Book Reviews

Shadow Study (Maria V. Snyder)

Shadow Study (Maria V. Snyder)Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Soulfinders #1
Published by Mira Ink on 12-03-15
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

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 countries Ixia and Sitia.

Now she uses her magic to keep the 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.

Plot: ★★★

The storyYelena has been left without her magic after being targeted by an assassin, while Valek is Ixia at the Commander’s side helping to deal with trouble.  As Yelena tries to figure out what’s happened to her magic, Valek is dealing with the fact the lax security around the Commander.

The plot is interesting enough, with plenty of mystery (though at least one that I thought was predictable), and the different points of view are fun, but for me, it’s always Snyder’s characters that are the real selling point!

The characters

We get to see a lot more of Valek’s past in Shadow Study, which is something I adored.  I can definitely understand why we often meet characters who are already kick-ass, because years of training and dedication make for a slow story, so getting little insights into how Valek got to where he is now was a great way to give us more information about him without slowing down the pace.

Getting to see more of Ari and Janco was always bound to be a winner, because they’re such fun characters, and I’m also very intrigued by Onora, one of the new characters.  Leif also remains a brilliant character, Valek just grows more intriguing with each flashback, and I liked that Yelena seems more mature in this book than previously, which makes sense given the timeline.  A minor complaint I had was that I found Devlen’s dialogue really awkward, but I don’t remember being at all bothered by it in the other books.  I’m not sure whether that’s a case of rose-tinted hindsight, the fact I just haven’t read the last books in a long time, or because he was genuinely different in this one.

final thoughts

I think Shadow Study was let down by the fact that I was overwhelmed with work at the time of reading, and I think it would probably benefit from a re-read of previous books.  Despite all that, I adored learning more of Valek’s past, I enjoyed getting Janco’s point of view, I loved the characters and I’ll be pre-ordering book 2.

Buy it? This is one that’d be worth buying for me.
In a nutshell: As always, fantastic world-building and great characters, just not my favourite book so far.

Other Reviews of Shadow Study: Good Books and Good Wine | Rally the Readers | Literary Escapism

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