Book Reviews

Review: Dawn Study

Review: Dawn StudyDawn Study (Soulfinders, #3) by Maria V. Snyder
Published by Mira Books on January 31st 2017
Pages: 478

Despite the odds, Yelena and Valek have forged an irrevocable bond and a family that transcends borders. Now, when their two homelands stand on the brink of war, they must fight with magic and cunning to thwart an Ixian plot to invade Sitia.

Yelena seeks to break the hold of the insidious Theobroma that destroys a person's resistance to magical persuasion. But the Cartel is determined to keep influential citizens and Sitian diplomats in thrall and Yelena at bay. With every bounty hunter after her, Yelena is forced to make a dangerous deal.

With might and magic, Valek peels back the layers of betrayal surrounding the Commander. At its rotten core lies a powerful magician and his latest discovery. The fate of all rests upon two unlikely weapons. One may turn the tide. The other could spell the end of everything.

I finished Night Study in 6 days. In comparison, Dawn Study took me twice as long, and sadly I didn’t feel it lived up to the previous books.  Having really enjoyed every other Maria V. Snyder book, I went into this one with pretty high hopes, especially since it was the final book in the series, but Dawn Study wasn’t quite the epic, dramatic, characters-all-come-together finale I expected.

I mostly liked the characters – Yelena, Valek, Onora, Janco, Ari and Fisk are still characters I really like, but the inclusion of various other characters, just didn’t work for me.  Maybe it’s because I just finished Assassin’s Fate, which does a very similar thing in terms of bringing in old characters and tying up loose ends, and it’s hard not to compare the two.  Whilst I loved the way Hobb did it in Assassin’s Fate, sadly it just fell a little flat for me in Dawn Study; instead of feeling epic and Avengers-like it just felt a bit forced.  I didn’t always have 100% clear recollections of the characters from previous series, and their portrayals in Dawn Study didn’t seem to refresh my memory: Kade for example seemed soft, and I found Devlen’s dialogue consistently distracting, like it just didn’t fit.

The ending felt a bit too easy, and a bit too rushed, which was disappointing.  I think what made it especially frustrating was that Dawn Study, just like Night Study felt slow at times, like there was a lot of running-in-place in the build-up to the finale. I wonder whether perhaps I would have preferred this trilogy if it had been written as a duology instead, as that would have cut a lot of the pacing problems.  Having said that, it’s still a Snyder book, and so I still enjoyed it; I like the way she writes and I liked the main characters.  If you’re a die-hard Snyder fan, I imagine you’ll still really enjoy it, and it is worth picking up for the continuation of Valek and Yelena’s story if nothing else, just be prepared that it may not live up to her previous books.

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