Monday, March 16, 2015

Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
Shadow Study (Soulfinders #1)
By Maria V. Snyder
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

To Sum It Up: Yelena’s powers as a Soulfinder are renowned throughout Sitia and even in Ixia, where magic is forbidden, so when a would-be assassin’s attack robs Yelena of her magic, she is devastated. Yelena knows that she cannot keep her loss quiet for long, and once word spreads, the many enemies she’s made over the years are certain to exploit her vulnerability. Meanwhile, back in Ixia, Valek is tied up investigating a smuggling operation as well as assessing his possible replacement on the Commander’s staff, and he’s completely unaware that Yelena is without her formidable magical protection.

Review: Some characters have a way of entwining themselves around your heart so that even after a significant amount of time has passed since the end of their adventures, you still think about them often. And so it is with Yelena and Valek, Poison Study’s power couple extraordinaire. These two—I just love them. Yelena and Valek forever! Obviously, I greeted the news that they were returning in a brand new series with euphoria.

Not only does Shadow Study reunite readers with Yelena and Valek, but it also brings back a host of familiar faces, including the awesome power twins extraordinare, Ari and Janco. I love these two guys, too, and, wait for it—Janco has a POV! The slightly odd aspect of this is that it’s in the third person, while Yelena’s chapters remain in the first. This was minor to me, however, as Janco’s chapters were hilarious! Adding his POV was a brilliant move on Maria V. Snyder’s part, changing up the singular narration from both the Study and Glass series. Plus, Janco’s wit is very, very entertaining.

Speaking of the Glass books, which were a spin-off of Study and featured glass artist Opal Cowan as the protagonist, she and some other characters from Glass turn up in Shadow Study. This novel actually brings both series together a little more than I’d anticipated. I reread the three Study books but not the Glass trilogy before starting Shadow Study, and there were a few times when I felt that a refresher on the people and events from Glass would have been helpful to jog my memory. I also wish that I’d read the Study short stories because I’m pretty sure that this book alludes to those as well. Although Shadow Study does a good enough job of recapping plotlines from the previous books that might need a few further details, I do think that being up to speed on all that’s happened in this world up to this point yields the best reading experience from Shadow Study.

Without a doubt, the best thing about the novel is Valek’s POV. That’s right—Valek. POV! Like Janco’s chapters, Valek’s are written in the third person, but again—Valek. POV! I freaked out when I discovered this because gaining access to the thoughts of Ixia’s most feared assassin is just priceless. Snyder does not disappoint Valek’s many admirers, as we learn much about his past, from the assassin training he received in his youth to his initial meeting with Ambrose, the future Commander of Ixia. It’s all incredibly insightful and riveting to read; fans are sure to be extremely pleased with this look into the backstory of this beloved character.

Political intrigue has been a constant throughout the books, and there’s no shortage of it here. Unraveling the complex web of espionage to figure out allegiances and motives is a lot of fun, and Snyder continues to be a pro at keeping the reader guessing. Nearly every chapter ends with a mini-cliffhanger, which means you’ll find yourself unable to put this down. Maria V. Snyder has presented her readers with a very lovely gift in the form of this book. If you already loved Yelena, Valek, Ari, Janco, and the rest of the gang, prepare to fall in love with them all over again. I know I did, and it was a most wonderful feeling, indeed.

All in All: Study fans (and Glass fans): you need to read this NOW!


  1. So you know I started this last week. Stopped at 25% not because I felt lost in the story (surprisingly I got into it really quick). I guess I wasn't feeling it at the time. I'm going to give this another go this week. Snyder gives quick backstories so that helps. I don't want to know but WTF happened to her magic????

    1. I got lost with the references to the plotlines and characters from the Study short stories. I haven't read any of them, and though she does try to give you enough backstory to get by if you haven't read them, I feel like some parts of this would have had more of an impact if I'd been familiar with what happened in the short stories. Keep me posted on your reading progress. :)

  2. I NEED TO READ THIS SERIES!! Your reviews for the lot of them will definitely be pushing the first book in the series higher up my tbr list :D I love the sound of Snyder incorporating new POV's from beloved characters, and your love for Valek makes me think I'll fangirl about him just as much as you did! And I'm glad that this book went up rating-wise, especially since it's kicking off a new set of books! Awesome review Lee^^ ♥

    1. Valek is such a badass- I think you'll like his character very much. :D I appreciate Snyder mixing up the narration for this one and revisiting the world while at the same time putting a new spin on it. I didn't know Valek was going to have a POV, and I freaked out when I found out, lol!

  3. I haven't had a chance to read the Poison Study books yet, but I'm so glad to know the spin off book is a great read - it will be lovely to have that to look forward to once I do start the series!

    1. Poison Study is AWESOME! I still love that book as much as I did when I first read it. :) I was so thrilled that the characters were returning for a new series, and I wasn't disappointed with this one!


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