Monday, 16 February 2015

Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

Shadow Study (Soulfinders #1/Study #4)
Behind  407 Pages
Released: 1 March 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN Australia
Pre-Order: Angus and Robertson  |  Booktopia  |  Bookworld  |  Fishpond
At the Other End:
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...

Maria V. Snyder changed from being a meteorologist to a novelist in 1995, when she began writing to keep her sanity while raising two children. Since then, she has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers, and teaches fiction-writing classes at the local college and area libraries. The classes give her the wonderful opportunity to encourage fellow writers, and to keep improving her craft.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria always had a fascination with big storms. Dreaming of chasing tornados, Maria earned a bachelors of science degree in meteorology at Penn State University. But she discovered, much to her chagrin, that forecasting the weather wasn’t one of her skills. In order to chase tornados you had to predict where they might form. Creating fantasy worlds where she has complete control of the weather was more agreeable to her.

Maria’s research on food-tasting methods with an expert chocolate taster, her husband, turned out to be a delicious bonus while writing Poison Study.
Maria has a brown belt in Isshinryu Karate, and enjoys playing volleyball and the cello. Traveling in general and via cruise ship in particular are her biggest distractions from writing. Maria has traveled to Belize, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal.
Maria lives with her husband, son, daughter and yellow lab, Hazelnut, in Pennsylvania where she is at work on more LUNA novels. She is also pursuing a master’s degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University.
Find Maria:
Goodreads  |  Website
The newest addition to the Study series is just as compelling as the original trilogy with a massive plot twist and final pages that will have you begging for more.

Reaction before starting: OMGGGG I’m SO FREAKING EXCITED! VALEK! YELENA! Did I forget to mention Valek? VALEK!

Reaction after finishing: HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME!!!! I need THE NEXT ONE NOW!! PLEASE :’( *infinite flails and cries*

Prepare yourselves Study fans, this one will blow everything you knew out of the water. I’m not even joking here, all the surprises that come and the shocks will leave you gasping for air. 

Warning, before you go to read this book; make sure you re-read the Study AND the Glass trilogy’s before you start this new trilogy. I haven’t read the Glass series at all, and that was my own fault so the first half of the book while it was going on explaining everything that was happening and including new (new to me, old to the Glass trilogy) characters that have this history I’ve got no idea about! I was confused and I admit, I wasn’t that into the book when this was happening. I blame myself for not reading the Glass trilogy before I started, but luckily enough, I re-read the Study trilogy last year sometime so it was all still fresh in my mind :D BUT, after getting through the first half the novel definitely did pick up for me, and I enjoyed it a lot more, especially because it was getting right in the thick of things. So. Much. Corruption.

It was good having all three perspectives, Yelena, Valek and Janco in this book. They were all in separate places and had different things going on that would lead them to the same place eventually, learning different things that lead to one big picture that when I found out, I was shocked, yet not that shocked. I wasn’t that shocked just because while in Valek’s perspective, he goes back into his past and remembers how he became an assassin and then how he and the Commander became allies. It was then that Valek gave a little hint (that I, and most probably he, didn’t realize was a hint until the truth was revealed) and it all made sense. BUT NO!! HOW COULD YOU (__insert name here__)!!!! I TRUSTED YOU!

Ok, now I am dying for the next book. I want to see the talk and I want to see Yelena and Valek and their new problem. Wow, that problem that was sprung onto me right on the last page of the book, the very last words! (don’t you dare turn to the back of the book!). Oh, the FEELS! And that one line from Valek before the last page had me swooning (yep, I’m still swooning now from what he said).
Shadow Study is a fantastic continuation to a beloved series, and I cannot contain my excitement for the next book. I’ve got some suspicions, guesses and some hopes.

Poison Study (Study #1)
Released: 2005
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN Australia
Buy Me: Angus and Robertson  |  Booktopia  |  Bookworld  |  Fishpond
At the Other End:
Choose: A quick death... Or slow poison...

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace -- and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust -- and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear . . 

Magic Study (Study #2)
Released: 2006
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN Australia
Buy Me: Angus and Robertson  |  Booktopia  |  Bookworld  |  Fishpond
At the Other End:
You know your life is bad when you miss your days as a poison taster . . .

With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way to be reunited with the family she'd been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But though she has gained her freedom, she can't help feeling isolated in Sitia. Her Ixian background has changed her in many ways -- and her newfound friends and relatives don't think it's for the better . . .

Despite the turmoil, she's eager to start her magic training -- especially as she's been given one year to harness her power or be put to death. But her plans take a radical turn when she becomes involved with a plot to reclaim Ixia's throne for a lost prince -- and gets entangled in powerful rivalries with her fellow magicians.

If that wasn't bad enough, it appears her brother would love to see her dead. Luckily, Yelena has some old friends to help her with all her new enemies . . .

Fire Study (Study #3)
Released: 2008
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN Australia
Buy Me: Angus and Robertson  |  Booktopia  |  Bookworld  |  Fishpond
At the Other End:
The apprenticeship is over—now the real test has begun.

When word that Yelena is a Soulfinder—able to capture and release souls—spreads like wildfire, people grow uneasy. Already Yelena's unusual abilities and past have set her apart. As the Council debates Yelena's fate, she receives a disturbing message: a plot is rising against her homeland, led by a murderous sorcerer she has defeated before...

Honor sets Yelena on a path that will test the limits of her skills, and the hope of reuniting with her beloved spurs her onward. Her journey is fraught with allies, enemies, lovers and would-be assassins, each of questionable loyalty. Yelena will have but one chance to prove herself—and save the land she holds dear.

This novel was received for review via Harlequin TEEN Australia. This review is entirely my own, no bribery or any deals have been made to sway this review or change my personal opinion of the novel.

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