Poison Study, the story continues where it was left off on the first book, with Yelena going to Sitia, ready to start to learn about magic. Of course, with Yelena being Yelena trouble does not take long to appear. This means that there is a plot full of action, danger, and Yelena doing what she does best – saving the day!
This book reminded me somewhat of the English tests I used to take, where I was asked to compare and contrast two photos. Here I have two countries to do just that, each with its problems and differences. The southern country of Sitia is nothing like Ixia – it is a much warmer country, where there are no military districts (actually there seems to be very little military) but clans, ruled by a council, and where magicians are treasured and educated instead of hunted down and killed.
Like in Poison Study, I liked that the author showed that no place is perfect, that people in power have different motivations, and, above all, that nothing is as simple as black and white.
And just like the previous book, this one also features very good characters, that you wish you could spend more time with. This is true for both new and old characters, even if the latter (with the exception of Yelena and Irys) take some time to appear. While I was engrossed with learning about Sitia, having a lot of fun with my new charcters, in the back of my mind I was always wondering what was happening in Ixia, and how my favourite characters were faring. And yet, to me, the best character on this book was a horse. This shows how good Maria V. Snyder is at creating great characters!
Being set in Sitia, where magic is not outlawed and is actually a predominant part of its culture, meant that I got to learn more about the magic in the series, the hows and whys. Unfortunately I wasn't entirely convinced about it, it seemed to me a bit vague, and unformed. Also, for something that is seemingly random, that you either have it or not, a lot of the characters appeared to be lucky on that aspect (although the fact that most part of the book is set on a magic school contributes to this), and it did irk me a bit that all of them were such powerful magicians.
I liked Magic Study as much as I did Poison Study, it was a good follow up book, where I got to know more about the those two lands, and was presented with more great characters.