Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

Shadow Study Front Cover

“The best way to distribute information was to classify it as secret.”

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.


‘A compelling new fantasy series’ – Rhianna Pratchett, SFX on Poison Study

Book Links: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters | Goodreads

Personal Thoughts:

Shadow Study is a start of a new fantasy series by Maria V Snyder that is set in the same world of Study series with the familar characters, Yelena and Valek. This couple is back again with more adventure to take, villains to kill, and stories to tell.

Maria V Snyder waste no time in putting Yelena and Valek into action. Right from the start, our heroine is put in danger which eventually blocked her magic. Without her power and lots of people who wants her dead, Yelena’s life is so much at risk. Valek on the other hand is busy doing his task as the Commander’s personal security chief in Ixia while trying to track down a smuggling operation.

The narrative is well written. The tree different point of views gives not only different sides of stories but also smoothly deliver a flowing connection in the end. Though it frustrates me that narration is sometimes cut in the middle of revelations or when something big is happening, I still think that Snyder successfully use this type of narrative to elicit reactions from her readers.

The best part of the three point of view is having the chance to read Valek’s thoughts. Not only because his point of view reveal another angle of the story but also every back-flash offers new revelations about his character. I particularly enjoy reading about his life under Hedda’s roof. How he become a highly skilled assassin,  and everything he did and sacrifice before he become in charge of Ixia and Commander’s security. I think those flash backs of Velek’s life will be helpful to new readers in catching up the details of this lovely series. Though I still recommend to read first the Study series before this one.

As for Yelena, losing her magic shows her vulnerable side but doesn’t makes her weak. In fact, she triumphantly showed that magic is not the only thing that made her. As a heroine, she is brave, smart and very capable even without her magic.

“I realized my magic had influenced how I viewed the world. I barely remember how I had interacted with my world without magic. I wouldn’t have thought I relied on my power so much or used to it to connect to the people around me in the past six years. Yet, I felt as if I’d been wrapped in a thick black cloth from head to toe. The cloth has holes for my eyes, ears, nose and mouth, but the rest of me remained swaddled.”

Besides with Yelena and Valek, readers will also treated with Janco’s point of view. As expected he provided the light tone of the story together with Ari. They are really fun together.

Onora, the new girl in the story is a feisty assassin who make an appearance by threatening Valek for his position as the Commander’s right-hand. When you make an introduction like that for a new character, who won’t approved? Right there, I am already intrigued with Onora. I set a hawked eye in her hopping that she will surprise me or at least shows that she is worth following for, and she didn’t disappoint. I’m looking forward to see more of her in the next installment of this series.

Yelena and Valek are separated majority of the book which kinda sad but I still felt necessary. Being apart somehow shows more of their individual strength which I think highlighted their characters more. And even if they are separated they both constantly thought of each other which just show how much they love and care for one another. So romance readers, don’t worry this couple doesn’t disappoint when it comes to giving you sighing moments.

As for the ending, I kinda anticipated Yelena’s revelation with the mention of her blood cycle one time during her visit to Healer Hayes at the early part of the novel. At that time I even assumed that Yelena’s lost/blocked magic has something to do with it but halfway reading I eliminate that theory to the list of possible cause of Elena’s condition. Which I ‘m really glad because it’s too weak to be the case.

With political intrigue, magic, danger, secrets, actions, and romance Shadow Study is a thrilling and engrossing fantasy novel from Maria V Snyder. Her fans will surely be delighted to this additional series, especially those who are eager to see more of Valek and Yelena again.

* This review is based on an eBook I received courtesy of the publisher, Mira Ink. Check out the rest of the tour below ShadowStudy BLOG TOUR HOR3

2 thoughts on “Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder”

  1. Study series is one of my favorite fantasy books. I’m so happy that there’s more of Yelena and Valek!!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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