The first book, Poison Study, was awesome and gave you that happy-go-lucky feeling at the end and you want to yell "weeeeeee". The second book, Magic Study, was "eh". It felt somewhat disconnected from the original but still good. This third one, Fire Study, was just plain worn-out and over done, too much going on without much really happening. It had it's moments but mostly it was "blah".
So if we are going according to the chart, the next book in the Study series should involve zombies!! Let's face it - everything is better with zombies. But sadly, that epic has never been written and probably never will be. To sum up, the Study series in descending order: weeeeeee, eh, blah, zombies!!
In Fire Study, epic fantasy combines with action in the tale of Yelena, a young woman who has recently discovered her magical abilities and (shocker!) needs to use them to help save the world!
When you find a book with an insightful horse that communicates telepathically with it's rider and gives advice while still managing to avoid preaching and be nothing like Ishmael, then normally you would think that you had hit the jackpot!
Things I enjoyed about the book:
1) Kiki - Insightful and hilarious telepathic talking horse.
B) A very batty spirit guide for your journey.
3) Making nice with giant snakes!
Things I didn't like:
A) The endless disguising and playing dress-up.
351) All the rehashing and recycling of events.
I found myself bothered by one of the character's story lines and much to my surprise, I was annoyed by his absence. Cahil had begun to grow on me and I don't like it when fluff characters or those who provide comic relief turn into the bad guy, if you can really even call him that. It just doesn't work for me unless they are absolutely diabolical or pull some kind of switcharoo. A good example that comes to mind is (Beware! Harry Potter spoiler - Are there still people who haven't read Harry Potter?)(view spoiler)[Mad Eye Moody (hide spoiler)]. Now that was a head spinner. Cahil just doesn't work as a villain. In fact, his character could easily have been explored to a much deeper level and used to make the story more interesting.
The villains didn't seem to have a face either. The entire book was just kinda of "Yelena against the man". Who's the man? You ask. That's the question, isnt it? The big bad "they". There was so much mistrust and flip flopping by the characters. Most of the book, it just wasn't clear who the ultimate evil was or who exactly it was we were fighting against.
Now, my answer to the question: Who's the man? JANCO. JANCO IS THE MAN! My man, at least. So where was he?? I absolutely hated the near disappearance of my two favorite characters, Ari and Janco. Now that is a spin-off I would love!!
I absolutely enjoy a good spinoff. I mean what would life have been without the TV show Angel? But near the beginning, I felt like the circumstances with Opal Cohen were contrived specifically with the intent to launch the spin-off series. These parts were very interesting; I just wish that we could have seen a greater effect overall on the story. Although, I really did enjoy the way Opal's ability came into play at the end.
Throughout a good portion of the book, Yelena's is accompanied by her storyweaver and official guru, Moon Man. He is funny, wise, and great - but only to an extent. His impact is lessened when he is around soooo much, especially near the beginning. Did Yoda follow Luke Skywalker around throughout the entire original trilogy? No, because he's too damn smart for that. Also, was Yoda constantly naked? No. Because he's too damn smart for that. Or - maybe it was just because he was out of his prime.
[image error] When 900 years old I reach, look as good I will not.
Really though. Moon Man is always naked. Geez, Moon Man, what do you think this is - Frikkin Survivor? Should I call you Richard Hatch? Don't worry. No visual aid for that one. Your welcome!
My favorite quote from this book is a simple but adorable one by Leif: "What are you scheming, little sister?" And I was glad that the two of them were finally bonding.
Valek was hardly around at all in this one as well. But it didn't bother me anyway because his character had basically become mush. He used to be gruff and masculine, now he's all "blah blah, lovey dovey". I know - I have a way with words, don't I? He was not at all the Valek I loved in the first book. I miss him. And if I hear the words "My love" ONE MORE TIME...
The audio was very good although sometimes unintentionally funny. Sound quality was beautiful and professional. The narrator's voice was usually very smooth; I just got a kick out of the various voices. But I am "easily giggled."
Like I said before, I felt there was too much explaining of past events that wasn't necessary or relevant at the time. But overall, an enjoyable series. The best of which is the first book and I would definitely recommend you read Poison Study.
