Book Review: Shadow Study
By: Maria V. Snyder
Published By: MIRA
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Page Count: 384
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Fantasy
Writing Shadow Study was a little risky for Maria V Snyder. After all, her readers flat out LOVED the Study series; its hard to improve on but would be easy to tarnish. Luckily, Maria has the knack and wrote a fabulous continuation of the series. In Shadow Study, the story continues eight years after the last Study book, and jumps right in on a romantic break with Yelena and Valek. *sigh*
At least, that's their plan. What they don't count on is an attempt on Yelena's life, that sets them both on different paths... again. This pair don't have it easy and they barely share any page time together! Still, it keeps the romantic excitement ticking along.
Valek heads back into Ixia to discover what has been happening with the Commander, and Yelena has a big problem to solve - the mysterious disappearance of her magic. She links it to a poisoned arrow, intended to kill her, and sets out to discover what this unfamiliar poison could be. The cast from the Study books return with aplomb - Janco and Ari, Opal, Fisk, as well as Kiki and a few others all help. Perhaps what I missed most of all would be what Yelena misses dearly, and that's her interaction with Kiki. As her magic goes, so does her communication with her faithful steed. I did enjoy their trip into the Avibian Plains though - just because Yelena doesn't understand Kiki, it doesn't mean Kiki loses any of her good sense, navigation skills or magical gust-of-wind gait.
As far as the story goes, there is a good sub-plot about a smuggling problem between Sitia and Ixia that involves a number of the characters, and although it starts out as a minor plot point it builds up beautifully, involving lore from the Study trilogy really effectively to bring about a new problem to tackle for the rest of the new trilogy. Fantastic story telling! There's also a lovely bit of foreshadowing at the beginning that links right into the ending, and although I picked it up, I think it plants another great seed to drive the story onwards.
All in all, this is a fabulous treat for fans of the original Study series! It isn't necessary to read the original Study books here to enjoy Shadow Study, but it would help. Likewise with the Glass trilogy, although I think there are some spoilers here for those who want to read it later, so perhaps it would be better to read the series as they came out to avoid being spoiled.
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.