07 January 2011
Book Banter -- The Study Series
Title: The Study Series Bundle (Poison Study, Magic Study and Fire Study)
Author: Maria Snyder
Length: approximately 1,200 pages (formerly published as three separate books)
Where Stacie's Copy Came From: Personal Library
Plot Basics: Given a choice between death or life as a food taster, Yelena decides to risk her life at every tasting as the Commander's food taster. In that role, she may be able to escape south to Sitia with her life. If not, her magic may pull too much power from the source, robbing every magician of their abilities. No matter which way Yelena turns, trouble is waiting for her.
Banter Points: Yelena is a headstrong heroine who simply doesn't know when to quit. She seldom learns from her mistakes, she assumes that her plan will work out, and she has incredible luck. The world Snyder has created between the two countries -- Ixia in the north, and Sitia in the South -- provide a nice contrast and back drop for Yelena's story. The Commander recently took over Ixia and has outlawed all magicians. Yelena has only recently come into her powers and needs to escape to Sitia to learn to control them. If she doesn't, the Master Magicians of the South with execute her to save themselves as well. Danger abounds in this series of books.
Bummer Points: Even when she is in her toughest spots, it seems like everything works out for Yelena. It's tough to believe that anything bad will happen. While this doesn't detract from the storyline, it does make one wonder how she feel into so much trouble in the first place. After all, the story opens with her choosing between certain death at the gallows or potential death as the food taster.
Stacie's Recommendation: Fun, easy reading. There is a second trilogy that builds in the same world, but with a secondary set of characters. Worth exploring.