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Poison Study #3

Fire Study

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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.

441 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2008

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About the author

Maria V. Snyder

82 books16.9k followers
When Maria V. Snyder was younger, she aspired to be a storm chaser in the American Midwest so she attended Pennsylvania State University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology. Much to her chagrin, forecasting the weather wasn’t in her skill set so she spent a number of years as an environmental meteorologist, which is not exciting...at all. Bored at work and needing a creative outlet, she started writing fantasy and science fiction stories. Over twenty novels and numerous short stories later, Maria’s learned a thing or three about writing. She’s been on the New York Times bestseller list, won a dozen awards, and has earned her Masters of Arts degree in Writing from Seton Hill University, where she is now a faculty member. Her favorite color is red. She loves dogs, but is allergic, instead she has a big black tom cat named…Kitty (apparently naming cats isn’t in her skill set either). Maria also has a husband and two children who are an inspiration for her writing when they aren't being a distraction. Note: She mentions her cat before her family.

When she's not writing she's either playing volleyball, traveling, or taking pictures. Being a writer, though is a ton of fun. Where else can you take fencing lessons, learn how to ride a horse, study marital arts, learn how to pick a lock, take glass blowing classes and attend Astronomy Camp and call it research? Maria will be the first one to tell you it's not working as a meteorologist.

Readers are welcome to check out her website for book excerpts, free short stories, maps, blog, and her schedule at http://www.MariaVSnyder.com.

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5 stars
20,272 (33%)
4 stars
21,358 (35%)
3 stars
14,009 (23%)
2 stars
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1 star
1,062 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,142 reviews
Profile Image for Lyndsey.
126 reviews3,149 followers
February 7, 2011
For me, the Study series has been on a descending scale of awesomeness.

A jaunty, double-spaced, fried zombie? Where?!

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!

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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?). 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.

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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.

My review for the first book: Poison study
Second book: Magic Study
Profile Image for Simona B.
892 reviews2,985 followers
June 16, 2016
Do you know how long it took me to finish this? Too long. But I acknowledge that's not saying much when even a few seconds of this masterpiece of boredom would have been too long.

After finishing Magic Study, I knew that it would be a mistake to pick up the third book. But I already had it, and I still retained a little hope that it could be better after all, and I wanted to be done with this series, and well, I guess I'm just a finisher by nature. So sue me. (Even though one of all the horrible books I force myself to finish no matter what will kill me one day or the other. It's just written in the stars.)

Now, what's the problem with Fire Study, or rather, with both Magic Study and Fire Study?
They are insignificant.
They seem to not add anything to the story even though a lot of (random/predictable, repetitive) things happen and a lor of (banal, flat, sterotypical) characters are introduced. They try to make of Yelena a complex protagonist struggling to get hold of her immense magical powers (I thought nothing could bring me to detest that trope, which I swear, it's one of my all-time favorites) and miserably fail. Her relationship with Valek can be generously summarized with a nonchalant "Hey, here you are! Where have you been and why are you here?" followed by an equally charming "Why talk when we can fuck?". The plot goes round and round never taking a step forward just to pad the story out.

And to think the first book was so delicious. What happened?
Profile Image for Angie.
645 reviews997 followers
April 4, 2008
I felt a bit blue last night as I finished Fire Study, the third and final volume in Maria V. Snyder's Study Trilogy. Though she is currently working on a new series following a side character from the Study books, this is the last one to center on the adventures of Yelena, the convicted murderer, turned poison taster, turned diplomatic liaison. I felt blue because I'd been expecting more and I ended up finishing it more out of a feeling of obligation than because I was truly engrossed.

The story picks up shortly after the events of Magic Study leave off. Yelena, her brother Leif, and the mercurial Moon Man are busy trying to mop up the Soulstealer's mess and dealing with accusations from the Mage's Council. First Magician Roze Featherstone is calling for Yelena's head on a platter and there is little rest for the weary on the horizon. The problem is, very little happens from this point on. Or rather, very little new stuff happens.