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Considering how often Yelena was injured, captured, and beat-to-a-pulp in this follow-up to Poison Study - I felt this picture summed it up best:
ThereConsidering how often Yelena was injured, captured, and beat-to-a-pulp in this follow-up to Poison Study - I felt this picture summed it up best:
There are considerably more DOH! moments in this book, as opposed to the zero in the last book. Quite a few times, I felt myself wanting to smack some sense into Yelena. Especially toward the beginning of the book, she didn't seem to be her reliable calculating and resourceful old self.
Instead of reading, like I did with Poison Study, I listened to the audiobook for Magic Study. The narrator was good, although not the best. She had great inflections and tone to her voice and never became tiresome.
However, I found her choice of individual voices a great source of amusement. Some males had a distinct femininity and some females sounded much too masculine. There wasn't always consistency with accents as well.
Two of the side characters, Bain and Reyad had what sounded like a mix of Irish and Scottish accents with Bain sounding much too feminine. I actually thought he was a woman for quite a while. Valek, Yelena's love interest, had a slight female sounding voice as well with a mix of a British and Australian accent. Cahil, Yelena's frenemy, came off as a surfer-slash-stoner. The student Gelsie sounded just like the horse Kiki. That's right. A talking horse!! (who I love!) But it's not what you might think. She's no Mister Ed. And Irys, Yelena's mentor - Well, she had about as feminine a voice as Al Green. Like a Russian body building Cher (now that's a mental image). Ari and Janco, however, sounded exactly how I felt they should. In fact, it made me want to listen to Poison Study just to hear some of their hilarious exchanges.
The voices also got me thinking about how the narrator decides who gets what voice. Do they consult with the author or just make it up as they go? Do they even read the book first? If memory serves me right, it seems like she started out pronouncing Dax as Dox, then switched halfway through the book. Was she corrected or had she just forgotten how she pronounced his name before?
In this book, Yelena refers to her tactics against her foes as her "rush into a situation and hope for the best" method, but I don't think she gives herself enough credit. As her relationships with various new characters progress, she takes on a new role. Team member. Often, she at least seems to be thinking ahead but mostly she relies heavily on others, as opposed to her old self, who trusted and counted on no one. This doesn't come off as a strength or a weakness, she just tends to find herself in need of help more often. All of that is an inevitability with the expanding cast of characters and friends.
Valek wasn't in this book nearly as much. I felt their relationship went from "summer lovin" to "you're the that I want" a little too fast. In the Poison Study, their relationship developed slowly. It seemed they were a little too connected in this one. A little more than I believed, at least since it's common knowledge that he would easily kill her if asked to by his Commander. "Oh my love, you're the only one for me. Now come closer, so I can slit your throat because I was commanded to." I didn't get that part of it.
I really wished the storyline with Ferda had been completely wrapped up. I was looking forward to a new big bad in Fire Study, because this guy creeps me out. That's the mark a good villain, though.
Overall, Maria's prose is lovely. No out of place descriptions or metaphors this time. The character development was decent and mostly believable. This one just didn't draw me in the way the first one did. I felt a lot of disconnect. I am still looking forward to the next, mainly in hopes of more Ari and Janco time!
Buhwahahaha! This woman is easily the funniest woman in the entertainment industry. Yes, she's rude and crude, and definitely not for the prude. But IBuhwahahaha! This woman is easily the funniest woman in the entertainment industry. Yes, she's rude and crude, and definitely not for the prude. But I just can't help it. I love her. She brings out the evil maniacal laugh in me, if case you didn't already notice.
Since her other book is entitled "My Horizontal Life : A Collection of One-Night Stands", you can be fairly certain this book will also include sexual content as well as a lot of adult language. So if those make you uncomfortable, don't read this. At least not while others of a prudish nature are around.
She does have a deeply dark sense of humor. It seems to be all in good fun, though not necessarily good taste. I like to believe she's a softie at heart, just with a hard exterior. Nevertheless, she's entertaining to say the least.
I really recommend listening to the audio book. A sheet of paper just cannot capture the brilliance of her wit and sarcasm. Her voice can be slightly overwhelming at times, but if your feeling down, her stories will bring you, if nothing else, hilarity.
What are you going to do tonight, Chelsea Handler? Same thing she does every night - Try to take over the world. The entertainment world at least. *Evil laugh* For those of you lucky enough to afford cable television (I resort to the Internet, it's cheaper), her show is just as disturbing and just as funny....more
This book really should have been exciting but I actually would have had a much better time had I just blared Monster Mash from my stereo and danced aThis book really should have been exciting but I actually would have had a much better time had I just blared Monster Mash from my stereo and danced around like a zombie with chicken skin pasted to my face.
