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.