What there is is page after page of no one believing Yelena that Roze really is That Evil. Page after page of people stabbing each other with curare left and right (and waking up from being stabbed). Page after page of no Valek. And when he is there Yelena's not letting him help her. Instead she spends the majority of her time worrying about his potential demise and trying to protect him from a threat he's much better equipped to deal with than anyone else in the book. Towards the last three quarters of the story, the characters do start to wake up and act like themselves. They begin to deal with some of the meatier issues hanging over them just as the book reaches its end. And I felt myself wondering what took them so long? And wishing that the wonderfully dark, emotional atmosphere and tension from Poison Study were present here. Because I missed them.
Profile Image for Limonessa.
300 reviews507 followers
August 15, 2011
What a pity. This is the only coherent thought in my mind after finishing the Study series. After an oustanding debut followed by a mediocre sequel, the final installment was NOT the proper ending to something that could have been memorable. Not because of the way it ended, because that was pretty satisfying. In fact, it got 2 stars from me instead of one just because Snyder eventually delivered what is so painfully expected throughout the whole - excessively long - book.
If I had to describe in two words, I'd say: TEDIOUS and OVERDESCRIPTIVE. Man, was I bored. The first 150 pages about the rescue mission in the Daviian plains were loooong and boooooring and just superfluous. I caught myself skipping parts, wandering with my mind elsewhere - the Beauty and the Beast cartoon that my kids were watching was more interesting at times - and just being outright irritated with the dragging on and on and on. What happened to Snyder? Where's the fantastic first book?? It looks like somebody else wrote it.
Yelena was one of my biggest problems in this book. In the first one, I loved her, related to her, felt sad and sympathized with her and her predicament. She is THE heroine. In this book, she just pissed me off the whole time. What an unlikable character. She makes mistakes the whole time, never listens to anybody, messes up continuously so much I just felt like smacking her and sending HER freaking soul to the underworld. Geeze.
And it doesnt get much better with the other characters, either.
Valek appears yet again really late in the book - yes, after that tiresome neverending rescue mission - and again is so secondary to the character of Yelena he seems there just to be her supporting actor. The Valek I remember from the first book was a well formed and independent character, not this indestructible guardian angel who appears only when Yelena - yet again - f*cks up.
I can safely say that the most interesting character in this book for me is KIKI... the horse.
Plot-wise, I wonder if Snyder brainstormed and then forgot to give it a sense before jotting it down. It is intricated, convoluted and so badly planned, sometimes it looks as if the author changed her mind about the sequence of happenings WHILE she was actually writing it down. Not nice and difficult to follow. And uninteresting, I'd say.
So sadly and with my heart torn to pieces, I give this book 2 stars only because it ended ok. But really, giving birth to my two kids was easier than reading this.
Profile Image for Felicia.
Author 47 books128k followers
April 27, 2008
Ugh. Well, I was obsessed with Poison Study, and Magic Study was pretty good, but this book really didn't satisfy. I found myself skimming it a lot, and I felt bad doing it.

For some reason the whole reason I liked the series in the first place dwindled throughout this concluding novel to where I forgot what charmed me in the first place. It wasn't horrible, just not the direction I wanted or expected it to go. I guess an author has to do what he/she thinks the series should do, but it went so far astray from what worked so well initially, I can't help but feel frustrated as a reader.

I will read this authors future work, definitely, but will not be putting this book in the "keeper" pile with Poison Study.
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
369 reviews979 followers
September 15, 2022
“There's always another storm. It's the way the world works. Snowstorms, rainstorms, windstorms, sandstorms, and firestorms. Some are fierce and others are small. You have to deal with each one separately, but you need to keep an eye on what’s brewing for tomorrow.”

This is actually more of a 4.5 star rating. Yelena is so determined, clever, strong, and stubborn, which makes for a very enjoyable protagonist, but for some reason, it took me about 100 pages before I actually got into the storyline. The pacing for this novel was all over the place. Until that 100-page mark, this book didn’t even feel like a finale, just simply another instalment in the series, which is rather disappointing. :(

Having said that, Yelena did disappoint me in the middle of the book because of how her fear for her friends’ safety caused her to treat them quite poorly. She became a rather cruel and manipulative person, who justified actions that, deep down, she knew were wrong. At least her brother, Leif, called her out on it: “Truthfully, I didn’t like the distrustful and mean person you became in Ixia. The fire brought my real sister back. So be careful, as I’d like to keep her around for a while.” Yes, I’ve FINALLY warmed up to Leif haha. xD

Yet again, I’m going to complain about the minimal time spent with Valek, Ari, and Janco. They were such fundamental characters in the first instalment of this trilogy, Poison Study, yet they only became involved in the plot more than halfway through the book. Ugh. They deserved A LOT more attention in this series!!! Grrr… Hopefully, this shall be remedied in the Soulfinders trilogy.

I also didn’t like Cahill’s character arc because it was quite confusing. His actions made no sense and he kept flip-flopping on his goals. Did he want to rule Ixia by any means possible, or not? I found this subplot to be completely unnecessary. He kept giving me whiplash, whenever he popped up in the book.

