Book Review

Book Review: Fire Study (Poison Study #3) by Maria V. Snyder

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: New adult Fantasy
Length: 441 pages
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Publisher: Mira
Release Date: February 26th, 2008
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


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.


Not gonna lie. I’m glad I can be finished with these books (yes, I know there was more added and a spin-off series as well, I’m stopping here though). I just, struggled with these y’all!? It’s okay, it happens.

I fell more out of love with Yelena this time. Her character growth happens so late in the book that I’m no longer enamored with the concept. I was tired of her shoving others away to “protect them,” instead of allowing them to help her. Yelena also continually ran off to danger without a second thought. There comes a time to be brave and then just reckless and repetitive.

But don’t worry, our elusive love interest shows up in the nick of time to save her time and time again. Yet also, where was he for the first 200 pages again?! I hate that. Don’t introduce a love interest and then not even utilize him for the story. Ugh.

I enjoy the writing and the world itself. The plot may still be confusing to me (where’s the endgame here?), but there’s a lot here about recovering and working towards a place a peace after awful things have been done to them. I liked these aspects and how it was approached.

Maybe this series wasn’t for me, but I know plenty who enjoyed them. They’re a bit older, so could be a good backlist title!

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses; a closed door scene
  • Violence: swords, magic, physical altercations, fires, torture

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Book Review

Book Review: Magic Study (Poison Study #2) by Maria V. Snyder

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: New adult fantasy
Length: 392 pages
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Publisher: Luna Books
Release Date: September 26th, 2006
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


You know your life is complicated when you miss your days as a poison taster…

With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way to be united with the family she’d been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But although she has gained her freedom, she once again finds herself alone – separated from her lover Valek and suspected as a spy for her reluctance to conform to Sitian ways.

Despite the turmoil, she’s eager to start her magic training – especially as she’s been given one year to harness her power or be put to death. But her plans take a radical turn when she becomes embroiled in a plot to reclaim Ixia’s throne for a lost prince – and gets entangled in powerful rivalries with her fellow magicians.

If that wasn’t bad enough, it appears her brother would love to see her dead. Luckily, Yelena has some old friends to help her with her new enemies.


I’ve never come across a more clear depiction of a cover and story not matching. Maybe because it’s an older book? I’m not sure, I’m just saying…the story is so much better and the cover does not do that justice in anyway.

On to the story portion. WHERE WAS VALEK. I do have a severe issue with love interests being established and then removed for 70% of the next book. That was the case here and gosh dang the story was incredibly better once he showed up. Not that I didn’t mind getting to see Yelena learning about her powers and all of that good stuff, but I wanted both of them more often.

Yet, I find myself unable to put the book down. I like reading them. Something about the writing style keeps me drawn in and I find that I fly through the pages. It’s an interesting story line and the side plots don’t always connect back in (because I’m still trying to figure out where book three actually goes), but it’s a series I want to continue.

These are a lot darker than I ever anticipated. I struggle with the necessity of this towards the plot line in comparison with other portions that are kept less explicit.

A lot of these new characters are interesting and I especially hope Leif gets a better story line come the third book. I didn’t always love how stubborn Yelena was being. Running off because she knew best, then getting captured again…and again.

I don’t know, this review has gotten ramble worthy because there’s plenty to pick from here. I am somehow attached to this story yet its flaws turn me off. I’ll give the third book a chance still for some redemption.

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a few no detail, fade out scenes
  • Violence: murder, torture, physical altercations, poisoning, swords, arrows
  • Trigger warnings: sexual assault, torture, rape (mentioned about multiple girls, no full scenes, but smaller paragraphs remembering what occurred); suicide ideation, mention of suicide attempt, PTSD

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Book Review

Book Review: Poison Study (Poison Study #1) by Maria V. Snyder

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: New adult fantasy
Length: 361 pages
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Publisher: Luna Books
Release Date: September 27th, 2005
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Choose: A quick death . . . or slow poison.

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear. 


I’ve never had this book on my radar, and have only heard of it a few times. Yet, when a Bookstagram friend decided to do a read-a-long for it, I jumped on board! The premise was enough to convince me.

I found this interesting. It was a set-up I haven’t seen before and let me curious as to how all of these characters got here. Yelena was a great main character. Her strength and bravery in-front of horrid situations was amazing. I thought some of her inner monologues became repetitive, but Yelena in general was a favorite.

The romance between her and Valek was slow-rolling and enjoyable. It didn’t come on strongly and I found myself cheering them on. I adored Valek in his own right and these two made for a good story.

I’m a bit confused by the magic system here. I can’t even describe it because it kind of came out of nowhere and I’m still figuring out the rules of the game. I’m hoping in the next book there’s more explanation as to how it fits into the world. Speaking of the world, it was intriguing too. The way the land was split up, and how it was under a type of military regime. I’d be curious how this continues to develop as well.

I may have been left with a lot of questions, but the story really did work well as a first book in a series. I’m happy to continue reading them!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: occasional
  • Romance: kisses; one little detailed love scene
  • Violence: murder, swords, physical altercations, arrows, poison
  • Trigger warnings: mentions of being raped with one brief flashback scene to it; sexual assault and harassment, torture, attempted rape

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