Flamed colored font has never been more appropriate for a book that's cover and title both reflect the theme of the third and last installment of Yelena's story. As a whole, Yelena has mightfully grown from a girl ravaged by the ghosts of her past to someone who holds her own and becomes the greatest hero within the story. Amazon reviews led me to believe that the ending was bound to greatly dissapoint any readers who loved either "Poison Study," and "Magic Study." Knowing this, I began reading the novel with greatly depreciated expectations. I trepidatiously flipped the pages and prepared myself for the ending that would not serve Yelena's story justice.
With bated breath, I carefully read each page, anxiously awaiting the one scene that would destroy any last hopes I had for a good ending. Towards page "50" or so, the anxiety dissipated and was replaced instead with excitement and deep interest with the direction of the story. Confounded, I continued to search for some remaint of the supposed element of the story that would greatly dissapoint the fervid readers of the Study series.
In it's place, I found myself becoming wrapped up in Yelena's internal struggle and I developed an intense fascination with seeking out the characters who may be potential traitors. Even with my sured hypothesis's, Maria V. Snyder's narratives still caught me by suprise with the relevations within this novel. At the end, I literally yelled "What?" aloud when I happened onto the novel's most pivotal revelation that reveals to us the main plot which began within "Magic Study." All throughout, I never found anything that was contrively developed and nothing detracted from the high opinion I hold for Maria V. Snyder's writing.
Surely, I am within the minority here, but I found "Fire Study," with it's quick pace and compelling plot to be better than "Magic Study." Poison Study," will always keep the top spot because it was my introduction within this well crafted universe with meticulously sketched characters. Even with the story's political intrigue and plot surrounding soul collection; the story's principally about Yelena's growth into an assured young woman whose male peers marvel her individual strength rather than feel inhibited by it.
Anyone whose faced tragedy early in the lives can relate to and be empowered by Yelena's story. Those who have encountered abuse on varying levels easily can gain strength from Yelena's ability to forgive what befell her within her past. Instead of becoming trampled by that pain, she seeks out strength to rectify the things within her present that she was not able to within her past. Yelena's, not a mere character, but a female character filled with innumerable dimensions. Her insecurities are familiar to us and the strength she discovers within a given situation is not an example of deux ex machina but the natural responce to a perilous situation.
I've begun reading "Storm Glass" already and hope to begin reading "Sea Glass," within a matter of weeks. Maria V. Snyder's series, compared with many other series, combines action and great characters. She has the ability to immerse her readers within a world that no individual wishes to escape. She entreats us with a plot that's filled with many unexpected occurences and nuances. If you are seeking a Christmas gift for any reader whose been begging for an adventurous story filled with characters as finely crafted as Buffy's; I encourage you to check out this series.
To Maria V. Snyder, thanks for helping me develop new friendships with characters I wish weren't fettered to the pages of your books.