WOW. This review sounds SO negative…I swear I did like this book!!! :P

Speaking of Valek, he and Yelena made an adorable couple and I love them so, so much! <3 They are so loving and protective of each other, yet remained independent enough to do what needed to be done, apart from one another, without moping about it or thinking of each other constantly. They were so loyal and respectful to each other. <3 THIS is what an equal partnership looks like. They can take care of themselves and admire each other for their individual strengths. They knew that they loved each other, but focused on the task at hand, rather than fixating on kissing each other, like some couples that I could mention in various YA series… Valek is and always will be the highlight of the Study trilogy for me! :D

“I had hoped to hear everyone discussing how much they missed my altruistic qualities, my legendary skills as a fighter and as a lover." He leered. "Instead, you're making plans for tomorrow. Interesting how life goes on in spite of itself.” Haha! Oh, Valek…<3

Ari and Janco were the perfect, older brothers that we all wish we had. They were so funny and protective of Yelena, their adoptive little sister. They were also so loyal to Valek and always ready for half-arsed plans that couldn’t possibly work out well, yet somehow always did.

My favourite sassy, little horse, Kiki, was amazing, as well! With her simplistic ideologies of the world, it would be a happier place if she were in charge. I absolutely adored how loyal she was to Yelena and how she worried over the safety of her “Lavender Lady.” 

While a number of aspects of this novel admittedly disappointed me, I did love this book as I was reading it because of how attached I am to this world and its characters. Although, considering how disinterested I am with Opal’s storyline in the Glass trilogy, I shall be reading the Study novellas and the following Soulfinders trilogy instead (thus, deviating from the publication order), after a small interlude. <3 I need more Valek in my life! ;)
Profile Image for Anja H..
732 reviews449 followers
October 19, 2016

“There's always another storm. It's the way the world works. Snowstorms, rainstorms, windstorms, sandstorms, and firestorms. Some are fierce and others are small. You have to deal with each one separately, but you need to keep an eye on whats brewing for tomorrow.”

Ahh, be still my beating heart!
So sad to see this series end... but thank god for the sequel trilogy that I'm definitely going to read asap! I need more Yelena (and Valek, duh) in my life!

This book didn't quite reach the high standards I'd set because of the previous two books though. The first 200 pages (which is pretty much half of this book) dragged on and were a bit repetitive even. Always the same curare shit, Yelena trying to save the day but kind of failing to do so... At some point I was so annoyed with it all that I wanted to quit!

The last 200 pages made up for A LOT though! So many things happened in such quick succession that I still haven't wrapped my head around most of it lol. The second part definitely had me on the edge of my seat pretty much the entire time.
Profile Image for Maria V. Snyder.
Author 82 books16.9k followers
May 4, 2020
A heart pounding conclusion to the first Study trilogy ;)
Profile Image for Puck.
646 reviews299 followers
February 10, 2017
3 stars for a book in which, once again, Snyder butchers her great characters to keep the story running.

Wow, I can hardly believe the series ends like this. Poison Study was amazing, Magic Study was awful, and although Fire Study is slightly better than the second book, it's still not as good as the first one.

“It's the problem with mistakes, they tend to linger.”
(Yelena should tell this to Snyder, not to Cahill)

First important thing to know: the plot is almost similar to that of Magic Study. Yelena spends the largest part of the book chasing bad guys, the Master Magicians and the Council of Sitia are still suspicious of her and her rare magical abilities, and again we have a rogue magician coming after Yelena for mysterious reasons. Add some new characters and Valek appearing halfway through the story…and that’s basically the plot.

But although Fire Study won’t win the originality-price, the book actually started off great. Okay, the hunt for Ferde and Cahill takes up 183 pages of the book – way too many – but now Snyder’s usual fast-paced writing didn’t butt heads with the storyline. We get some suspenseful rescue-missions with the Zaltana’s, and it was great to see Yelena and Leif get time to bond as brother and sister.
I also found it hilarious that Yelena remarked multiple times that, apart from her Soulfinder-magic, she can’t do anything else – which was my main problem with Magic Study: Yelena actually didn’t learn anything.

However, after the quest Yelena and Co. end up at the Capitol where the story strands in political debates. Now I like politics as much as the next PoliSci-student, but these discussions were just pointless and killed the tension and the story-flow. They only result in Yelena having to flee constantly because she's labeled a criminial, while she moans about ‘being afraid of her powers’ and how she has to ‘push people away to protect them from her.’

