Feb 2, 2017
Title: DAWN STUDY (Study Series #6)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Pub. Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Mira Ink
Format: Paperback, eBook, audiobook
New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder brings her Poison Study series to its exhilarating conclusion.
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.
Maria V. Snyder changed from being a meteorologist to a novelist in 1995, when she began writing to keep her sanity while raising two children. Since then, she has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers, and teaches fiction-writing classes at the local college and area libraries. The classes give her the wonderful opportunity to encourage fellow writers, and to keep improving her craft.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria always had a fascination with big storms. Dreaming of chasing tornados, Maria earned a bachelors of science degree in meteorology at Penn State University. But she discovered, much to her chagrin, that forecasting the weather wasn’t one of her skills. In order to chase tornados you had to predict where they might form. Creating fantasy worlds where she has complete control of the weather was more agreeable to her.
Maria’s research on food-tasting methods with an expert chocolate taster, her husband, turned out to be a delicious bonus while writing Poison Study.
Maria has a brown belt in Isshinryu Karate, and enjoys playing volleyball and the cello. Traveling in general and via cruise ship in particular are her biggest distractions from writing. Maria has traveled to Belize, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal.
Maria lives with her husband, son, daughter and yellow lab, Hazelnut, in Pennsylvania where she is at work on more LUNA novels. She is also pursuing a master’s degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University.
Readers are welcome to contact Maria at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where you can find Maria:
MG: What started you on the path to writing for a living?
MVS: That’s an interesting question! I started writing because I was bored at work and needed something creative to do. However, I wasn’t thinking about writing as something I would do to earn a living – most writers have day jobs. It was more a hobby and when I was home raising my two little kids, it was a break from being Mom. When I finished my first book, Poison Study, I thought it was pretty good and I decided to try to get it published, but again no thoughts about a career change. That is until it sold and did well ☺. Then I started to view writing as a career and even with the success of my first three Study books, I didn’t earn enough money to call it a living. That came about five years after Poison Study was published!
MG: Can we expect to see more books set in this world?
MVS: I think so. I’m done with Yelena and Valek – they’ve gone through so much in six books, they need the break (although I might write a few short stories about them). There are a number of characters that I’m intrigued by. Reema and Teegan for sure and then there’s Heli and Fisk. Perhaps a trilogy on the Helpers Guild…..hmmm…….. 😉
MG: If your novel were being made into a movie, whom would you pick to play the lead roles?
MVS: This is always a hard question for me as I’m not up to date on all the new actors. I’ve always said Summer Glau for Yelena, but that was 10 years ago and I don’t think she can pull off early 20s. I do like Tom Hiddleson for Valek and Chris Hemsworth for Ari – perhaps Chris Pratt for Janco as the actor has a good sense of humor. Benedict Cumberbatch might be good for the Commander. I’d suggest you go to YouTube – there’s a number of videos where my readers have casted my books – I think some of them are quite accurate!
MG: How do you deal with writer’s block?
MVS: Depending on how bad it is, I have a number of things I do. I’ll take a break and just not actively think about the story for a while – that helps in most cases. I find my subconscious keeps on going over the problem I’m stuck at and the answer will come to me seemingly out of the blue! If it’s bad, I’ll send pages to my agent and ask him to provide feedback. We’ll talk on the phone and that helps me bounce ideas off of him. It’s best not to panic ☺.
MG: Out of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite?
MVS: This is like asking a mother if she has a favorite child! I love them all but for different reasons. I do have a couple favorite scenes. One is in Magic Study, when Valek appears in Yelena’s room after the guards said her room was empty. That’s where the comment, “They forgot to check the ceiling for spiders.” was first said. Another one of my favorites is in Spy Glass when Opal is late to help with Mara’s wedding preparations. Opal’s mother refers to Opal as “Poor dead Opal” because Opal has to be “dead in a ditch” and not inconsiderate to arrive only a few days before the wedding. It is something my mother would have done to me and I just think that scene is really funny. Night Study has two of my favorites scenes – the scene where Valek sees his parents after twenty-eight years is very emotional and a key point for Valek’s character – I’m rather proud of that one. And the scene with Yelena and Valek and their…scars – I don’t want to give away anyspoilers, but that scene is the culmination of their relationship and it’s a favorite of mine.
This was a great wrap up for this series. I’m curious to see if they will be making appearances in later books or if we’ll see side characters get their own series. I truly love Snyder’s writing, there are few that can do Fantasy quite like she can. I’ve been in love with this series since the beginning (that’s Poison Study), and I’ve devoured any book she’s written since then and this book does live up to most of the expectations.
I’ve said throughout this series the books feel forced. While I am enjoying reading about these characters again, there’s just something that feels stiff. So keep that in mind when you read further into my review. This story had all the twists and turns in the plot that you would expect from an author like Snyder. Yelena continues to be capable, and even regains some of her confidence by remembering that she didn’t always have magic. Valek continues to be over-protective, and is clearly getting older. This is one area that I have to applaud Snyder, so many authors forget that their characters have to age, but Yelena and Valek are not like that. They have grown up and gotten older, and with that has come slower reflexes and a desire to settle down to the quiet life. I very much appreciate that aspect of the story.
I also loved Onora, I think I might be able to spend an entire paragraph just on why I love this girl. She is just so kick ass, but manages to keep her humanity too. For all that she has suffered, she doesn’t kill unless absolutely necessary and that makes her more real to me. She also loves Yelena, and anyone who disputes that can come fight me! It’s a quiet kind that is all about friendship and how open Yelena has been with her about her own tragedies. It allows Onora to realize safely that she is not the only one who has been traumatized and survived.
What I didn’t love was how open-ended it was, some may disagree with me but the fact that one key character escapes leads me to believe that we’ll be seeing these characters again. This won’t disappoint me if it ends up being one of the side characters, but if we end up back with Yelena and Valek I will be. Their time is over, and I’m ready to begin reading about Teegan or Reema. That being said, this was a great conclusion. Valek and Yelena got their happy ever after, and both of them learned how to be at peace with themselves and the world. I would give the book 4 out of 5 stars.
6 Winners will receive finished copies of DAWN STUDY, US Only.
4 Winners will receive finished copies of DAWN STUDY, International.
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