Thursday, January 7, 2016

Book Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder (Favorites Extravaganza: Day #3)

2015 Favorites Extravaganza: Day #3

Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
Soulfinder #1 / Study #4 / Chronicles of Ixia #7
First Published: 2015
Young Adult, Fantasy
Once, only her own life hung in the balance…
When Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. She 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, dissent is rising. And Valek’s job—and his life—are in danger.
As Yelena tries to uncover her enemies, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. And now she must find a way to keep not only herself but all that she holds dear alive.
Oh, wow. Where do I even start?! 

I was a latecomer to the Maria V. Synder bandwagon. She was one of those author constantly on my tbr but I never seemed to get there. And when I finally did last year, ALL the books were already out. Or so I thought. The groundbreaking announcement over the new series and the return to the Ixia/Sitia world came soon after I finished Fire Study and brought my inner fangirl much delight. 

I needed more Valek and Yelena.

My inner fangirl reared her #sorrynotsorry head when I got approved for an e-arc via Netgalley. She was shouting THANK YOU SO MUCH MIRA INK for all the world to hear. The neighbors were complaining? who cares!? more Valek and Yelena to go around!

Okay. The actual book. Right.

At first, I was a bit confused. The only first person pov is Yelena's, while Valek and Janco's are told in third person. It took me a couple of chapters to adjust to it, but once I did I was able to swiftly devour the book *insert evil laughter here*

I didn't even pause when references to events that happened in the short stories I haven't read popped up. While I had no idea who these characters were, Snyder did a great job filling in the gaps so I had no trouble grasping the gist of things. But if short stories are your thing, you might want to give them a shot before jumping into this one.

Now, I know you probably didn't hear a word I said after Valek's pov. But yes; the swoony master assassin (never thought I'd say that) and Yelena's heartmate lets us peek into his head in this installment. Which was just... incredible. We got to experience how much Yelena truly means to him and OH THE FEELS. We knew he loved her, of course, but my view of him was slightly affected by her belief that she would always be second to the Commander in his eyes. She is so wrong *melts into a pile of goo*

And did I mention we get to explore his past? Because we do. And if you say you're not intrigued by the events that turned him into the King-Killer then you're lying. In Shadow Study we get all the juicy details; young Valek. Valek in training. Valek and the Commander meeting. And of course, the event that gave him his nickname.

Wait--What? Already gone to get the book? I didn't even get to the part about the emphasis on Valek's relationship with the Commander, a theme bound to continue to the second book at the very least. And let's just say I'm very curious at how it will proceed!

And of course... JANCO. If you don't love Janco, then... then... inconceivable! And if you do love him... he stars in this book, alongside a new character called Onora. Janco and Ari are always going to be the Power Couple of this universe, don't worry, but I kind of ship Little Miss Assassin and the Rhyme Master, ain't gonna lie.

And of course, there was Leif, Ari, Opal & Devlen, Reema, Kiki... there was no shortage of awesome characters, awesome interactions, awesome situations, and a great story-line that keeps you guessing and intrigued, with every chapter ending in a way that makes you need the next one.

And that ending... Let's put it like this: I KNEW IT and I am freakin' happy and excited! 

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