I feel like this was probably really cool in the 90's and if I had read it then, as my pre-Harry Potter 10 year old self. I probably would have loved it. But now, my brain has descended into different forms of oblivion and I laugh voraciously at danger.
Ah shiznit - I just used a Disney movie to demonstrate how "grown up" I am. Not to mention, I said shiznit.
I'm going to give you my (bored face) half-hearted summary because the story is way to convoluted to go into much depth without lulling myself into a coma.
Sabriel is told from the third person perspective of a young girl, named Sabriel (what a co-inky-dink), a necromancer whose father disappears into the realm of the dead. She tasks herself with going to retrieve him because she believes he's still alive. Blah, blah. Monster, monster. Magic, magic.
Our heroine, Sabriel, who I probably would have thought was the kiss-ass queen of kick-ass when i was younger, seems to know exactly what to do all the time without any internal dialogue, insight, or even advice. Not to mention - training! How did she know all this stuff? Because she was destined to become the Abhorsen? Maybe that would have worked for me when I was young, naive and believed that I was going to marry Han Solo. But now, I need to see the character work and earn the right to their abilities. I need to see them struggle and angst over it like young Harry.
The overall tone of the book was chilling. And I think if I was younger, I would have been thrilled and frightened during this book but now it just didn't phase me. I wasn't even all that interested. I just felt kinda 'meh' about the whole thing.
Action scenes abound in the book; however, every single one felt completely contrived and many were repetitive. Sabriel meandered about with unclear goals and even more unclear talents. It wasn't easy to distinguish her allies from her enemies but I didn't get the impression that this was done out of poetic symbolism, merely from indistinct plotlines and story progression. I wasn't captivated by much of anything in this book. Although, I did like the cat, Mogget.
Oh, and I'm saying its slow even though I was listening to it in audio. Usually I can tolerate slower books in audio form but this one really left a lot to be desired.
The narrator was very good at distinct voices for each character but some of them, namely the monsters, were unbearable, with gasping and hissing and gurgling. He also has a teensy bit of a pretentious tone, which is understandable since he is the illustrious Tim Curry of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But sometimes, it became annoying.
The writing was good. The world-building was good. The narration was good but I never felt invested. I wasn't blown away or engaged in the story or characters. I was majorly bored. And it was loooooong.
The scale of the book is huge, though. If you love sweeping epic fantasies that offer destiny as a solution to every problem with nothing to back it up (which, let's face it, is alot of fantasy), then you'd probably love this.
I really do think that this would be great for a younger audience. I think it was good, just absolutely wrong for me at this age. And if I'm being completely honest, I would much rather do the Monster Mash 100 times than go through this again.
Almost every single paragraph in this book seemed to introduce some strange new intriguing information. It was somewhat predictable but also felt likeAlmost every single paragraph in this book seemed to introduce some strange new intriguing information. It was somewhat predictable but also felt like anything could happened, especially when it came to the father in the story. It really seemed like he was capable of unspeakable horrors.
The story was very original. It actually made me think of the underground vaults in the game Fallout. And there is a scene in the book with a hatch and someone banging on it and yelling Nooooo. That made me laugh even though it was supposed to be serious. I only laughed because of the whole John Locke hatch thing in Lost. You either know exactly what I'm talking about or you have no clue, but it was great. I wondered then if that scene in Lost was what caused the author to come up with the concept for this book. That would be amazing. Hey, it could happen.
I also love how when talking about his dog, Eli describes being able to feel her warmth at his feet even though he knows she's gone, and proceeds to call her his phantom limb. I don't know why but I thought that was so beautiful. I guess because I'm a dog owner and I can completely relate.
I'm not really sure what classification this book would fall under. Could it really be considered dystopia or post-apocalyptic? The compound itself if a sort of dystopia, but is that enough for it to qualify? I don't think it really matters but it was just something I was pondering. Hmmmmm. Whenever I say the word pondering, it makes me go "Hmmmmm". Strange.
I listened to this one on audio book and I have to say that the reader did an amazing job after the first few chapters (where he sounded a little monotone), but then he really got going and made the story come to life. Each character really sounded like their own person with a unique voice and mannerisms. His portrayal of the father was at times terrifying. I'm not sure if I would have felt differently about this book had I read it, because the audio was just so well done. I found myself wanting to drive around more just so I could listen longer. I really enjoyed it and definitely recommend the audio book....more