Monday, December 7, 2015

Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

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.
‘A compelling new fantasy series’ – Rhianna Pratchett, SFX on Poison Study

I loved the Study books but I had forgotten how much until I read this one.

In Shadow Study, Yelena is now a liaison between Ixia and Sitia. However, her magic suddenly disappears and now she must find a way to get it back. It's not going to be easy, though. The Commander is plotting something, and assassins and old and new enemies are coming after Yelena.

Early on, I had a hunch as to why Yelena's powers were blocked, and based on that ending, I think my hunch was correct. That aside, there were still plenty of surprises for me in this book.

For example, there were several parts of the Commander's intricate plan that I didn't expect. It felt a bit like I was reading the Study series again and trying to decide if the Commander was a villain or a good guy. The Commander is Machiavellian, and while I understand where he's coming from, that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Majority of the book is spent setting the scene for the rest of the series. Yelena and Valek are mostly apart, and have different missions, but they end up crossing paths later in the book. This meant, of course, that I spent a good portion of the book wishing that they'd meet up already. I hope they get more time together in the next book, and I'm really curious to see how Yelena and Valek will handle things, given that ending.


  1. The plot twists concerning the Commander's plans are quite brilliant.
  2. We get glimpses of Valek's past.
  3. That was certainly an interesting development in Yelena and Valek's relationship.  


  1. Some fans may wish for more Yelena and Valek moments. 

Valek had learned the best way to distribute information was to classify it as secret. 

  1. You loved the Study series.
  2. You like complex characters.
  3. You like strong heroines. 




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