Feb 14, 2015

ARC Review--Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

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.

Yes, the days of tasting poisons were much simpler. And certainly not as dangerous.

I received this ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, I was in no way compensated for this review.

Let's just take a moment to thank the incredibly talented Maria V. Snyder for bringing to us yet another AMAZING novel! Not only that, but also the fact that we're back with Yelena and the gang! I so have missed the Study world and coming back to it is a delight like none other! Shadow Study is the start of a new trilogy, but yet continues Yelena's adventures in land of Sitia and Ixia.

You don't have to have read the previous Study or Glass books to be able to enjoy this one! True, there are returning characters and events mentioned from said books, but you get told the important details. Of course, you could always just read the Study and Glass trilogies and delight in their amazingness as well! That's my recommendation anyway!

It's been eight years since the events of the Study trilogy and Yelena's newest journey starts off with a bang. What should be just a nice reunion with Valek turns into a bit of chaos when someone tries to kill her with a poisoned arrow. Knowing her poisons intimately, Yelena is surprised to not know this one and its odd effects on her. Such as taking away her magic.

What made this novel even more enjoyable was that it's not just in Yelena's point of view, but Valek's and...get ready for it...JANCO'S as well! YES! Janco gets some chapter time! As you might know, I am a HUGE fan of Maria's books and while I adore Yelena and Valek, Janco is my most favorite secondary character! Kiki is a close second! LOL. A lot goes on in and around the countries in this one. Multiple points of view make sense. And with Valek we even get to learn more about him and how he came to be an assassin and how he joined forces with the Commander! It was all very exciting!

There are other issues going around as well, such as a smuggling ring going about. There are lots of secrets in this one and an intriguing new character Onora pops up. I haven't decided how I feel about her after all I've learned. She's quite the mystery, but I love the banter she and Janco engaged in. If you've read the previous books, then you know how Janco is in general! Which is why he is one of my all time favorite characters!

Old enemies return in this one in a shocking new light! Possible new enemies also pop up, but it was so near the end it's hard to figure out that factoid! This was an insanely fast paced read, not to say that things are rushed, but things just keep happening! There's a lot of action and intrigue in this one it's very hard to put down.

There wasn't a whole lot of romantic time for Yelena and Valek for they were separated for most of the book, but they had little moments here and there. I love the romance between them! The age difference never really effected me much, Valek is a stunning hero and Yelena is a fiercely brave heroine that they just click together. And come on, the perfect assassin having a serious relationship of any kind is just utterly romantic and spine tingling!

I love that all our old friends make appearances, I mean this wouldn't be a Study world book--though it does have a new series name--without Ari and Janco! Let's face it, the power twins own this series, LOL! But we also get to see Opal, Devlen, Lief, and more! This was such and exciting and well enjoyed read! I laughed out loud quite a bit too, mostly when Janco was talking! Or Lief! And oh my goodness, that ending...you think Maria is wrapping things up nicely, obviously the story is far from over, but then she throws in that one little nugget to make waiting for the next book all the more unbearable! Well played, Maria, well played! ;)

Overall Rating 5/5 stars

Shadow Study releases February 24, 2015



  1. So excited to see Yelena and Valek again! Wondering if I should read the Glass series first though so I have a better understanding for this new series :)

  2. Even though this is more of a spin off series, I think I want to read Poison Study first! That way I can enjoy the character returns! :) I'm happy this was such a winner for you, can't wait to dig in!

  3. Yay!! I'm reading this now! I LOVED Poison Study but I didn't care too much for Magic Study and Fire Study. I was a little nervous to start reading Shadow Study, but I really like it so far! I like how it can be read without reading the Study series and Glass series, but I have to admit, the mentioning of events and characters of the Glass series makes me feel like I need to read that series ASAP. For example, I really want to find out how Opal lost her magic!

    Pearl @ AsteriskPearl's Book Blog

  4. I want to read this one SO BAD! But I think I might revisit the Study series first. As I was wrapping up the last couple of Glass books I felt like I was starting to miss references that I really shouldn't have been, and it has been a LONG time since I last read the Study books. I'm glad you said this would work without knowing all the nitty gritty details from the earlier book, but I still think I'm due for a revisit ...

    ~ Liza @ Classy Cat Books


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