Monday, March 16, 2015

Review: Shadow Study

Shadow Study (Soulfinders - Book 1) by Maria V. Snyder

Publication Date: 02/24/2015
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Harlequin MIRA
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 416

(Received for an honest review from Harlequin MIRA)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, itunes

Maria V. Snyder on WEB: website, blogfacebook, goodreads

Except from Shadow Study, courtesy of the author's website.


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. 


Shadow Study is the new spin-off book from the Study series by Maria V. Snyder. Readers who loved the Study series will really enjoy going deeper into the past of one of the main characters, Valek. Readers who aren't familiar with the original series, may need a little history to get them started, but this is still a great stand-a-lone novel. Ixia and Sitia have a peace treaty in place, but there is a lot going on behind the scenes from assassins to smugglers. A great new book by a trusted fantasy author!

I absolutely loved the Study series for a so many reasons. The fictional countries of Ixia and Sitia were amazing. The complex political climate was entertaining and imaginative. This was the kind of series that you needed to think about a little bit and I like those. The new book, Shadow Study is the beginning of a spin-off series and I think readers will sit up and take notice. If you loved Yelena and Valek in the study series, finding out so much more about them in this book will be well worth the read.

Valek has always been this kind of mysterious man, who was willing to put his life in danger to protect his Commander and country. I respected him before, but in Shadow Study the reader gets to see into the mystery of Valek's past. I loved the flashbacks and I felt like I learned so much about his motivations and where that strong sense of loyalty in his character comes from. I think Snyder really did this character justice and it made me want to know even more.

Yelena is a strong, independent woman, but she has a lot more to think about now. She and Valek are in love, it isn't just about her anymore. But in this book, the reader almost takes a set back. There isn't much romance except for a brief encounter in the beginning and Yelena is basically on her own in this book, without her magic and vulnerable. I liked seeing her return to her roots and start to relearn how the world works without magic, but I missed that aspect of the story. 

The secondary characters as always, were amazing. Ari and Janco add a lot of comic relief to the book. The mysteriousness of the Commander and his changing ways, was once again an intriguing factor in this book. Onora a new assassin that is after Valek's job was a refreshing addition to the book. I loved the check in with Fisk and his helper-guild. I think Snyder has a good grasp of how to make the side characters essential to the plot. 

Bottom Line:

Excellent characters make for a really great spin-off to the Study series. Soulfinders looks to be a great series continuing the story of beloved characters. I think perhaps you should read the Study series first, just for the background. It's a great stand alone book but there is just so much I think you miss without reading the other books. An excellent start, I can't wait to read more.

Shadow Study is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Maria V. Snyder is the New York Times bestselling author of the Study series, the Glass series, the Healer series, Inside Out, and Outside In. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Meteorology from Penn State and a Master of Arts degree in fiction writing from Seton Hill University. Unable to part ways with Seton Hill, Maria is currently a teacher and mentor for the MFA program. Find her on the Web at