Book Review

Fire Study

Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

Fire Study is the highly anticipated third book in the Study series. We rejoin Yelena at the Citadel, where she is still engrossed in the capture of the villainous Ferde from Magic Study. Yelena receives a message from her Story Weaver, Moon Man, that Ferde and Cahil have been spotted, and they maybe close to Yelena’s family.

It turns out the Cahil and Ferde are the least of their worries, there is a new threat the Daviian Vermin. They are much stronger and sinister than Ferde and his soul stealing. The Vermin perform a gruesome blood ritual to increase their power. Much to Yelena’s surprise these Vermin have gained control of the Citadel with help from someone on the inside and a war is brewing in the midst. Now wanted in her new found home, Yelena and Leif must flee to Ixia.

Yelena unsure of who she can trust, begins to walk a fine line that is woven into a bigger web of deceit and lies. Afraid of her magic and what may happen to the people she loves, Yelena must make a choice that will change her forever.

This story is smoking hot! Snyder is the epitome of Story Weavers! This book is fast paced with surprises around every corner! Just when you think you have the story figured out, Snyder throws you into another loop. I think I might have liked this book the most out of the three books!



Fire Study Excerpt

Here is a little excerpt from Fire Study. Hope you enjoy it, even though I think it is a bit of a tease. The word from Maria is that the book is pretty much released. Amazon sent their orders out early, so some of you might not need this seeing as you’ve already read the book. But for you other readers out there who have yet to read it, here’s your sneak peek.

The man stepped from the midst of the roaring bonfire. Scorched black from head to toe, small flames clung to him like feathers. He advanced toward me. I broke my paralysis and scrambled away from him.

“Did I surprise you, my little bat?” the man asked. “Counted nine when there really were ten. Hot little trick.”

He knew my conscience had flown with the bats. But who was he?

I scanned the surrounding jungle, looking for my backup. Leif and my friends were at the edge of the clearing.

“No help from them, my little bat. They will burn if they come any closer.”

I tried to project into the flaming man’s mind, but his mental defenses proved impenetrable, a Warper of incredible strength. Running out of options, I glanced behind me and caught sight of my bow.

The blazing Warper pointed and a line of fire appeared between me and my weapon. The moisture evaporated from my mouth. I tasted ashes. A wall of hot air pushed against me and the Warper was before me.

“Fire is your downfall, little bat. Can not call it. Can not control it.”

My body roasted as if I had been staked to a spit over a giant campfire. Just when I thought I would faint, he extended his hands and a bubble of cool air caressed my skin. The break from the heat an intoxicating relief. I swayed.

“Take my hands. I will not burn you. Travel with me through the fire.”


“Because you belong to me.”

If you want to read more sign up and win a copy! Plus a copy of Poison Study and Magic Study!!


Author Interview

Interview with Maria V. Snyder

Here is an interview with Maria V. Snyder the author of Fire Study!

What was your inspiration for writing Fire Study?

I wanted to explore the uses and abuses of power in this book. Poison Study, which is the first in the Study series, concentrated on Yelena’s inner conflicts and her self-confidence, and only touched briefly on magic. Magic Study focused on discovering the extent and type of powers Yelena possesses. In the third book, I wanted to show the extent some magicians will go to gain power over others. Using magic to solve problems can be addicting, and, in Fire Study Yelena realizes how much she depends on her magical abilities. She must learn how to balance the use of her power with more mundane methods and to discover that completely turning your back on magic isn’t the right answer.

Where do you find your inspiration?

It can be from anywhere. I get ideas from newspaper and magazine articles, from something I see on television, from something that comes up in conversation, from dreams, or from something my children say or do. I tend not to lack for ideas just time!

Who are your favorite authors and books now and when you were growing up?

Currently my favorite authors all have humor in their books. Since my life is so stress-filled and complicated, I’ve been enjoying light and fluffy reading with Mary Janice Davidson’s vampire series and her new mermaid series, Connie Willis is another favorite of mine, and I’ve recently discover the mystery/suspense thrillers of Harlan Coben. Growing up, I started with mysteries because that is what my mother enjoyed. Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys were my favorites before I graduated to Agatha Cristie, Dick Francis, Robert B. Parker, Barbara Vine, and Ed McBain.

What is it about fantasy/science fiction that attracts you?

As a writer, the attraction is in exploring new settings and characters and not having to worry too much about what is physically possible or not. I make my own rules about my world and, as long as I stick to them, can explore various problems generated by the unique setting and situation. As a reader, I enjoy traveling beyond my everyday world to a new place full of wonder and surprises.

Why did you decide to make Yelena a Soulfinder?