Uhhh, what? What happened to the brave, intelligent Yelena I got to know in Poison Study!? And what’s even worse is that all the characters in this book are a shell of what they used- or could be. The earlier family bonding between Leif and Yelena is forgotten and Leif becomes distrustful and broody again. When Valek, our broody assassin, finally appears he keeps calling Yelena “My Love” and spends his time having sex and helping her fight. Janco and Ari are only there to provide comic relief, and Kiki the horse is more helpful than those two combined. WTF!

Not even the bad guys have a logical reason to be evil! Which is pretty awful considering Yelena Vs. The One True Villain is the main- and final battle of this book. I won't rant about it for too long, but to me it seemed like Snyder couldn’t quite decide on who the True Villain is. In the end we do get the answer to "who is it?" but I found it a bad decision and a waste of an intriguing character.

And that’s the main problem that I have with this series: Maria Snyder has no problem letting her characters act (completely) out of character to keep the story going. She wants to tell a story that involves political intrigues, magic battles, and strong characters that can deal with all that evil. However the characters should be the ones that move the story forward, not the plot itself. Now the books, specifically book 2 & 3, feel rushed, badly researched, and unloved. How am I supposed to care for the characters if their own writer doesn’t give them the respect and good writing they deserve?

To not finish the review on an unhappy note, here is what I did like about Fire Study and why I gave it 1 star more than the second book.
1. The hunt for Cahill and Ferde in the first part of the book was really exciting and had some great, tense scenes.
2. The bonding between Leif and Yelena was, as long as it lasted, amazing. I always knew that there was more to Leif that we got to see, and book 3 proved me right. Yay!
3. Yelena’s angst dragged on too long, but it was well founded. If the last Soulfinder was a necromancer, I’d be afraid of my powers too. I also loved how real Yelena was about her narrow knowledge of magic, no matter how strong her own powers were. So apart from her whining, Yelena was back to being the awesome MC that she was in Poison Study. ☺
4. And the whole book had a continuous pace Vs. Magic Study that suddenly went from 30 to 120.

Conclusion: Not the greatest ending to a series, but it’d have been worse. I’d recommend people to only read Poison Study and stop there, because in my opinion the series doesn’t get better from there. Fire Study was an okay book, but the unoriginal plot and the OCC-ness of the characters really bothered me.

2,5/3 stars it is.

Read here my other reviews of the Study trilogy:
#1 Poison Study| #2 Magic Study
Profile Image for Heather.
293 reviews13.9k followers
December 20, 2016
I must live to torment myself. I endured the craziness that was Magic Study, read the reviews for Fire Study, which were much worse than Magic Study, and yet I read Fire Study anyway, which is my way. So, I guess I only have myself to blame, but I’m blaming Snyder too.

Having read 448 pages of Yelena’s inability to ask the most mundane questions, face the most blatant truths, fret over the safety of people who were far more capable than she, getting kidnapped, and placing her trust in people who had already proven several times before that they cannot be trusted, I was hoping for something a million times more genius and complex than what was delivered in this book. After all, I had to endure all things Yelena in addition to:
Leif copping a tude at the drop of a hat
Valek getting his hair burnt off
Yelena getting her hair burnt off
People getting accosted and nearly raped by necklace snakes (yes, I’m serious)
Cliché stereotypes (Moon Man and all the other Sand Seeds)
Clichéd evil masterminds intent on mayhem for no apparent reason
5 pages devoted to blowing glass (I’ve been to Gatlinburg thank you, why was the glassblowing tutorial necessary?)
But after reading all the above mentioned drivel all I got was an ending that was so grating that I felt as though I had been slapped. This entire story could have been chucked and should have been as apparently Moon Man holds all the answers to the universe and the only thing needed to defeat the bad guy/gals was for Yelena to ask, which she did not do until page 440. So don’t be like me. Don’t read this book hoping that all the other reviewers were wrong. Sometimes it’s true that majority rules, except in the case of Shiver and Breaking Dawn, but that is a whole other story.
Profile Image for Tweebs♥️ .
184 reviews837 followers
April 2, 2017
I ended up finishing this because my curiosity has been restored. Seriously, I couldn't even with this anymore. I lost faith in it BUT I'm just happy I don't have this book chilling on my "Currently-Reading" shelf. It was lowkey bothering me >.<

Oh, how I wished this book lived up to my expectations.

It was bleh

Yup, it was bleh.

This is my review.

Good day folks *salutes*
Profile Image for Maggie ☘.
534 reviews654 followers
February 9, 2017
“Nothing like having a warrant for your execution to get a girl motivated.”

I admired Yelena for her strength, clever mind (Which is, of course, a strength on its own) and her Soulfinder abilities. I loved Valek, his loyalty and respect for her.

