"Completing her apprenticeship could prove deadly...
With an execution order on her head, Yelena has no choice but to escape to Sitia, the land of her birth. With only a year to master her magic - or face death - Yelena must begin her apprenticeship and travels to the Four Towers of the Magician's Keep.
But nothing in Sitia is familiar. Not the family to whom she is a stranger. Not the unsettling new facets of her magic. Nor the brother who resents her return. As she struggles to understand where she belongs and how to control her rare powers, a rogue magician emerges - and Yelena catches his eye. Suddenly she is embroiled in battle of good against evil. And once again it will be her magical abilities that will either save her life...or be her downfall."
After discovering the truth of her heritage Yelena has been exiled from Ixia, the land she calls home, to escape an execution order. There she faces a family she doesn't remember, a land she doesn't remember, a way of life she doesn't understand and people who hate her before even meeting her. She doesn't have her friends or her beloved with her and is having to trust master magician Irys, despite barely knowing her either.
Yelena struggles to find a place in Sitia. The more she tries to do what she believes right, the more trouble she finds herself in with the first master magician, the brother who despises her and Sitian residents in general. And then a rouge magician begins to close in on Yelena whilst an Ixian delegation (including a few old friends) is around and Yelena has to figure out quickly how to master her magic, and who she can trust to help her out.
This second book shows us a different side to the world Ms. Snyder has created. Sitia is very different to Ixia, where magic is forbidden, and the contrast is really interesting. Here we learn about different types of magic, what is and isn't allowed, how the world is divided in to different sections and the difference between clans.
As the story unfolds we get to see some great character development with Yelena as she finds out how much power she has, how to use it and adjusting to her new life. We're also introduced to some great new characters and get some more depth on some favourites from Poison Study. Yelena grows up quite a bit in this book, being yanked out of the familiar and learning to stand on her own feet, and when she needs to ask for help.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, just as much as Poison Study even though it's quite different because of the setting. This series has a soft strength to it that makes it compulsive reading, but not a on-the-edge-of-your-seat gripping nature. Which makes a very nice change to most of what I read. I like how Yelena isn't the most confident girl around, yet has this huge heart to help others. And I like how her confidence is growing, but not at the cost of that goodness. Just giving her the extra strength to step up when she needs to, to speak out and help more. But her growing confidence also doesn't mean she becomes unfeeling towards the growing dislike and fear of her among the Sitians. She doesn't like it, and it makes her uncomfortable. She's not perfect and she's affected by the way people are around her, not always in positive ways. Another plus point. Overall, a really great read and I'd highly recommend this series. 9/10