As I look back on what I wrote for Poison Study, my reflections on Maria V. Snyder’s third installment in the Study Series, Fire Study, are sentimental, corrective, and tumultuous. I now understand more about the other books branching out in the world Maria V. Snyder has created, and know they cannot – well, should not – be read out of order. Additionally, my desire to continue along Yelena (and Valek)’s journey has dimmed, so while I may seek them out to complete the story (does it have an actual end?) I will not do so for my Reading Challenge.
This post contains spoilers. While I would love to have you read what I thought about the book, if you are planning on reading Fire Study, please do not read on.
Like in Poison Study and Magic Study, there is always action, although in Study #3 the action is much more brutal and criminal. Even when there seems like there isn’t, the story is usually building up to a surprise danger or expected event. Which means there is hardly any downtime for the characters, and for the reader to implore those characters, which more often than not leaves emotions and inner dialogue flat. Yelena most annoyed me in this book, just because she seemed immature and unwilling to learn; she much rather prefers to go her own way and be impulsive which is a constant conversation among her friends. Although, I believe she is only about 18 years old, so I guess that could have something to do with it. Or maybe the fact that every time she was impulsive somebody called her out on it and I felt that unnecessary. Girl will learn! I did enjoy the ending because it came as a surprise to me, and while I would have liked a little more detail and time devoted to the ending scenes, it left me feeling content.
I do have to address two of the notes I made the book. The first is about Yelena telling someone at the market that she would jeopardize efforts to overthrow the Vermin and Jal. This is preposterous; her fear is what jeopardizes the entire country, her fear of her powers and her lack of confidence to positively wield them. This comes quite late in the book and by then I was quite annoyed with her stubbornness so this threw me closer to the edge. My second note came quickly after, when she throws away her fear of fire quite suddenly to jump into the flames to save a horse. I understand that her bond with animals is quite strong, but really?! All of a sudden she is able to rid herself of doubt and jump in? When she traveled with Leif she wouldn’t even light a campfire to stay warm! I really couldn’t believe it.
Though I do have the above complaints, they were not enough to stop me from reading. I’m somehow dazzled by Yelena’s relationships and the people surrounding her. I just like the characters, I guess, even though sometimes their personalities and dialogue are a little dull. Maybe it’s because of personal reasons, or because I’m reminded of three particular magical British friends, but the friendship and love carrying the story make it worth it to read. And the world too, of course. It’s not too overwhelming while being dimensional enough to keep my attention.
Overall, I did enjoy this series. For Fire Study, Maria V. Snyder took a glass blowing class to get some details about the art exactly right, which I really admire. I am intrigued by the rest of the books (read about them here), especially how Maria V. Snyder branched off with the glass blower, Opal, and then came back to Yelena later on. As a reader (at least as this reader), it’s a great comfort that the story doesn’t have to end, and I can explore different avenues the author deemed important.
So that wraps up the Study Series for my Reading Challenge. Let me know if you’ve started reading Poison Study, or if you’ve continued on in The Chronicles of Ixia. You can see the progress I’ve made in my Reading Challenge here, and share with me your goals for the rest of the year.
Thanks for reading!