And I loved their independent relationship so freaking much! Valek and Yelena love each other, but they don't spend every minute of every day together. Or constantly whining and thinking about each other and nothing else. They do other important things - like their job - first. Get things done and then comes anything else. And you know what? I loved this aspect of their relationship so so much!

They are not only loyal to one another, but also to their work - Valek to the Commander - and their countries.
Valek knows that Yelena can protect and take care of herself very well. He admires her strength and intelligence. She makes her own decisions without him interfering. They are equal. As they should be. (As every couple should be).
But the sad truth is, it's pretty rare in YA literature. And I have to say it again - I love them so freaking much! They're one of my biggest otp.

And you know what, I even started to like Leif, Yelena's brother, which I didn't think was possible when reading Magic Study. Ari and Janco were perfect duo as always. >brotp< And there was plenty of my beloved Kiki, Yelena's cute horse.
Fire Study was full of action, intrigue, magic and friendship.

“Lief. That's not nice, considering all your sister has done for you," admonished Perl.
"Oh right. How could I forget that she made me bait for a snake, left me on house arrest in Ixia, and smuggled me into the Keep in a coffin.”
Profile Image for Angela.
756 reviews96 followers
April 24, 2009
2 stars is still pretty generous for this book. Bleh. I was so disappointed. Reading these 3 books was a similar experience to the Eragon books ... LOVED the first one, thought the second one was good but not as good as the previous, and forced my way through the third one while skipping massive pages and not caring what I missed.

Comparing POISON STUDY to MAGIC STUDY and FIRE STUDY, I think what I didn't like the most was the 1st book was so different from the last 2. I loved the mystery of Yelena's past and Valek's motivations. I loved the way Yelena and Valek were together and not just in a romantic sense (though I loved that aspect and wished we got to see them have more of a "relationship" other than just getting it on whenever they were together). I felt like so much of the story (at least in POISON STUDY) was about BOTH Yelena and Valek. So that when the next 2 books are really Yelena's story that Valek makes an appearance in once in a while I just wasn't as interested.

I honestly almost didn't finish this book and I probably didn't read even half of the words.
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,727 reviews1,279 followers
February 26, 2015
This was a good story, but I did find it a little confusing in places.

Yelena was really strong in this book, she stood up and took charge, and once again wasn’t afraid to go into dangerous situations when the lives of those she loved depended on it.

The storyline in this was good, but I did get confused in places; I just found some bits a little hard to follow, but I think I got the gist of what was going on eventually!

There was a little bit of romance in this one, but I could always have done with a bit more Valek ♡

The ending was good, and it was interesting to meet Opal whose story I will be reading next! On to the glass series!
7 out of 10
Profile Image for Lucie V..
974 reviews1,797 followers
March 2, 2022
✅ Action
✅ World-building
✅🆗 Characters
✅🆗 Funny moments / Banter
🆗 Romance
🆗 Plot and pace

It took me a while to get into this book, I can’t say exactly why… I also missed Valek, Ari, and Janco, we have not seen them enough since the end of Poison Study.

Yelena is a strong female leader, she is determined and clever, and I really liked her in the first two books. I must say though that I was disappointed with her choices in this book. It’s a case of doing the wrong thing for the right reason, but she still manipulated her friends and was mean and even cruel at times, all in an attempt to protect them. I started to like Leif more in this book actually because he called her out on her shitty attitude.

I like the fact that even though Valek and Yelena are so in love with each other and protective, they still let the other make their own decisions and they remain independent. They know that sometimes they have to make tough choices, but they are not afraid to do so to do what needs to be done for the greater good.

Poison Study ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
Assassin Study ⭐⭐⭐
Magic Study ⭐⭐⭐.5

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Profile Image for Kells Next Read .
528 reviews534 followers
January 5, 2016
 photo insanely brilliant _zpsqpz1yd4u.gif

Yes Yes Yes this was a wonderful conculsion...Oh wait...shoot just checked and it's seems to be a series. Yeah!!!!! So much suspense, revelations and plot twist that my head still hurts. I have no regrets from the time invested into this. Love all the characters ( especially Valek and Yelena ).

Me after a three day marathon this series:
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But I'm totally cool with it. I'm in no way panicking or feeling any withdrawal symptoms. You don't believe me?...Whew... well here's a picture of me looking totally fine and dealing with finishing this awesome three day marathon:
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Profile Image for Caitlin.
339 reviews700 followers
February 9, 2017
You've been in the midst of trouble ever since you became the Commander's food taster, love.

