Magic Study – Soulfinders #2 – Maria V. Snyder

I had mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed it but found something lacking. Maybe I’ll figure out what it is while I write this review.

The last book:

Yelena was raised in a country called Ixia as an orphan who was taken in, along with a bunch of other orphans, by a man who had only adopted them because of their potential magical abilities.

Ixia does not allow magicians to live within its borders. They are either killed or have escaped to their neighboring country of Sitia. Or is Sitia the only other country in this world? The author hasn’t elaborated.

Yelena, even though she was put through a ton of tests and even experienced strange things, had no idea she was magic. She ended up killing her aggressor and was awaiting her execution when she was called to the Commander’s castle. She became is food taster and fell in love with his assassin. When the Commander learned that Yelena was a magician he signed an execution order for her. It’s the law under the Code yet the Commander let Yelena slip over the border because he likes her. She had to leave Valek.

This book:

Yelena travels with one of the four Master Magicians of Sitia, along with the surviving orphans, through Sitia on their way to the Citadel for training. They drop off orphans to their families. Yelena was the last to meet her mother, father and brother.

Yelena enters the Citadel as an apprentice and discovers she is a powerful magician.

Most of this book dealt with her conflicting allegiance to both Ixia and Sitia. For some reason, she thinks the strict military dictatorship of Ixia is a better system than the freedom of Sitia. She struggles with the concept of beggars and having to buy food because everyone had a job and the government fed them in Ixia. The author didn’t explain what happened to elderly or the disabled. She seems in awe of the Commander even though he kills all magicians. Her thinking bothered me.

I was annoyed with all of the detailed magical experiences. Nothing bores me more quickly than tedious details of how a character struggles with their powers and how they can never seem to conquer their powers until they are about to die but until then, the author bombards us with the monotonous details of how the character pulls their powers from within. Ugh! I know we need to know some of it but enough is enough. I skipped a lot of it.

Another irksome thing was how Yelena always had to run off and play hero by herself. She’s just that much of a badass, at least, in the author’s eyes. To me, she was just reckless.

Okay, I think I figured it out. Yelena is just too cool to be true and she has all the answers to everything.

I’m still debating whether or not to continue reading the series. I’m leaning towards “not”.

Poison Study – Soulfinders #1 – Maria V. Snyder

I’m not sure what to think about the characters in this book. I don’t know if I like them or not because they all seem kind of cold-blooded but I have to chalk that up to the world they live in.

Here’s a country that was a corrupt kingdom until someone named Commander Ambrose took over 15 years ago but I think I would have preferred to live under the king than the Commander because it sounds like a police state where everyone has to wear uniforms according to their trade and district and have strict curfews. All magicians have been banned or executed. Most ran to the neighboring country of Sitia. Their law is something called the Code which is set in stone. Killing someone gets you death even if it was self-defense or an accident.

This is what happened to Yelena. She was raised as an orphan by General Brazell who had an orphanage. When she was sixteen, the general and his cruel son, Reyad, ripped her away from the others and started training her. When she failed to become what they wanted, the general gave her over to Reyad her tortured her. She killed him and was sent to prison for a year until her execution date.

Instead of being executed, she became the food taster for the Commander. A man named Valek trained her. In order to keep her from escaping, Valek poisoned her with something that needed a regular antidote that he alone knew what it was.

I’m not exactly sure what Valek’s position was but he seemed to be an assassin/spy for the Commander. I guess the Code allowed for it?

I liked the plot of this book but couldn’t figure out why Valek supported the Commander who is just a dictator. I think he was a total sociopath but the author tried to make the Commander seem logical, just and honest.

I am going to read the next book and see how things go before I make any harsh judgements.

The Name of the Wind – The Kingkiller Chronicles #1 – Patrick Rothfuss

My son introduced me to this series and I’m glad he did. It’s not what I’m used to reading,
although I have read some fantasy.
I don’t even know where to begin. There were so many parts to this story that it is hard to  explain. I’ll do my best.
The story is told by Kvothe who started out life as a traveling trouper along with his parents. He  meets a man who teaches him how to be an arcanist, someone who can manipulate the laws of  science and nature to do magic which they call sympathy.
Kvothe learns faster than others so he learned everything within a few months. His teacher, Abenthy, told him he should go to the University when he gets older and that’s what Kvothe dreamed of until tragedy struck and his life heads in another direction.
We know Kvothe makes it out alive because he’s the one telling the story. He is an innkeeper going by the name of Kote and he seems to be hiding from someone or something but his  personality seems to have done a one-eighty. He seems calm and under control which could have just been attributed to growing up but it seems like more than that. I think that was the worse run-on sentence ever.
This book is long and, at times, it lags for me, especially when the magical or scientific process is explained in excruciating detail. I’m good with “Abra Kadabra Boom” but others may need more.
My son says the second book was even better so I’m off to go read it.