The concept of everyone having a soul fascinates me. I never consciously decided to make her a Soulfinder, it just happened toward the end of Magic Study. My subconscious must have been working on it because even in Poison Study, when Yelena chooses to become the Commander’s food taster there is a moment where she is peering at her reflection wondering if she still has a soul. She felt so empty and used that she was sure her soul had gone, leaving behind a thin shell.

Being a Soulfinder also added conflict to the story. The Sitian people feared the power. Someone who has the ability to manipulate a person’s soul is serious business, especially since the last person with the power abused it by creating his own soulless army. So here’s Yelena – already an oddity by being raised in the northern lands of Ixia, conflicted over her loyalties between Ixia and Sitia and now has this ability which could condemn her before she even explores what she can do with it.

What (besides writing) do you do for fun?

I love to travel with my family. Exploring new places and meeting new people and experiencing other cultures are wonderful for the writer’s soul J I also enjoy playing volleyball, reading and I dabble with photography.

What are you writing now?

I’m writing the fourth book based in the Study world titled, Storm Glass. Set five years after Fire Study, Storm Glass has a new protagonist and she’s the reason for the new series title. Storm Glass will be out December 2008. Here is the cover copy of the book:

“As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowen understands trial by fire. Now it’s time to test her mettle. Someone has sabotaged the Stormdancer clan’s glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians. The Stormdancers—particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade—require Opal’s unique talents to prevent it happening again. But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap into a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening. And the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear. With lives hanging in the balance—including her own—Opal must control powers she never knew she possessed…powers that might lead to disaster beyond anything she’s ever known.”

What does a typical writing day look like for you? How long do you write, that sort of thing?

I sit down at my computer after my children leave for school. After answering email and procrastinating for an hour, I start writing and only stop briefly for lunch and continue until my son comes home around 3:30 p.m. During the school year, I’m very productive, but once summer comes along I can only do revisions.

Where do you write??

I write in my home office. My husband enjoys woodworking and he built me a great writing room with built in bookcases and a custom made desk. I keep a number of toys nearby to fidget with as I’m working out a problem in my head, and I keep weapons nearby to make sure when I write an action scene, I’m not describing something impossible.

What is easiest/hardest for you as a writer?

Dialogue is the easiest and the most fun to write. I struggle with details. I tend to go light on details, preferring to focus on action and dialogue. Also describing emotions without using clichés is very difficult for me, finding something fresh is hard, but when I do—it’s like hitting the lottery.

Hope you liked the interview. Don’t forget to sign up and win all three books from the Study series!!!



Maria V. Snyder

I’m going to fire up the beginning of Fire Study week with a brief bio of the author Maria V. Snyder.

Maria V. Snyder changed careers in 1995 from being a Meteorologist to a Novelist when she began working on her first novel, Poison Study. Published in October 2005, Poison Study won the 2006 Compton Crook Award, was a 2005 Booksense pick, and received a Starred Review from Publisher’s Weekly.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria earned a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University. Much to Maria’s chagrin, forecasting the weather wasn’t one of her skills. Writing, however, proved to be more enjoyable and she has earned a Master of Arts degree in writing from Seton Hill University. Since becoming a writer, Maria has been busy attending conferences, teaching writing classes, and doing book events.

Maria’s second book, Magic Study was a 2006 Booksense pick and a RITA Award Finalist. Her latest release Fire Study is due out March 1, 2008. While doing research for Fire Study, Maria learned that working with glass requires deft coordination, arm strength, tons of patience, and a good partner—she now has an extensive collection of misshapened paperweights, tumblers, and bowls.

Traveling with her family is a wonderful distraction from writing; Maria loves cruising in general and the Caribbean in particular, and is planning a trip to Bermuda in May. Maria lives with her family in Pennsylvania where she is at work on her fourth “Study” novel, Storm Glass which is due out in December 2008.

For more information about Maria visit her website or her Myspace

Don’t forget to sign up and win all three of Maria’s Study series books!!!!



Study Series Giveaway

YAY! It’s my first official contest! Or I guess it could be considered a giveaway, but then again you are sorta in a competition with other people, so then it would go back to being a contest….. Anyway! I’m giving away some books to one lucky winner!

One lucky winner will be the owner of not one, but three books! Poison Study, Magic Study and Fire Study all by Maria V. Snyder.

How do I win this glorious prize, you may ask? It is quite easy! You can enter two ways. Leave me a comment on this post, or you can send an email to thestorysiren@hotmail.com with the subject title Fire Study Contest. If you send an email in, I’ll send you a confirmation email, to let you know you are entered. Either way will get you an entry into the drawing.

To increase your odds, you can spread the word about the contest by posting on your blog, and send me an email with the link. Then I’ll give you three more entries!

The deadline for this contest is March 1st 2008 at midnight. I’ll try to post the winner as soon as I can!
Good Luck!

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