I honestly have 0 idea about what to say in this review. I finished this book 3 hours ago and I'm still like ???? what just happened. This was definitely the hardest of the trilogy to get into. The first 100 pages I wasn't loving but damn the last 300 pages were full of twists and turns and crazy events. I'm still trying to process all that happened in this book. This book seemed to take place over the largest period of time and a whole chapter took place over 71 days. SEVENTY-ONE DAYS IN ONE CHAPTER WHAT. I was a little confused as to some of the dynamics of this book and I did forget who half of our problems were but either way I really enjoyed this book.

I'm ridiculously happy that this book will not be the end of Yelena and Valek's story because I NEED SO MUCH MORE. When the book ended I was 200% not prepared to leave these characters but thank god there's more to this story (and luckily it's all published and I own them all so I won't have to wait years for publication).

My biggest complaint about this entire series is why is Valek always missing? I swear he's gone for about 50% of every book and I'm 200% not okay with this. I think the next 3 books are dual POV so I'm definitely looking forward to that. Also, I need more Ari and Janco. WHY ARE THEY ALWAYS MISSING FOR SO MUCH. I MISS THE WHOLE GANG BEING TOGETHER 24/7 LIKE IN POISON STUDY.

But you, sir, are the best thing that's happened to me all day, all week and, now that I think about it, all season.

I completely love the magic in this book and the world that's been created. There wasn't much of a resolution for the whole 2 countries fighting each other storyline so I'm definitely glad that there is more to come in the Soulfinder trilogy.

I was 200% glad that we got a really clear description of Yelena's magic and how it works:

I still love all the characters and I even grew to love some characters more. Yelena is still an amazing main character and I love experiencing this story in her POV. Valek is as amazing as ever but I NEED MORE! I want way more Valek scenes in future books. I was iffy on Leif in Magic Study but omfg I loved him in this book. He's just a precious cinnamon roll and I need MORE.

You keep things interesting, love. It would be boring without you.

I'll end this review here because I'm still high key confused about what I just experiences but if you haven't picked up this series then YOU NEED TO ASAP
Profile Image for Devin The Book Dragon.
240 reviews98 followers
December 20, 2018
3.5/5 stars.

I loved this first trilogy of this world! I haven't read something I loved this much in so long. I was really hooked on the first book, and although the second book was vastly different that the first, I still enjoyed it enough to give it five stars.

Having said that, I didn't like this conclusion as much. I still love Maria V. Snyder's voice in her writing. It is easy to follow and comprehend. It's just this last book felt a little all over the place. Really slow in some parts, but too fast in others. The setting also changes like 75o28347502138 times. Grief is not explained well, deaths are not tragic, characters have underdeveloped arcs. It was a little bit of a let down. I still love the world, and I will continue on with the Glass trilogy after a small break.
Profile Image for Laura.
296 reviews15 followers
April 10, 2008
Unfortunately, this series has gone the way of many "chicks-who-kick-butt" stories go, where apparently no one is capable of doing anything (or thinking, or even desiring to think, for that matter) except for the unflappable, clever, sarcastic heroine. The voice has become modern/mainstream enough that it kills the other-world feel (this Pegasus is lacking true wings). There's some creativity to the world and magic system, so I still enjoyed the book, even if the characters have become flat as the paper they're printed on.
Profile Image for Erin.
232 reviews103 followers
November 23, 2011
1.5 stars

It took me over a month to read this book. That seriously just boggles my mind. For some perspective, I read the first book in one day. Heck, I read the entire Harry Potter series in five days, and the 1,000+ page The Count of Monte Cristo in four days. So I'm kind of embarrassed that it took me so long to read this book.

Want my advice? Stop after Poison Study. I know, I know, I received that advice myself and clearly didn't follow it. But you should learn from my mistakes and STOP AFTER THE FIRST BOOK! The second one, Magic Study, isn't that bad, but if you read it you'll feel obligated to read this one, and that is a decision you don't want to make.

Here's a quick overview of what was so wrong with Fire Study:
1. The Writing
I'm sure Snyder's writing has always been... how do I say it... not too hot. But here, there was absolutely nothing good going on to distract me from her "trying too hard" style of writing. It's clearly not natural for her, or for Yelena's voice, so she should stick with a more down-to-earth, matter-of-fact style. Yeesh. At one point, relief and joy were frolicking in Yelena's heart. Sounds fun, I guess...

2. The Dialogue
Obviously, this is connected with Snyder's writing, but it still deserves its own category. My favorite awful moment: Cahil pops up out of nowhere and is going to ruin all their plans! Oh noes! And what does he say? "Oh no. This will not do." I laughed a lot when I probably should have been scared. Not that Cahil is a particularly scary character anyway. It's kind of impossible for me to dislike him after I grew creepily fond of him in Magic Study.

