Magic Study is the second book in the Study series by Maria V. Snyder, the first one being Poison Study, in which Yelena, who is kidnapped from her home in Sitia, finds her way to Ixia and is experimented upon by people who believe her to have magical powers. She ends up saving the Commander's life, but, since magic is illegal in Ixia, she is sentenced to death. In Magic Study, Yelena returns to her home in Sitia and meets the parents and brother she can barely remember. She is forced to leave behind the boy she loves, Valek, a necessary sacrifice if she is to gain any semblance of control over her magical abilities.
Although Yelena's parents welcome her with open arms, her brother, Leif, is suspicious of her and thinks that she's a spy. Leif and Yelena set off for the Academy where he is to be an advisor and she will get trained in magical arts, but, on the way, they are ambushed by a man named Cahil who claims to be the true heir to the throne of Ixia. Cahil thinks that Yelena is a spy and locks her up; she escapes but strikes a deal with him because they are traveling to the same place.
Yelena also gets caught up in catching a serial killer who inadvertently left one of his victims alive—a traumatized young girl that Yelena tries to help. She ends up traveling to find this serial killer and is helped by Valek who disguises himself and comes to Sitia to find her. In the process, she discovers she might be a Soulfinder, a kind of magician whose abilities are on the dark side, enabling her to suck in people's souls.
This is an interesting world that Snyder has built and the character of Yelena comes across as strong, if conflicted. The plot of the book revolves around Yelena trying to resolve her conflicting emotions and learning who she really is. It's a book about self-acceptance and bravery on the part of a young girl who is largely misunderstood.
Maria V. Snyder was born in Philadelphia, PA and found herself really interested in tornadoes as a young girl. She got a Bachelor's in Science from Penn State and worked as an environmental meteorologist for six years before she started writing books. She discovered that she enjoyed writing so much that she switched careers altogether and got a Master's in Fiction Writing from Seton Hill University where she now teaches. She loves to research all her books thoroughly and has learned how to blow glass, ride horses and pick a lock so that she can write about these experiences authentically. Her first book, Poison Study, received the Compton Book Award for Best First Novel. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.
With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way to be reunited with the family she'd been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But though she has gained her freedom, she can't help feeling isolated in Sitia. Her Ixian background has changed her in many ways, and her newfound friends and relatives don't think it's for the better.
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 involved with 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 all her new enemies. Download and start listening now!