Night Study by Maria V. Snyder

Night Study

“…there will always be sharks in the water. Nothing you can do about it except be careful where you swim.”

Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana’s has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia are safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear.

Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he’s quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he’s been keeping secrets from Valek…secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander’s mysterious plans, they realize it’s far more sinister that they could have ever imagined.

Personal Thoughts:

As always, Maria V. Snyder deliver another outstanding novel in Night Study. Just like the other books of this series this new addition to Yelena and Valek’s story is a thrilling and riveting read.

While Study series is Yelena and Valek’s story, the previous installments are undeniably centered to Yelana. Valek character though strong and interesting remains mysterious in the previous books. Those little snippets from Valek’s time with Yeda or with the Commander are not enough. We don’t really know him as much as Yelena. Valek’s past, his family, and the reason for his immunity to magic remain untouched until now.

As Maria reveal more layers of Valek in this installment, Valek’s character becomes more reachable and maybe even relate-able. Maria open Valek to readers making him more human than the dark and dangerous assassin every followers know from the previous books.

It is no surprise that Valek has a soft side, after-all he managed to fall in love, but seeing him vulnerable and even powerless is a risky twist for this series. Much more when he started to sound less of the most dangerous assassin and become the caring heart mate of Yelena. I don’t mind it at first since reading a happy couple is always a treat but somewhere along the way I fear for Valek’s character. What if Maria push him too much on the soft side, will that still be realistic for an assassin? Specially since Valek is not just an just ordinary assassin, he is the King Killer, his name alone can make everyone feel fear both in Sitia and Ixia. Then I realized, there’s one valid reason for Valek to be more caring than usual (it’s not Yelena), but the reason is more than enough to make any one in his position to show his soft side.

As Maria focus on Valek and his journey it also means that Valek has to go through the wringer. There are lots of hard choices for him – between Yelena and the Commander, his work and personal life, Ixia and Sitia, his immunity and new-found power things are really tough for him. If I didn’t know he is the fearless assassin I would probably say enough to Maria and just give the guy some break. But as always Valek do what is best or at least try his best. When Yelena drop the bomb at then end of Shadow Study I expect Valek to have some major reactions or at least different reaction than what he shows in the first part of this book. But then I realized this is Valek we are talking, the fearless assassin who is always calm even in the most dangerous times. So why am I expecting him to be suddenly different because of a news that isn’t even confirmed yet?

“But that was the problem with grief. No one ever asked for it. It arrived with its bags packed for an extended stay. It settled into your best guest room and demanded to be waited on all day long, and which it finally shuffled out the door, it left behind permanent scratches on your furniture.”

Anyway, lots of things happened to Valek but that doesn’t mean the other characters are forgotten. In fact everyone is busy with a lot of things that are happening – Cartel group, disappearing magicians (and no! it is not just magic tricks), Yelena’s lost power and condition, the Commanders being indifferent, the looming war. With those things and more, everyone are either busy figuring things out, analyzing people and situations, saving the day, saving themselves, or just trying to survive. Dangerous time for everyone and times like this usually leave casualties. I won’t say anymore about that, you just have to read the book and find out yourself.

Overall, Knight Study is another fantastic addition to this fantasy series of Maria V. Snyder. With non-stop actions, more risk, and impressing character development, Night Study is a gripping and  completely engrossing read that will surely thrilled readers.

* This review is based on an eBook I received courtesy of the publisher, Mira Ink UK.

Check my interview with Yelena here.

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