This is the sequel to Maria V. Snyder’s Poison Study, a Chronicles of Ixia novel. It follows Yelena after she has discovered her magical abilities, and features familiar characters such as Irys, Valek, Ari and Janco.
The book begins with Yelena’s return to the Zaltanas, her family clan, fourteen years after being kidnapped from the forest. Her brother, Leif, is clearly not as happy to see her as her parents. The siblings travel to the Keep together, where Yelena is to begin her magic training. But while on their journey to the Citadel, they are ambushed by strange men. Yelena discovers that it was set up by her brother, who believes her to be a spy from Ixia. They intend to take her to the Keep where a Master Magician will search her mind for the proof they require.
Of course, Yelena is found innocent and is allowed to start her training. Cahil, the leader of the ambushers and the supposed heir to the Ixian throne, has trouble coming to terms with his mistake.
Several victims of a mysterious murderer have been found, one of which has managed to survive the attack. But can Yelena rescue her, even after her soul has retreated into hiding?
The man – Ferde – is attempting to harbour souls from innocent girls. Yelena is determined to stop him, even if it means risking her own life.
While hunting for Ferde, Yelena must deal with Leif, the vengeful Goel, Cahil and a visiting party of Ixians. Who would’ve thought that she would look back and find her poison-tasting days peaceful?
There is action, magic, love, confusion and more in this book, yet I struggle to feel any emotion from this series. I don’t feel Yelena’s pain, or her fear or excitement. I don’t feel anything from these books. I don’t understand why; these are perfectly good stories, well written. But I just don’t enjoy them.
I am still going to read the next novel, and I am curious as to what will develop in Yelena’s life. And although there are typos and punctuation placed where I find a little strange, I do acknowledge that these are decent books. The plot’s good, and there’s a nice mix of action and magic. Yelena is older than most YA protagonists – at around twenty – which is refreshing, but still not quite right to me. I will be generous and give this novel about 2-3 stars, though, as there are no real faults to be found with the writing itself.