Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder Review

ssTitle: Shadow Study

Author: Maria V. Snyder
Publisher:  MIRA

Format: eBook
Publication Date: February 24, 2015

Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

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.”
~ RT Book Reviews on Fire Study


Well this is a hard book to review. I’ve loved this whole series, and I really enjoyed Shadow Study for the most part. There were a few things that didn’t work for me, but first let me cover what I loved.
I loved Yelena and her stubbornness. I still can’t believe that she forgave some people as quickly as she did, but I can understand because these are people she HAS to trust. I liked this premise of Yelena’s magic being blocked, it’s an interesting concept for a world so full of magic and especially for Yelena who is like a super magic user. I also enjoyed the addition of Valek’s point of view, and even the flashbacks although in my ARC copy those were hard to differentiate from the regular passages. Valek’s side adds a wonderful dimension to the story, and I feel like it’s a better, more realized version with his side. I, of course, loved Ari and Janco, and I also really loved the addition of Onora.
What I didn’t like was all this nonsense with the Commander. I feel just as betrayed as the rest of the crew, because I believed in his fairness. I knew the Commander wasn’t a good person, but at least he always seemed straightforward and now in this book we’re starting to realize all the slimy, backhanded shenanigans he was up too. I don’t like that. I also don’t like the bringing characters back from the dead etc. A new villain would preferable, but I guess I can understand why this one works to the advantage of the book, it just wasn’t something I liked.
I did enjoy this book overall, although the little cliffhanger at the end annoyed me. This is NOT something I want this first book to end on, even though I probably should have seen this twist coming I just didn’t. I’d give this book 4 out of 5 stars. Maria V. Snyder’s writing is still superb it was just a little bit of the execution and basics that I didn’t totally like. This is something that may be cleaned up in the final copy that is actually published. I have a feeling though that this trilogy is going to be good though, and I can’t wait for the next one!


4/5 – An Enjoyable Read, Well Written

**Please Note: This review is my honest opinion and I did not receive monetary compensation from it.**

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Happy Reading!