The cover I prefer the most is cover 3, the hardcover edition, with the first cover in a close second and I'm not overly fond of the YA cover (it pret...moreThe cover I prefer the most is cover 3, the hardcover edition, with the first cover in a close second and I'm not overly fond of the YA cover (it pretty, but its not very good at engendering any sort of thoughts about the book). The UK covers (of which there are two--YA hardcover and YA softcover), are both very pretty, with the YA softcover winning out because it depicts Yelena with a bo-staff.
The brutality of what Yelena faced in a relatively short amount of time (before the start of the book) would probably have broken most people. There isn't an in depth description of prison life, but from her appearance and short clues she gives us it couldn't have been a particularly good year of living. I often wondered if she could have turned things back if she would have changed things and tried to live a less...riotous life. I don't honestly believe so though, because she doesn't have the character (the will) of a person who would change things for an easier life if it meant another had to suffer.
There are occasionally plot contrivances to keep the plot moving or propel character development (how they finally figure out where Criollo comes from is such a thing), but nothing as overt as 'Yelena found a book that told her exactly what was happening and how to stop it'. Yelena earns most things the hard way--her self-defense, the trust of practically the entire cast and even her victories come at a price.
I know from message boards and the like that Ixia, where Poison Study is located, isn't the ideal sort of set up for most. Its very much a military dictatorship--with all the paperwork, discipline and uniformity expected of such. You come to find out though that the two countries--Ixia and Sitia--are pretty much polar opposites on each ends of extreme beliefs.
Commander Ambrose believes that orderliness and properly channeling talents is the only way of keeping control and from what we are told of the past monarchy's rule there is something to what he says. He rewards hard work, but doesn't expect someone to toil away at a job because he has to. He wants the people of Ixia to want to work towards a better life. There isn't any poverty or unemployment (at least not in any measurable amount). Its kind of communist.
Sitia is described almost like a hippie commune but with magic. Something the Commander does not tolerate. We find out why eventually.
As far as romance goes, its not a focal point of the novel at all. It happens over the course of time--Yelena doesn't see Valek and go 'Wow give me some of that!', she's actually very distrustful and wary of him for a long time. Since this is a first person POV from Yelena, we can't know Valek's immediate feelings upon meeting Yelena, but we can guess (she's basically bones with a fine tissue paper skin stretched across, smells like a dung pile and is a confessed murderess, I can't imagine that's a turn on for him). When feelings are made to be known Yelena doesn't suddenly become worried about how she looks or acts or Valek's opinion--well she worries over Valek's opinion, but that has less to do with romance and more to do with staying on his continual good side as an employee of his. Doesn't do to piss off the foremost spy and assassin in the realm eh?
Again I find myself dissatisfied with the YA cover from Mira (not just because it ruined the color scheme of...moreNeedless to say spoilers for Poison Study
Again I find myself dissatisfied with the YA cover from Mira (not just because it ruined the color scheme of the other two). Also the UK had two additional covers (one for YA HC and one for YA SC). I prefer the current Mira trade (cover 3) because I think it gives more of a sense of the jungle that Yelena finds herself in now.
So we left off our intrepid heroine having to leave the only home she's known, Ixia, for fear of having her boyfriend cut off her head under military decree (even though she saved the military Commander's life...oh its a hard life). Though self-same boyfriend said that he'd kill her and then himself if he was given the order to end her life. So I guess that's something right?
In the last book she also met a Sitian Master Magician by the name of Irys, who came to Ixia undercover and sort of detoured her way to kill her. Everyone wants to kill Yelena. The good news though was that Irys instead offered to take Yelena back to Sitia and her family and get her trained right and proper before she went and destroyed the world.
I'm not certain if you can call Yelena's adventures easier or harder this time around as the last time. Her life is in danger from practically everyone she meets (again), there's a crazy guy on the loose doing unspeakable things to people (again) and oh yeah let's not forget her brother is the biggest jerk EVER. Seriously. Chip on his shoulder the size of Sitia. I guess family makes things worse.
