Published: February 24th, 2015
New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder wowed readers with Poison Study, the unforgettable story of poison taster Yelena. Now she's back with a new tale of intrigue.
Once, only her own life hung in the balance.
Oddly enough, when Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. But she'd 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, they are beset on all sides by those vying for power through politics and intrigue. Valek's job - and his life - are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover the scope of these plots, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. She must keep that a secret - or her enemies will discover just how vulnerable she really is - while searching for who or what is responsible for neutralizing her powers.
Yes, the days of tasting poisons were much simpler. And certainly not as dangerous,
"Doing full justice to the plot of this original and entertaining epic fantasy is impossible. Suffice it to say that the action is nonstop. The many characters leap to life, particularly Yelena, whose first-person narrative is riveting."
If you enjoy your fantasy with a solid hit of believable romance, you can't go much wrong reading Maria V Snyder. Shadow Study is the latest in her series of trilogies set in the world of Ixia and its surrounds. 'Shadow' is the 4th book in the Study series ('Poison Stud'y; 'Magic Study' and 'Fire Study') but the first in the new 'Soulfinder' trilogy.
Ms Snyder has developed a very believable world that she has reiterated in various forms in each of her trilogies, and it just keeps becoming more complex and involved. The more you read, the easier it is to develop a mental map of where you are within the world and how the politics affect its people.
Yelena and Valek are not the traditional romantic pair, but it is impossible not to take them completely to heart and to become invested in their lives. They are very definitely a couple, but they are not in each others pockets at all. Both are very independent and yet willing to admit that they need to be in each others lives. Although predominantly written in alternating Yelena and Valek pov's, for a little bit of a change there are the occasional chapters from Janco's pov, which helps shake things up a bit - Janco is almost comic relief and you can't help but enjoy the banter between him and Ari.
'Shadow Study' uses a lot of flashbacks to introduce the reader to Valek's past and is very skilfully done. The narrative never feels interrupted by these interludes and for fan's of Snyder's work, it just helps to cement Valek's place in our hearts. There is lots of action as usual and this time around, a wonderful, if rather surprising, ending. Fans will be champing at the bit for the next in the trilogy - 'Night Study', followed by 'Dawn Study'. If you haven't read anything by Snyder before, I guarantee that you will be looking for her previous works to devour in the meantime. This is a world that is just waiting to be discovered - I'd love to be able to go back and read them again for the first time.
The original Study books have been issued with both YA and adult covers but the story is great whichever you happen to prefer.