Overall: worth reading to finish the series. I'd say a decent read and nice to see how the people in Poison Study turned out. However Poison Study remains my favorite book in the series by far. Loved that book when I first read it, probably should reread it.
Good bits and nits:
I liked all the parts where Valek was around. I think the chemistry between the two is well written, and you feel that despite the long-distance relationship, they still feel strongly about each other.
It did feel more cohesive with Magic Study.
Usually Synder's villian's aren't black and white, we see why they are motivated to do what they do and they kind of make sense in a twisted way.
There was a complete wild goose chase in half of this book. It seemed like a lot of effort was put into getting Yelena to go off somewhere running around in Sitia, but why? I wasn't completely sure. Maybe it was the villians' diabolical plan, muhahahaha? but still rather... well, it's strange and I'm confused about it.
I didn't buy into the parts of the book where everyone was angry at Yelena. The reasons were silly, and then I just saw that everyone is annoyed at her, but I didn't see her as being particularly worthy of all the snits everyone was in. The only argument I bought was the one with Valek. And when these issues got resolved it was really quickly without much discussion.
So many villians. Making things too complicated - as in I'm not sure I believe that there could be so many villians all up in here! I think because of this, the villians started becoming more caricature-ish than in past books.
The apprenticeship is over â" now the real test has begun.
When word that Yelena is a Soulfinderâ"able to capture and release soulsâ"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 herselfâ"and save the land she holds dear.
I just LOVE this author. This is the THIRD book of the series (Poison Study (1) and Magic Study (2)) and it really lived up to my expectations and I already can't wait until the next one comes out (although as of today, there is no word on when it will be or even if there WILL be ... she is starting a spinoff of this series with one that will be released in 2009 called Storm Glass and it will be about Opal Cowen ... so I am sure we will see a lot of our favourite people making a visit or two in this book).
Well, this was a great trilogy. Like any other last book, the end was bittersweet - fun to read, sad to finish, in a way... I am looking forward to her next book, though it seems that the central character will be Opal, not Yelena. It seems that Snyder is following Mercedes Lackey's formula for a series, overall united by the same land, but each trilogy following its own character. I do hope that Yelena makes at least one or two appearances in the new trilogy, at least!
Surprisingly, I think that I enjoyed the second book the most, actually, but this was a very satisfying conclusion in that all lingering questions were neatly wrapped up.
While neither Magic Study (Book 2) nor FIRE STUDY (Book 3) live up to the extraordinariness that was her debut, Poison Study, I still have to say that Maria Snyder's ability to tell a unique story is unparalleled, and that I remain a staunch fan. Yelena's world remains engaging and unforgettable, whether as a standalone with the first novel or as a whole series.
FIRE STUDY is slightly shaky where characterization is concerned. Yelena undergoes a period of self-doubt and paranoia, shutting out those beloved to her and us readers in an attempt to protect herself from what she believes to be her inevitable end. Normally I wouldn't complaining about characters undergoing such identity crises, but it was difficult to pull off in the Study series since we are so attached to all the characters.
The adventure and plot in FIRE STUDY is straightforward hardcore fantasy, unrelenting swift--you'll lose your footing if you aren't familiar with the previous book in the series, Magic Study, and if you don't pay attention. That being said, this book provides a solid conclusion to what has been a satisfying trilogy, even if the ending may be a little too swift and easy for those who are well-read in fantasy.
Overall, I have no regrets about picking up the Study series. Maria Snyder is solidly one of my favorite authors now, able to provide us with a fully exciting fantasy featuring likable characters. I will not hesitate to pick up any of her future books, and you shouldn't either!
By far my most favorite series ever---even beats out the Outlander series for me. I loved all the characters and the story line. If they ever make a movie series out of this I doubt I will see it because I wouldn't want it to ruin what I have envisioned in my own head. Highly recommended and be ready to read all 3 at once because you won't want to quit reading once you have finished Poison Study!