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.
It was during the Once Upon a Time challenge last year that I first discovered the Study series. Yelena’s world drew me in quickly and I consumed both Poison Study and Magic Study over the course of a single weekend. But then I stopped. I couldn’t bring myself to read Fire Study because I wasn’t ready to let go of the characters, of their story. Cut to the challenge this year to find me giving in, to settling down and immediately falling into the land of Sitia, and the comfort of Yelean’s familiar voice.
Honestly, Fire Study was not my favorite of the three books in the series, though it was still good. When I discussed it with my co-worker, she asked me if I felt let down after the build-up of waiting to read it. I didn’t, don’t, because it’s my own fault for wanting more. Yelena gets in to as much trouble as ever, Leif’s character development was handled very nicely, and I loved the set-up for Storm Glass with Opal. It’s just…
Don’t mind spoilers?
Well, there wasn’t nearly enough Valek. He doesn’t physically enter the picture until round about the 200 page mark, and even then he’s still strangely in the background. (Which is due to Yelena’s desire to see him safe, I know, but still.) And speaking of not enough…Ari and Janco are two of my favorite characters, I absolutely adore them, and they were hardly in Fire Study at all.
It bothered me that everyone was so blind to Roze’s deception. Especially Irys. She knew that Roze was biased against Yelena, but still believed, until nearly the end, that Roze had Sitia’s best interests at heart. I wanted to shake her, and others, as the book went on, imploring them to smarten up.
And then there’s the end. It must have been that I wanted – or was expecting – something more definitive. It didn’t feel like the conclusion of Yelena and Valek’s story. Not really. And that right there feels like false hope. Because absolutely I need more.
So, I didn’t get to love it as much as I wanted to, but I had been told it wasn’t the best of the three and maybe that formed a bit of a cushion. I would still absolutely recommend these books and I know I will re-read them over and again because, really, I’m still not ready to let the characters go.
Once Upon a Time III Challenge
1. The Shadow Queen
2. Vampirates: Black Heart
3. The Manual of Detection
4. Thirteenth Child
5. Fire Study