3. The Plot
Oh. My. Dear. The plot was so transparent it was painful. There was this big "plot twist" that occured on page 364. Guess when I figured it out?

Before page 100.

4. The Message
I'm not sure if "message" is the right word to use here, but I'm going with it. Overall, there were some things that just didn't sit right with me. In the first book, I admired Yelena's resilience after being raped... now it's just starting to feel wrong. It's like rape was used as a plot device to make her story more sad, and now the author just doesn't want to deal with it. She never seems to think about it or have any emotional effects. She hasn't even told anyone yet. Okay, Snyder: 1. This book was boring, so an emotional scene like that probably would have helped, and 2. When you're writing YA (or upper, upper YA as this probably was), it's generally a good thing to have your character deal with rape instead of pretending it didn't happen. Unless you're writing one of those books where the entire point is that every character sucks and so does life, but I don't think you meant the Study series to be those kind of books.
Also, and this is a much smaller issue, everyone's love for the Commander is irritating to me. I mean, I like him as a character and stuff. But there were definitely points where I had Cahil's back in his whole takeover thing. You know why? Because assassinations gross me out. It bugs me that the Commander came to power by being a sneak and killing everyone instead of staging a real, fair takeover. But that's just me.

So... closing thoughts. There were moments, especially toward the very, very end, where I thought I might be getting my old Yelena back. (And my old Ari, Janco, Valek, Cahil, etc.) But the thing is, this book was bad. And now I have to officially take Poison Study off the list of books I use to give people good book ideas, because there's no way I can recommend this to anyone.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Mimi.
694 reviews191 followers
March 25, 2015
Lots of adventure and almost nonstop action, which I like, but Yelena's character development is something I'll have to think on some more. And also, the ending is sort of rushed. Otherwise, another good book in a thoroughly good series.

Full review of the Study Trilogy at Wordpress
Profile Image for Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.).
401 reviews429 followers
April 24, 2018
I was so excited when I started reading this book, I think I'm used to, in the trilogies that I read, that each book is better than the previous one, but this time I didn't feel that. I loved the first book and unlike most, I liked the second one even more, I think the Magic Study took a very interesting turn for the story and made the book impossible to put it down. Because of this and cause I love the characters, I was very excited to start with Fire Study...


3.5/5 Stars

You can find this one and more of my reviews on my blog A Book. A Thought.

Fire Study took a different direction than what I thought it would take, it's not bad, I was actually interested in knowing what the outcome would be like, but after finishing the second book my expectations were high and you can feel like the real war is coming. This made me believe that it would be explosive from the first pages but it wasn't, many of the first pages are focused on the main characters traveling from one place to another and in general that doesn't bother me but this time I found it kind of boring. I think that from the middle of the book onwards there is a great improvement in the plot and that is how I think it should have been from the beginning.

So I would say that the beginning seemed a bit heavy and I even thought that Yelena didn't behave like the Yelena I knew, that strong, smart and determined girl who won my heart, now was a pretty irrational and even annoying girl in certain dialogues. That made me feel frustrated as a reader, find a sudden change of attitude in the main character was a surprise but maybe the author was looking for something with this, I don't know.


Despite this weird beginning, where I felt a little bored and disappointed, I enjoyed the second part of the book, I think the plot really starts there. Even the Yelena that I love cameback, I'm glad to see Valek again, that always makes me happy, I also think that the relationship between them as well as that ofYelena with Leif have grown in many aspects and I found that very interesting, I always enjoy a good brotherhood bond and between these two something very good begins to grow during this book. I even began to enjoy more of the conflicts that were generated between them and how they faced the difficulties as well

The end seemed pretty good, I feel satisfied with it, I think the characters have gone an incredible path to reach this point and I think they have learned a lot in the course of it. Maria V. Snyder is a great writer, even though this book wasn't as amazing as I expected, I feel like I want to continue reading these books, the world is great and how the magic develops seems very interesting to me. I'll miss the characters, I'm not sure if any of them will appear in the following books so I don't know if I'll see them again, that makes me a little sad but I think that in the end everyone got what they deserved ....


I still recommend the trilogy, it's solid and entertaining, although I recommend lowering the expectations when it comes to this book so you don't get disappointed, but I'm sure you'll enjoy it, it's quite easy to read, so I think it's worth it
Profile Image for ♛ Garima ♛.
894 reviews178 followers
February 29, 2016
I picked this up right after finishing Magic Study.

