Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder
or- WOAH WOAH WOAH MARIA CALM DOWN!
Synopsis: 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.
This book was great. Brilliant but way way too quick.
My biggest problem with this book was the pace. This book was really action packed, and sometimes it became too overwhelming. Where as Magic Study’s problems lay in too little action, this book had too much.
In fact, the action in this book should have been split over two or three further books. A lot of the action felt rushed, as if Snyder was so desperate to get it all down before she forgot it, and then was so desperate to get the book out on the shelves that she rushed the whole editing and elaborating process. This problem seems to centre mostly around the last half of the book. The action happened so quickly it was easy to get confused as to what was happening.
In Snyder’s frenetic pace she forgets to outline all the necessary things to make the plot move smoothly and not like a six year old on a quad bike learning about throttle. We lost details like character’s positions in the scene, and where exactly the scene was taking place, (some of the places weren’t explained carefully enough-they just rushed into the action and battle before the reader realises WHERE it is that it’s happening). The reader looses sense of place and then struggles to keep up for the rest of the sequence, as they are so busy trying to work out where, that they don’t pay attention to whom and why. Even these tend to be just given a forgetful cursory nod.
This marks such a jolting departure from Snyder’s other two books in the series where everything is explained and created before you in such detail. If it wasn’t for her strong characters and trade mark humor, I’d suspect that Snyder didn’t write the action scenes herself.
Even though this jolted me so severely, I still loved this book. The characters were rich and the first chapters provided excellent world building information. The soulfinder revelations happened when they needed too, but the final gluing together of the facts, and the penultimate penny drop, were rushed like the action sequences.
Was this better than Magic Study? Yes. If anything for the sheer intensity of the plot.
Am I excited for the next part of the series? Hell yes.
The next 3 books in the series depart from Yelena and Co and reportedly meet up with Opal Cowan, which is a very exciting premise. Usually changes in POV annoy me, but mostly because the author hasn’t created enough of a reason to include them or often hasn’t summed up the original characters events. As rushed as the second part of this book was, it definitely summed up Yelena’s story enough that I’m not mad about the departure. This may be the reason behind the rushed feeling. Snyder would have known she was leaving Yelena for a while so she was probably desperately trying to wrap up multiple plot points in a limited number of words. Opal is an interesting character and having a natural born Sitian tell the story, the world is sure to develop more; Opal will be able to explain things that Yelena can’t.
The development about Roze I should have seen coming, but didn’t. I think I assumed she just didn’t have it in her which was my first mistake. It was a brilliant character development and honestly there was no other character it should have been.
Likewise, the developments about the books villains were equally exciting and I probably should have seen a lot of the twists coming but didn’t. In order to avoid spoilers, I will avoid discussing two villains in particular who really shined. (One may have been a disgraced former “Ixian”)
Two notable characters who surprisingly received a lot of attention and development in this book were Kiki the horse and Moon man. Snyder made these two shine and it’s obvious that she favours these characters a lot. Moon Man received some of the best scenes and really came into his own.
While there were some brilliant moments between Valek and Yelena, the relationship didnt feel like it progressed much. Oh sure there were super dramatic moments and the feels, but it feels like the relationship peeked in the last book. I still adore them as a couple, but Yelena’s attitude got in the way of any serious couple time. But despite the lack of development, Valek got a significant amount of personal character development, though easily could have been given more. Hopefully this relationship will be given more time through the next couple of books.
A lot of the reviews for this book on good reads, much like Magic Study, show a rather disgruntled group of readers. There are also other reviewers who disagree with my opinions of the pace of the book, but I suppose, to each their own. Any errors or wrong doing are balanced out for me by the good parts of the story. Others may not agree. Above all, I still think this book is good.
Read: Paperback (Australian Cover)