There's more of a mystery element in Magic Study then there was in Poison Study. The true bad guy isn't revealed in Magic Study right away and even then its sort of like 'Yeah I'm the bad guy...but there's a worse guy!' and there's an awful lot of people who want to either kill Yelena for her power (her very very dangerous power that is taboo) or use her for her power.
Yelena is also very much uncomfortable in Sitia, even though its her birthland. Having grown up in Ixia, in an Ixian way of life, following Ixian rules for well over a decade she finds the relaxed way of life in Sitia irritating. The colors of their garments garish and the sudden family thrown in her lap feels awkward. Half of her wants to embrace this side and be the daughter/sister/cousin that everyone wants her to be, but the other half is almost repulsed and wishes for the simpler Code of Behavoir from Ixia. She misses her friends (Ari and Janco) and Valek (who she thinks she can hear sometimes in her head). She misses the familiar.
Valek is pretty much public enemy #1 in Sitia because of his involvement with killing magic-users and hunting down Sitians in Ixia under the Commander's orders (okay so maybe he's public enemy #2 after the Commander), so its not even as if Yelena can talk about Valek to anyone. She's the prodigal daughter returned with awesome powers and having defeated a renown criminal of Sitia after all. She's distrusted enough as is.
The flow of the story is easier this time around--relying less on plot conveniences and more on character relationships and developments. One thing to note is the addition of Moon Man, a Story-Weaver. He's simply hilarious and so much fun its ridiculous. I love him.(less)
I like this cover for Fire Study, I think its pretty and gets a good idea of the book. I like the UK cover too, though I think it has less to do with...moreI like this cover for Fire Study, I think its pretty and gets a good idea of the book. I like the UK cover too, though I think it has less to do with the book itself (its blue though and blue is my favorite color).
As the last book of the 'Study' series, its the last book from Yelena's perspective and the setting stage for the heroine of the next series. Practically everyone from the first or second book makes an appearance in some form (though the story is primarily set in Sitia) and whoever doesn't (not that I can think of many) is mentioned at least.
A lot of questions are answered--the true nature of Yelena's 'Soulfinder' abilities, the true evil genius, and the fact that really Ixia nor Sitia can rely solely upon themselves any longer. Yelena, being unique in the fact that she is widely accepted in both countries by the leaders, began this change and works (for at least most of this book) to make it a reality. Oh and less I forget Valek's immunity to magic and the Commander's own curious case is also explained.
I won't lie, I spent a lot of the book ready to smack Yelena halfway to Ixia and back again. She made mistakes in the other two books of course, but this book it just seemed like she was ready to jump into every single mistake she could. And then get mad at everyone else. She isn't alone in her bumbling however, Moon Man decides to take a detour down troublesome annoyance lane as well, which was less then pleasing. To be fair they were both urged onwards by outside forces bent on corrupting them, but I guess I was disappointed how easy that could have been.
The final resolution is satisfying in that it wraps up many of the mysteries that plagued Yelena's story specifically, but left a lot of doors open to be explored in the next series of books (the 'Glass' series, which should give you an indication of who's the main char). I particularly liked the explanation of Valek's 'immunity to magic'. I was down for slightly harsher punitive measures against Cahil however, but I guess he tried to be better so I guess he deserves leniency.
I'm going to review the two short stories 'Assassin Study' (from Valek's POV in between Poison Study and Magic Study) and 'Power Study' (with Ari and Janco in between Magic Study and Fire Study).(less)
**spoiler alert** Darkchild is the first in the 'Daughters of the Sunstone' trilogy and a very intriguing beginning.
Possibly the oldest book I've read...more**spoiler alert** Darkchild is the first in the 'Daughters of the Sunstone' trilogy and a very intriguing beginning.
Possibly the oldest book I've read in a while (published in 1982) that I haven't read previously at least, Darkchild is told from a variety of third person POV's and slowly chronicles the coming of age of both the title character, but also the young girl who takes him in and cares for him.
