I had a bit of confusion as I was reading this series, because the MC, Yelena Zaltana, narrates in the first person. Also, I was continually feeling as though I had missed something through her references to experiences in other times. And just to confuse my poor deficient brain further, the first two books in the Soulfinders series are Poison Study and Magic Study. Book three in the series is Fire Study, but it is listed on Amazon as "the Yelena Zaltana series Book 3". Then the next book, Shadow Study, is book 4 of the Soulfinders series.
Despite this, I am enjoying the characters and their adventures, so I do recommend it. This book ends at a crucial time, so I look forward to the next in the series.
Shadow Study launches an exciting new fantasy adventure trilogy by Maria V Snyder featuring characters familiar from her Study and Glass series.
It opens as Yelena, on her way to meet Valek for a brief reunion, is attacked by a hidden assailant who shoots her with a poisoned arrow. Able to heal herself, Yelena enjoys a passionate reunion with Valek before he returns to Ixia, but twenty four hours later she realises her magic has disappeared. Returning to Sitia, Yelena is desperate to find out how she has been stripped of her powers, and how to get them back. Without them she is vulnerable, especially since an old enemy is bent on revenge, and a new one is determined to destroy her.
While Yelena sets out to find the answers she needs, Valek is busy in his role as the Commander's second after being gone for almost a year. His point of view details life at the keep, as well as Valek's recall of his past as a student of the The School of Night and Shadows, desperate to avenge the murders of his family, and sets up what I assume will be the main thrust of the plot for this trilogy - a brewing war between Sitia and Ixia.
I don't think it is strictly necessary to have read the previous books set in this world to enjoy Shadow Study, but those that have will have the slight advantage of being privy to both the history of Snyder's world, and the development of the characters and their relationships. Snyder does introduce a few new characters in Shadow Study, most notably Onora, a talented assassin with her eye on Valek's job, and Gerik, a soldier, who are partnered with Janco and Ari.
For established and new fans alike, Shadow Study should prove to be a fast paced and entertaining fantasy adventure. Fair warning though, the book ends on a cliffhanger and the second book, Night Study, won't be published until 2016.
Oh My Goodness this book was so good! Another awesome instalment in the Study series and Valek and Yelena's story.
From the moment I read the first page, I was pulled right back in Yelena's world and it was great to visit with all the characters again, and a number of the main players from both the Study series and the glass series are back in this book. That being said however, whilst it helps to already know the characters, this tale is its own story and I believe it is just as compelling even if you are visiting the Study world for the first time.
This novel is told from three points of view, Yelena, Valek and Janco, each weaving a different thread in and around each other and in its own direction as needed. Ms Snyder uses it very well to direct the different threads of the story and the balance between the three worked well for me and each thread had its own story and own mystery to be solved and I was just as hooked on all three.
I liked that we learn a lot more about Valek in this novel, we get to see some of his history and how he came to be where he is which gives us a much greater understanding of his character and why he does what he does. We also learn a bit more about certain characters from the previous novels which also helps to propel the story forward.
What Ms Snyder does really well however, is create a story, world and characters that you can't help but love, hate, and be completely immersed in. This is the first book in a new series set in the Study world and I for one, am thankful to Ms Snyder for allowing us to visit with these characters again and share in their newest adventure. I can't wait to see what happens next! I give this novel 5 stars.