Magic Study by Marie V. Snyder

Summary of the first book of the series, Poison Study

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…


“Living is a risk,’ I snapped at him. ‘Every decision, every interaction, every step, every time you get out of bed in the morning, you take a risk. To survive is to know you’re taking that risk and to not get out of bed clutching illusions of safety.”

What a whirlwind of intrigue and action!

Now, I think I might be one of the few that enjoyed Magic Study (although there’s still pretty decent reviews on Goodreads). People told me that after Poison Study, the rest of the series suffers. However,I felt like Magic Study was still as good with only a few minor problems.

In Magic Study, we learn more information about 2 things: Yelena’s family and her powers. Knowing what I had in store for me going into the book, I was quite nervous because I felt like the writing would lose my interest. BUT Marie V. Snyder kept me reading page after page, anticipating what else there is to be discovered.

There’s also some real tension between Ixia and Sitia. Usually, I know what lands/sides the author tries to favor, but Snyder fabricates a sticky situation where there are both pros and cons on both sides. Though, I think I favor Ixia a tad bit more than Sitia. However, Sitia is more interesting, but I feel like there’s a lot more corrupt and power hungry people there.

Yelena grew so much as a character, I can’t help but absolutely love her. I love it when she uses her powers and I feel that Snyder does an amazing job describing the character’s process (the brick wall for example). Yelena’s powers gets more and more complex, and I can’t wait to see how they will unfold in the next novel.

“You can join the ‘I Want to Kill Yelena Guild.’ I hear they have six members in good standing. Valek is president since he had wanted to kill me twice.”

Valek. Oh Valek. How I love him. He was a lot more sassy in this installment in my opinion and I just loved it. Too bad it took him over half the book for him to show up, but his humor was well worth it. He’s still a mysterious character though…

Janco and Ari are like my dream siblings. I just love male and woman friendships, without there being any sort of attraction involved. I feel like a lot of YA authors don’t incorporate that trope often, so I was glad Snyder did.

I did not even like Cahil. I wasn’t sure if he was supposed to be a love interest or not, but he was just plain annoying. All he did was whine and his desired to be king grew incredibly old. He was like the “Adam” (Shatter me) in this book. I don’t know if this was purposeful, but I just HATED him. And really didn’t serve any purpose except to be one of the bitter “I hate Ixia” Sitians.

One of the aspects I didn’t very much enjoy would be that Valek kind of helps her out too much.I get that the author want’s to also build Valek’s character, but it got a little but bit annoying after a while.  It just loses Yelana’s “girl power” type of characterization.

I also didn’t really like the “villain” of book.It felt like it was the same exact person in last book, but just with a different name. Overall, I think the plot was kind of recycled.

Despite these problems, Magic Study was still beautifully crafted. I’m eager to see what Fire Study has to offer.

“My future appeared to be a long twisted road fraught with knots, tangles, and traps. Just the way I liked it.”

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