Monday, 22 August 2011

Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

Fire Study
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.

*Warning: Spoilers. And Rant.*

I was going to start by saying this book was a disappointment, but that is not quite right. I started reading this with (very) low expectations, after being more than warned that it was bad. But it was worse than I thought.

This book starts badly. The first half of it is filled with recaps from the previous two books in the form of infodump (and even though I didn't remember that much I only needed a little prodding to get my memory), inane and pointless chitchat between minor characters and a plot that is told more in a fashion of a book plan than of an actual book. I mean, it seemed to be the early stages, with plot holes appearing to be badly covered on the next paragraph. This all meant that I regarded the first 150 pages or so as a complete waste of paper and ink.

But eventually it got better. Or I got used to it. I'll choose to believe it got somewhat better. There was more action, and a more logical flow of events. Characters from the previous books appeared and for a short while it seemed it was shaping up to be alike the previous adventures. It was just a short while, and it was then that I realized what the problem was. Yelena. It wasn't only that the main character simply didn't captivate me anymore, but she bore little resemblance to her previous incarnations, and worse of all, had become a Mary Sue.

So, no longer liking the main character, I focused on the story, because there was some mystery regarding the Magic of the Ixia/Sitia world and some hints about Valek. My mind was going around and around trying to solve these problems. I shouldn't have done that.

Regarding the Magic, about where it all came from and its nature, when it was explained, I got this nagging feeling: “Where have I seen this before?” And then it hit me. Final Fantasy VII. And done so much better. Only then there were some things that didn't quite add up, namely the fate of the big bad guys. Although I could have misread the entire thing based on wishful thinking that it would be as awesome as FFVII.

As to Valek, there were so many little hints and comments, that I conjured a big mystery about his immunity to Magic, something that happened in his past. The inane chitchat of completely unimportant stuff should have warned me that the little hints would mean nothing. The real reason was nowhere near where my mind went, and in my opinion, pretty lame. But then again, it was dealt with in a couple of dialogue lines, and that was it. So at least there was no waste of paper there.

In the end, I was just happy I was done with this book. I should have heeded my friend's warnings that it would be bad. This is a book that could have been half its size without losing anything, that could have had a little more thought put into it, and where the best character is a horse, only this time it is because the others were really bad.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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My Reviews of: Poison Study | Magic Study