Review: Fire Study – Maria V Snyder

  • Title: Fire Study
  • Author: Maria V Snyder
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Why: I wanted to finish the series, plus it was a Christmas present
  • Rating: 3.5 Stars


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 murderous sorcerer she has defeated before…

Honour 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.

Review: To me this book was very much like the second one – interesting but very messy. After having got herself in ever-increasing trouble in the second novel, Yelena now has to try and resolve it all. Since she tries to do this in her usual ‘I know better than everyone else’ way, all she does is increase the trouble even further.

I’m not really sure what to say about this series. I did like it on the whole, and I did like Yelena, but the overriding word that springs to mind really is ‘messy’. The plot gets increasingly convoluted, and a number of characters only appear to be introduced so they can subsequently die, presumably so you’ll feel more sympathy for them.

If that makes it sound like I didn’t like it, please note that that’s not the case. I did like it, and I can handle a messy but exciting plot, but I’m just having difficulty pointing at the exact bits that made me like it, when it’s so much easier to point at the book’s flaws.

These being that Yelena is still stubborn and too reliant on her own knowledge. Valek it still not used enough. I’m having trouble taking important characters seriously when they’re a horse called Kiki. The revelation about the identity of the main villain made me roll my eyes. There’s too much travelling about, half the time without really knowing where to and why.

I think this is one of those books that you find more and more flaws in the longer you think about it, which is why I gave it four stars when I just finished it, and would now (over a month later) probably be more inclined to give it three. I’ll compromise and keep it at 3.5 stars, rounded up to four, but overall I think I’m a little disappointed in a series which probably could have been much more.



3 thoughts on “Review: Fire Study – Maria V Snyder

    1. Erica Dakin Post author

      Same here, I was really looking forward to reading this series, and the three books in three words are just bland, messy, messier. But then, debuts are often a bit sketchy.

      1. Deborah Jay

        That’s true, Erica, but I had hoped that by the third book she might have got at least partially past ‘debut author’ syndrome.

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