Forged in Dreams and Magick – Highland Legends #1 – Kat Bastion

Forged in Dreams and Magick (Highland Legends Book 1)

This book drove me batty! It took me forever to finish it because I kept getting so frustrated with it that I would stop reading it and go do something else for a while.

It started out okay. It even had some humorous events that made me laugh. Isobel MacInnes is an archeologist student who loves all things Scottish. She goes to Scotland to say goodbye to her dying grandfather. While there, she falls down an embankment and finds an ancient looking box. Thinking she has just made her career discovery, she sneaks it into the U.S. and calls her Scottish friend, Iain Brodie, because she notices the box has the same symbols as his clan broach.

They end up kissing while touching the box and are transported into 13th century Scotland. Iain had been living two separate lives, one in the 21st century and one in the 13th century where he is the chief of his clan. Neither side knew about the other but when they land in Scotland, both halves merge. He knows about the box but tells Isobel very little about it except that it has belonged to his tribe for generations and it brings the lairds of the castle their soul mates when it is time. He tells her that she is his soul mate and the festival of Beltane is upon them and she has three days to decide if she wants him.

They fall in love and marry along with other couples. It was heartfelt and I was so happy for them but it I knew something bad must happen because the book was only 1/3rd of the way through.

For some reason, Isobel thinks the box is connected to her somehow and she touches it again. This time she is transported to around 85 AD with the ancient Picts. She meets the tribal leader and what does the hussy do? Yeah, she sleeps with him on the second or third night that she is there. I couldn’t believe it! She had some dumb reasoning about living for the moment and who knows if she’ll ever return to Iain but at the same time she kept thinking that she had to return to him. She falls in love with the tribal leader, Velloc. She believes since the box brought them together, they are also soul mates. I kept asking, “How can she have two soul mates? Does she have two souls?” It didn’t make sense to me.

She stays with Velloc for a little over a month. I really liked Velloc. He was so kind and patient with Isobel who at this point, I’m not liking at all. I think she is a selfish little twit who just makes up excuses for why she has to do things. She keeps saying how she needs to uncover the mysteries of the box and what happened in history. She believes the box revolves around her which I thought was rather arrogant since the box had been around for centuries.

She keeps going back and forth in time to each man who she has told about the other and both have agreed to share her. All this chick does is have lots of sex with each of them.

Iain’s castle has a map wall similar to the box that has magical powers but Iain won’t tell Isobel much about it.

One of the cool things about this book was the history in it. The Romans have landed in Scotland and the Picts are facing war. Isobel can use her knowledge of history to help the Picts defeat the Romans.

SPOILER…. Do not read if you don’t want to know what happens.

I really wanted to slap Isobel many times in this book but where I felt the urge the most is when she insisted on fighting with the Picts because Valloc had taught her how to fight. What, she trained for a month so now she is ready to beat a large Roman man who has trained all his life to fight? He tells her that if she fights, he will be too worried about her and could put himself in danger but she gets her way like she always does which ends up exactly as Valloc had predicted. He dies because he takes an arrow meant for her. She cries for a day and then zings back to Iain where she basically forgets about Valloc.

End of Spoiler

At the beginning of the book we meet Iain’s sister, Brigid, who is in love with one of Iain’s guardsmen named Fingall. He leaves to settle a dispute and never comes back. The book never said what happened to him so I assume it will be answered in the 2nd book. I know there is a novella in between book 1 and 2 but I read the blurb about it and it was about two other people. Thank Goodness! I was worried that the books would follow Isobel and that would have made me stop reading them.

There is also two angels or some beings with wings similar to angels; one has white wings and the other has black wings. I’m kind of digging the dark one. He’s sarcastic just the way I like ‘em.

The 2nd book isn’t out yet so I may go ahead and read 1.5. I haven’t decided yet. I have a few other that I’m going to look at first.