A fantasy with scifi leanings is a good way to describe much of the book. The immediate environs are, for the most part, pre-industrial. The only exception to this rule are the quarters of alien visitors to the planet, the Armini, who conduct studies of the peoples and planet.
Then also you have the over-reaching menance, who are technologically advanced and use Darkchild (and others like him) to gather intel on the planet they despoit them on to see if the planet is a viable planet for exploiting or if they can leave it well enough alone.
At times I was tempted to double check the internet to make sure the author wasn't a pseudo for Louise Lawrence who wrote books of a similiar trend.
I look forward to reading the next two books in the trilogy.(less)
Opal Cowan, introduced in Magic Study as a minor character who gained a larger role/significance in Fire Study, is the narrator for this next set of b...moreOpal Cowan, introduced in Magic Study as a minor character who gained a larger role/significance in Fire Study, is the narrator for this next set of books (3--all with 'Glass' in the title, much like 'Study' was for Yelena). The book is set 4 years after the events of Fire Study and despite everything else Sitia and Ixia rest on a fine-edged peace agreement. The Commander is willing to work with the Sitian Council, but is still adamant about magic in Ixia (with the exception of Yelena, who is the Liasion between the two countries...and having saved the world from an evil evil group of evil-doers earned some nice perks) and is keeping a tight control of immigrating one way or the other.
Opal has been studying at the Keep (the Magical School of Sitia) for the last four years and they haven't been easy. Roundly dismissed as a 'One Trick Wonder' (her ability to infuse magic into the glass animals she makes, enabling magicians to talk across great distances) her cause is made worse by her friendship to the Soulfinder Yelena and general klutziness. She is friendless, shunned and bullied. Her one refuge is a glassmaker's shop with a gruff older glassmaker named Aydan. Having grown up in a family of glassmakers the workshop is a safe haven for her.
From the start of the novel you can tell Opal's story will have a different emphasis then Yelena's did. Whereas Yelena was struggling to survive and find herself, Opal is trying to find a way that she can be useful in a broader sense. Because of her family's continual association with Yelena Opal has been surrounded by people who have done Big Things. Mythic things almost. She feels inferior and insignificant, even though she's anything but.
Working with the Stormdancers and helping to solve the problem plaguing the glass orbs necessary to their profession and survival, Opal found some of that much needed confidence boost.
I liked Kade and Opal's dynamic. I was sad when it cam time for Opal to leave the Stormdancer's caves and return to the Keep. She has another suitor, or really two more depending on how you look at it, in Ulrick (a one time admirer of her sister Mara's) and in the creep Devlen. This is where the line gets a little hazy because to fully explain either one of their connections and relationship with Opal would to tread on a spoiler that hinges part of the plot together so I'll say no more. Snyder makes it obvious however that Kade is the one that suits Opal the best and that's all I'll say on the matter.
As in Yelena's story things are not as simple as they appear and people/events will surprise the reader. With Sea Glass not due out until September, there's plenty to think about however.(less)
Chilling. This book is hands down chilling. Not in a bad way, in the suspenseful, edge of your seat what the heck is going to happen next way. I liked...moreChilling. This book is hands down chilling. Not in a bad way, in the suspenseful, edge of your seat what the heck is going to happen next way. I liked Nash's Reaper brother Tod in My Soul to Take. He was certainly morbid, but considering his job, I don't blame him. I didn't quite understand Nash or Kaylee's father's objections to her being friends with him, at least not until this book.
Tod is a curious blend of selfish and selfless. It almost seems like he has a hierarchy where everyone he is friends with or cares for is placed on a certain rung. Unfortunately Kaylee doesn't matter quite as much as his ex-girlfriend Addison, so she pays the price to get Addison safe again.
Not that I blame him, Kaylee volunteers herself (and Nash since she knew he wouldn't let her go to the Netherworld by herself) against a lot of opposition. I admire Kaylee for the fact that she's willing to risk everything to help save Addison's soul. Do I wish she had asked more questions before venturing into a place that could lead to her death? Sure, but she went in with the best of intentions.
The pacing of this novel is faster than the first book--once the ball gets rolling on the group's game plan things continue to happen one after the other like dominoes. I sometimes wished we could have seen into Tod's head, especially as his actions seem to get shadier and shadier. What we as readers notice about his behavior, Kaylee doesn't. The gradual change in Tod's personality was more apparent to the reader, since we are on the outside looking in.
Nash seemed less on top of things in this book, less sure of himself and how to do things. He obviously still wants to believe in Tod, despite the inherent animosity between Reapers and bean sidhe, but is finding it harder and harder. Part of it seems to be jealousy, because Tod pops up and will talk to Kaylee but not show himself to Nash, but some of it is also his protective instincts.
The uber-Reaper, Lily, is a hoot. I want to see her again more than any other character.
The end is bittersweet, with plans being foiled for everyone. Like the end of My Soul to Take, the answer to the problem seems easy, but the end result is devastating. Its painful to think about what happens to the souls honestly, the ones that are bought/bartered/sold to hellions. With the third book, My Soul to Keep due out in June 2010, I'm glad the wait isn't so long. I want to see more of Kaylee and Nash as well as the consequences of their time in the Netherworld. (less)
I have yet to meet a re-interpretation of my favorite fairy tale 'East o'the Moon, West o'the Sun' that hasn't pleased me greatly and Sun and Moon, Ic...moreI have yet to meet a re-interpretation of my favorite fairy tale 'East o'the Moon, West o'the Sun' that hasn't pleased me greatly and Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow (SaM, IaS)does not fail. As a quick comparison to the other two novel length adventures I've read on the fairy tale, East by Edith Pattou and Once Upon a Winter's Night by Dennis L. McKiernan, the story follows a similiar path.
Poor family with many kids, wintery climate, enchanted white bear, evil Troll Princess and plucky, resourceful lass. The manner in which these cornerstones are brought about however is the real fun. I will, more then likely, be doing reviews for both books seperately some time soon and then will do a true comparison review of the three.
Pika, or lass as her beloved older brother Hans Peter calls her, is the youngest child of Frida and Jarl. Frida rejects Pika, going so far as to not even name her (a horrifying occurance since unnamed children can not be baptized and are more easily snatched by trolls) and thrusts the responsbility of raising her into her oldest daughter's hands. Pika doesn't spend a lot of time lamenting this fact--merely takes it as is and does her best to stay out of her mother's way. I thoroughly disliked Frida, I'm not even certain she was meant to be liked at all. She was greedy, selfish and later in the story as their luck changes, downright ruthless. She had more in common with the troll queen and princess then she did her own family.
Aside from Hans Peter, Askeladden ('lucky third son' according to the myths) is featured more heavily then the other siblings. Later in the story one of her older sisters has an important role, but for the most part they are merely there and only occasionally show up. I was grateful for this since remembering 8 other names--and their importance to the story and family dynamic--might have fried my brain. The few random new bits are more then enough and their cameo appearances are short.
Not mentioned in the backcover blurb/synopsis is the fact that Pika can communicate with animals. The importance of this--and ramifications of this--aren't entirely felt until the latter half of the second part, but is important none the less.
At the risk of gushing, I had no problems with this book. It was a fun, enthralling read from start to finish that would keep a teen girl or adult entertained. There is nothing particularly racy involved and only the mildest sort of violence (mostly perpetrated towards the trolls by their own hands).
George's new fairy tale retelling--Princess of the Midnight Ball due out later this month--is a retelling of my other favorite fairy tale, 12 Dancing Princesses. I look forward to that book with great anticipation!(less)
To be fair I thought this was another teen vampire romance. I have heard about this book for a number of months (since October at least) from other bl...moreTo be fair I thought this was another teen vampire romance. I have heard about this book for a number of months (since October at least) from other bloggers, though I've avoided reviews so that I didn't have any preconceptions, and I can understand why. Even though this is aimed for a teen market, the author doesn't dumb down the concepts or 'reality' of anyone's situation. Damen is far from perfect (despite how he presents himself) and Ever is clearly damaged more then she wishes to acknowledge.
But then so is everyone else around them. From Ever's best friends Haven (who attends anonymous addict meetings of all sorts to get the attention and love she can't from her self-absorbed family) and Miles (Mr. Gay and Proud of it theater man) to the social bullies (Stacia Miller, the leader, Miss Teen Perfection with more dirty laundry then a laundry mat), no one is perfect. And for Ever that is less of a reassuring concept and more of a distress because she can't even pretend that they might be.
I was relieved to see that Ever wasn't the sort to just be a push over when it came to Damen either. He messes up, a lot, and makes a scramble of things, a lot, and Ever calls him on it. Unfortunately for him he suffers the misconception of thinking that Ever is perfect--he acknowledges the trauma of the past and her inability to move on from it, but he holds this static image of her in his head that doesn't evolve until closer to the end when things become apparent that he overlooked.
The only complaint I have is with Haven. From an outsider's perspective she doesn't seem like a good friend at all. Or rather she's fine as long as Ever remains an anti-social misfit hiding inside an oversized hoodie, but when Ever makes strides towards coming out of the bubble she becomes catty, jealous and angry. As if its a betrayal of some sort. I felt bad for Ever because it was obvious she wanted to make Haven happy, but by being herself it just made Haven angry.(less)
I have never been interested in Lewis Carroll's books, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I saw the Disney movie, as I'm...moreI have never been interested in Lewis Carroll's books, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I saw the Disney movie, as I'm sure most kids in my peer group had, but the movie didn't make me want to read the books. When I grew older and went looking for books to read I picked up both books, gave them a look through and decided they weren't for me. The story just was too outlandish for me (which is saying something considering my reading tastes). I was fascinated by the Disney Channel show (Adventures in Wonderland), but that show was so very different from other shows of the time (Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum as hip hop artists for instance) that it was hard not to be interested I think.
Upon meeting the author at this past New York Comic Con however, I have revised my opinion slightly and read both books (to compare). Still not interested in the original novels, but it gave me a better appreciation of The Looking Glass Wars!
Princess Alyss Heart suffers quite a bit--though not so much physically, but more mentally and emotionally. Its understandable that she would want to fit in, after being so cruelly mocked for years and her one vindication--the book--just making matters worse, I don't blame her. Equally though I was relieved to see her not play the priss for too long once things settle back to normalcy. It would have been heartily annoying to have her go from such a lively, spirited young girl to a spoiled, bratty whiner.
Beddor certainly did his best to alter each familiar character with just the right twist so as to make you wonder how you ever saw them otherwise. Hatter Madigan for instance--or rather the Mad Hatter or Bibwit Harte--the White Rabbit or even Redd. Oh Redd. I really enjoyed her theatrics--so vicious, so petty, so imperfect, I loved her despite being the 'evil' of the book. I rather less enjoyed the Cat, her half-feline/half-human assassin (the Cheschire Cat). The Cheschire Cat was the only character of the original novel I liked even a little bit. The Caterpillar definitely stayed the same--right down to his nonsensical, stuffy and obnoxious ways.
The story moves at a quick pace, alternating event viewpoints from Alyss' adventures, to Hatter Madigan's search for her, to Redd's tyrannical rule and some time is spent on Dodge Anders (Alyss' childhood friend) and Jack of Diamonds (a worm of a boy who plays both sides) so we get a very well rounded view of things. We never see Redd alone, but then such a paranoid personage as herself wouldn't trust to be alone (who knows what her subordinates are scheming if she isn't there to watch?).
