Shadow Study - Book Review
Maria. V. Snyder
Book #1 in the Soulfinders Trilogy
UK Publisher: Mira Ink
Once, only her own life hung in the balance…
When Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. She survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival counties Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep peace in both lands - and protect her relationship with Valek.
Suddenly, though, dissent is rising. And Valek’s job - and his life - are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover her enemies, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. And now she must find a way to keep not only herself but all that she holds dear alive.
I absolutely loved the Study series and can’t express how thrilled I was to learn that after all these years, Maria V Snyder finally decided to continue it. I’m also happy to say that this long awaited book was amazing!
When Yelena is attacked by an assassin, she awakes several days later to discover that her magical powers are gone. Now helpless against magical attack, word is fast spreading through the territories about her newfound vulnerability, and the only potential culprit is escaped prisoner, Ben Moon.
But this time, Valek can’t help her investigate. When an assassin reaches his beloved Commander, Valek is forced into reassessing his security and is dumbfounded upon finding it lacking. Not only are smugglers moving freely between the kingdoms, but members of his trusted circle are also unaccounted for.
Finding his loyalties torn between helping Yelena and following the Commanders orders, Valek realises he must choose between them. Does he protect his country, or protect his heart mate? And can he choose before he loses them both?
My favourite thing about this book was discovering Valek’s past. Reading about the events that led up to him becoming Ixia’s number one assassin was both interesting and insightful. Also as the story is split mostly into Yelena and Valeks Povs - with a little bit of Ari and Janco thrown in - I liked how Valek’s Pov provided the backstory while Yelena’s and other others were more focused on the present.
I also enjoyed the plot line of Yelena’s missing magic. The Study series was all about her learning to harness her powers and now several years later, magic has become second nature to her. With her magic gone, she must now re-learn how to connect with the world and survive without her magical abilities and I feel it makes her more relatable as a character.
This book also introduces several new characters. Their agendas are questionable and I can’t wait to see whether they turn out to be friend or foe. However I loved getting reacquainted with the old characters, and I particularly enjoyed discovering how their lives had changed over the past several years. But I was a little sad that some characters, such as the Master Magicians never managed to make an appearance in the book, although they were often referenced.
My only criticism is that if you haven't read the Study or Glass series in long time, you may not remember all the characters well. While I very recently re-read the study series, its been a few years since I picked up the Glass books and I struggled to recall some of the characters who play a fairly vital role in this story. I would recommend refreshing your memories before picking up this book. However if your new to the story, I don't think you'll have any problem in understanding.
Other wise I loved, loved, loved this story. And with its huge cliffhanger of an ending I can’t help but want the next book, Night Study, immediately! I'll be counting down the days until its release! 4 stars!