The concept has been set so nice and complex; I didn't want to wait a single bit. The idea of story and plot line so well though but it was rather poorly executed. I was disappointed. At almost 75%, I was thinking of having this as DNF – it got that boring.

I don’t want to write an elaborated review even as I don’t feel anything for this. In first book of the series (Poison Study), the story setting and Valek saved it. In 2nd more unique characters and Valek (again) saved it. But as for 3rd, multiple plots (or pot holes), too many lose ends so even Valek failed to save it. The problem was (for me), there are so many things going on and I though at the end everything would be wrapped nice and tight, and that didn't happen. It was like this –

And then

The ending – it felt so rushed and involved lots of hocus pocus. It felt so rushed, at one point I though I’m reading this -

I was not impressed.

So overall, great beginning of series, OK mid-series and mediocre ending.
Would I read more of Study or other series? I can but –

Profile Image for Sara.
198 reviews144 followers
May 6, 2019
This book did me ugly, i'm so disapointed, i just wished that yelena would grow as an person and in her magic, and i'm also disapointed with what they did with valek , like ugh
Profile Image for Khadidja .
563 reviews397 followers
Shelved as 'dnfed'
February 11, 2018
Sorry, old friend. But i am on-hold zoning you.
Profile Image for • Lindsey Dahling •.
293 reviews612 followers
September 14, 2020
DNF at 29% (I think).

I’ve actively avoided reading this for two weeks now, so I think it’s time to call it.

There are so many new characters. We’re still not back with the Commander or Valek. Instead, MC is still running around in jungle snake land, doing nothing to progress the plot. I loved Valek and the Commander in the first book. The second one ended in a way to where I thought she was going to make her way back to them. But, nooooooooo. We’re too busy meeting all of the people on the globe and whining about how we hate killing but keep doing it anyway.

Notice I’m speaking in only vague pronouns as I’ve legitimately already forgotten the MC’s name. That’s how much I don’t care.

Call me when The Jungle Book is over, homegirl. ✌🏻
Profile Image for colleen the convivial curmudgeon.
1,155 reviews286 followers
January 21, 2011

Wow. So, this book was kind of difficult to get through. Up until about three-quarters of the way through, I was afraid I was going to end up hating it. Part of it was some of the negative reviews, but more of it was the fact that everyone was really being annoying.

There was some of this in the second book, too. People were holding unrealistic expectations of other people, people were demanding trust while being mistrustful, etc. And there's a lot more of that in this one, to the point where I pretty much wanted to reach through the book and smack everyone upside their collective and individual heads.

There were also parts, especially closer to the beginning, where the set-up of the story seemed like it was taking forever, and I kept thinking "this is the last book in the trilogy - something big better happen soon." Also, there was a lot of repetition of plot points. When

Luckily, just when I was getting so frustrated with it I was beginning to lament the whole thing, it started getting better. People stopped being quite so insufferable, Yelena got a grip (though, in fairness, there are still those unrealistic demands on the poor girl), and things moved along.

The ending was not perfect. I felt that the climax was rushed, and there were a few too many convenient happenings and last-minute epiphanies, but, overall, I was content with the ending. Partially because I'm a sucker for HEA endings, and, also, because I liked the little dangled threads which didn't make the story feel incomplete, but which could leave an opening for further entries in the Study series - which I certainly wouldn't mind there being, as long as Snyder can write it without everyone being so bloody annoying for 3/4 of the book.
Profile Image for Fey.
187 reviews71 followers
July 18, 2011
The truth is now out, and everyone knows that Yelena is a 'Soulfinder'. Most people don't like this, as the last known Soulfinder, only used his powers for evil, everyone sees only the evil possibilities, necromancy etc. The council must debate what to do with Yelena.

Meanwhile Yelena has heard that Ferde the Soulstealer is back, and sets out to hunt him down, only to learn that there are more enemies now than those she's fought before.

This book was a little disappointing after the decent start of the first in the trilogy. I've seen many people think the same way. It's not a very smooth read at all, a little jumbled and not entirely clear. I suppose it doesn't help that I read as fast as I could because I'd grown tired of the whole thing. But still, there were no memorable parts.

The plot is very sloppy, and the characters are grown even more bland. It's very easy in this book to tell a bad guy, they're always obvious, always. There is no subtlety of character at all.

Very disappointing. The Auther could have done better, I know this because the first book had actual plot. She does need to work on making subtler bad guys, and holding her original characters together, and not just turning them into bland easy plot devices.

Not recommended, but hope perhaps the author improves her writing in future.

See my other reviews of the Study trilogy:
#2 Magic Study |
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