The end sets up for the next book, obviously as this is a trilogy, but is satisfactory in tying up the loose ends that could be tied up and giving us a glimpse of things to come.(less)
The second book in Beddor's Looking Glass Wars trilogy picks up fairly closely to the end of the first book. 3 lunar cycles (I'm guessing this means m...moreThe second book in Beddor's Looking Glass Wars trilogy picks up fairly closely to the end of the first book. 3 lunar cycles (I'm guessing this means months) later and Queen Alyss is doing her best to reassure the people that White Imagination is once again dominate.
There is a little bit of a mislead throughout the book as well, in who's actually the source of evil and motives. King Arch, briefly mentioned and shown in the first book, is a central character this time around (with all his sexist views) and Jack of Diamonds, unfortunately, makes a return appearance. His parents aren't the brightest ever. Redd is more cunning then in the first book, using subterfuge as a way to win out. I admired her, despite her evilness, because she didn't just whine about what she lost (like Jack) or spout impossible ideas (like Arch), but had a solid plan which would have worked.
Hatter Madigan, this poor guy, is put through the ringer. He did take his leave, as he said he would at the end of Book 1, and didn't plan on coming back. We learn more about the civilian he loved, Weaver and what secrets she carried. Which all relates back to Molly (I'm sure you can guess how) and has a surprising turn of events. Doesn't last long however. Molly is also put through the ringer--unsure of herself, prideful of her abilities but shamed by her birth, young and basically self-trained, Arch takes advantage of that weakness.
In the end I enjoyed this book moreso then the first. I enjoyed learning more about the other lands surrounding Wonderland (even if Borderland is...what it is) and despite the ending leaving itself very open to a sequel, I can't be too upset over that. The conflicts of THIS book were resolved and the ending opened the door to a new conflict.(less)
I first picked this book up on a whim. I heard about it from another source a few years back and saw that it had several authors in it that I read as...moreI first picked this book up on a whim. I heard about it from another source a few years back and saw that it had several authors in it that I read as a child/middle schooler. At the time I had little experience with censorship or banned books (my school district, by in large, held an indifferent opinion towards the reading material of their students) so when I saw that Judy Blume had been censored several times I kind of stared in stupification. It's Judy Blume for crying out loud--she was almost as popular a choice for me as the Baby Sitter's Club books or the Boxcar Children. I never in my life thought she was inappropriate.
Apparently quite a few people did.
In her introduction to "Places I Never Meant To Be" (which you can read online here, at her webpage) she talks about a particular book that first her mother told her she couldn't read until she was older, and then a public librarian told her she couldn't read without permission from her parents. A Rage to Live by John O'Hara was the book. I never read it, but Blume explains that once she had read it far from being influenced by the going-ons of the characters in the book, she was interested in reading the rest of O'Hara's books.
The other contributors to the anthology don't express similar stories, but they do talk about when their books had been challenged, their feelings, how it influenced their writing or the fight that ensued. Their stories push the boundaries of what is considered 'age appropriate'. In "Spear" by Julius Lester, he tackles the issue of a mixed-race (potential) couple when both sides are racist and narrow-minded, in "Going Sentimental" Rachel Viehl paints an unfettered look at losing one's virginity, and in "You Come, too, A-ron" by Harry Mazer talks about Aaron and Kenny in the foster system.
These aren't stories filled with sex, drugs and (my favorite reason for censorship) disrespect for authorities and adults. They're real stories about real problems teenagers face. Some end well, others end sadly and a few end with a bittersweet wistfulness, but they don't try to sugar coat reality. And maybe that's why parents and teachers censor or ban their books. Keep the real world from intruding. They can't change reality, but they can keep it from touching the children as long as possible.
Not all the stories were to my liking. Katherine Paterson's story "The Red Dragonfly" seemed disjointed to me and too subtle (and I credit her book, Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom, as first getting me interested in asian history) for me to understand. And other authors I had never read before (oddly Norma Fox Mazer and Walter Dean Meyers, though I remember their books on my shelves).
