

This final entry of the series - Fire Study - was the weakest of the 3. I found that it had a few too many "recaps" (i.e. re-introducing characters from previous books, and a couple times even characters/events from earlier in this book were recapped) and a few too many scenes with obvious "moral lessons".

It felt like the author lost track of who her audience was: if someone were reading book three, they probably already read the other 2 so why the recaps? and... we weren't force-fed moral lessons in the first 2 books, so why make them so obvious add-ons in the 3rd?

The best part of books one and two is that you felt like it was a fantasy written with a mature adult in mind, this one feels like it was written for a younger audience.

But it's still a good story, and a nice wrap up for the series...

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Fire Study (Unabridged)

This book was a dissappointment.

Although the first two books in the series were gripping and entertaining throughout, Fire Study became bogged down in hard to follow, mind numbing plot description instead of plot development. Even knowing the characters and the background story from the other books, the plot of Fire Study is a little hard to become invested in.

A lot of the first part of the book is description of a conflict that is difficult to define or grasp. Consequently, determining the investment the main characters have in the conflict is also vague.

I found myself skipping chapters because of boredom with the story and, amazingly, I did not feel as if I had missed anything as I continued on. Eventually, I just skipped to part 2 and found that was where the story picked up.

I am sorry to say that this book is obviously a "filler" book in a series and could not stand well on its own. It appears that this excellent author has rushed her work this time, but I look forward to her next attempt, as she has proven her abilities in the first two books.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jessica
  • bristow, VA, United States
  • 03-04-08


I listened to the book from start to finish. It was just incredible. I am simply speachless, it was so good. I thought the first two books were incredible, but this one even tops them. This whole series is a must read!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Reba
  • Huntley, IL, United States
  • 03-06-13

Just got tired of it.

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

High Hopes

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Helen
  • Austin Texas
  • 04-08-08

Hopes there is more...

Great improvement in writing style, story development and understanding and liking the characters. Finally something good happens...won't say what but the hint is Valic. Fun trilogy.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful