Fire Study — Maria V. Snyder

Fire Study was a somewhat unmemorable conclusion to an otherwise strong trilogy. In it, we’re once again trying to negotiate peace between Ixia and Sitia. Yelena is also trying to get comfortable with her role as a Soulfinder, figure out a way to be with Valek, and reconcile a series of dual obligations related to her newly discovered family, her dual citizenship in these two countries, and her growing desire for independence. The text’s flaws included an increasingly de-fanged Valek — he’s a lot less interesting now that he’s in love with Yelena and less mysterious — and an under-developed plot.The world is still fascinating, however — each new reveal about the history of Sitia, the secrets of the Commander, and the way magic functions in all of this is simply delightful.

I’m really looking forward to Storm Glass — while the protagonist is younger than Yelena (I still love that she’s an early 20s heroine), this will give Snyder a chance to display the same attention to detail and material culture that made Poison Study such an exciting, quirky read.


  1. H says

    I really enjoyed the first book when it was reccommended here so went on to read the rest of the series. I was absolutely thrilled to see a transgendered character portrayed in a positive light in the first book, where their gender identity was treated as no big deal. It was so utterly refreshing. Transgendered characters are few and far between in fantasy literature.

    So I was hugely disappointed when Fire Study tacked on a needless magical explanation to the whole deal and made it a point that added so little to the plot. I felt cheated. I found it rather disturbing, as if saying someone could only be that way because of some sort of magical gimmick. It made me angry. I’d have been much happier if I hadn’t read that book. The first book was really good.

  2. The OTHER Maria says

    You’re so right — that’s ONE secret of the Commander I would’ve been content not to learn!

    The first book was really good — but by book 2, Yelena is ALWAYS getting rescued by Valek, which I was done with, and the characterization of Valek, the Commander, and several other characters just got a lot less nuanced. It went from being v. fun and complex (and v. lgbtq-friendly!) to being very one -note and very heteronormative. :eyeroll:

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