I don't read genre fiction as a rule (reality depresses me), but I don't think that I am meant to 'enjoy' the book. Not in the same way that I enjoy Brandon Sanderson's epic fantasies or Georgette Heyer's historical romances at least. This anthology was thought-provoking and interesting, something I recommend if you want stories to discuss and reflect on. (less)
I'll start off first by saying--omg how much did I want this book? I might be a little biased, since I have adored the series since the very first, bu...moreI'll start off first by saying--omg how much did I want this book? I might be a little biased, since I have adored the series since the very first, but I'm so glad I got a copy a little early. Next, for those of you who haven't yet gotten around to reading Storm Glass (for whatever reason, I don't judge) don't feel that you'll be lost jumping into this second book. The first 100 pages or so of Sea Glass has a pretty intensive overview of what happens in the first book through interactions and conversations. Its not like 'exposition drop', but if you've read or re-read the book recently you'll find yourself skimming passages a little more frequently then in Yelena's books.
The book itself! After the huge revelation in Storm Glass about Ulrick and Devlen's connection, you'd think Opal would be that much wiser. I'm not so certain she is. More cautious, but wiser? Not so much since Devlen manages to trick her a couple of times and Ulrick...well Ulrick is just difficult to deal with. To be fair she has a lot stacked against. Like Yelena, Opal's actions are judged critically through fear, paranoia and the careful manipulation of facts by enemies.
I was happy to see that the whole romance angle was worked out for this book. The synopsis is slightly misleading, but the author purposely had it changed that way so that spoilers for Storm Glass weren't covering the back cover. As much as possible (in a continuous series) MVS tries to keep things vague and 'in the moment' so that spoilers don't ruin a new reader's perception (which is nice since I can't tell you how many times I've picked up the third or second in a series and been spoiled for plot twist major from Book 1).
Janco plays a bigger role in this book then in the previous one. Which made me gleeful. I love Janco (and Ari) and lamented the fact there isn't more of them. Fisk too (a minor character from the Study series that, more or less, worked his way up the supporting character ladder to become pretty important in Sitia) makes several appearances.
What's interesting is to see the unraveling of a society. Between the events of the Study series and the events transpiring around Opal, Sitia is becoming a messy, paranoid country (or at least the leaders are). The Council is making more mercenary decisions, treating each suspicious piece of evidence as hard proof and being secretive. Not for anything, but I can see why the Commander is so reluctant to work with them on allowing magic in Ixia. Ixia might not be the perfect place, but a lot their problems stemmed from magic (Mogkan for instance) and the consequences thereof. The Council stood back for far too long and let things run rampant, their sudden 'we're in trouble, batten down the hatches' attitude isn't being helpful.
If, like me, you pick up a first press release of Sea Glass you're likely to see that on the last page it says 'Stay Tuned for more in Fall 2011'. MVS assured me that the next book is due out in the Fall of 2010, the publishers just printed the wrong year (and forgot her acknowledgements as well). If, also like me, you finish the book and scream that its a pretty important cliffhanger and why are we waiting for a year to find out what happens--take heart in three things:
1) MVS' young adult novel, Inside Out, is due out in the Spring of 2010 from Harlequin Teen. Not set in Ixia/Sitia (but a whole new world), but still. Get a MVS fix where you can.
2) MVS' newsletter (published once every two months or so depending on her schedule) ordinarily has a short story set between the events of books (or concurrent to events from a different character's perspective). Right now a mini-series called 'Ice Study' is under way. E-mail her at any time to get the back chapters and join the list!
3) This is par for the course. Anyone who picked up Luna's original printing of Magic Study and waited for them to put out Fire Study had a cruel awakening when the books switched to Mira (a different imprint), had to be re-released as new trade paperbacks (no more mass market or hardcovers) and THEN Fire Study came out. Almost two years later. Having Storm Glass, and six months later Sea Glass, come out so close together was a wonderful vacation. Welcome back to reality. We still have nothing on the Wheel of Time fans.(less)