Blog Tour: Maria Snyder – Shadow Study.

Title: Shadow Study.
Author: Maria Snyder.
Pages: 384.
Published: February 24th 2015 by Mira
Sort: Study series #4 and Soulfinders #1.
Study #1. Poison study.
Study #2. Magic study.
Study #3. Fire study.
: Netgalley & Publisher.
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.

It takes place six year after the end of Fire Study, the third book in the Study series. Technically this is the fourth book in the series, but they decided to call it a spin-off with a new title called Soulfinders. It was amazing to return to this world and the characters I’ve grown to love. The story was also written in such a way that it wasn’t too hard to recall what happened in the previous books; quite an achievement!

I was invited for the blog tour band I was more than happy to be part of this, because it’s a very solid fantasy series that I highly recommend. This review is spoiler free for the entire series.

The main events in the Study series are about Yelena, who gets a choice: get hanged for her crimes or start a new life as food taster. She learns the art of recognizing poison under the watchful eyes of Valek, spy and assassin from the Commander, ruler of Ixia. This is the start of a thrilling journey where Yelena and Valek start to bond together.
         Six years later, Yelena is officially still an enemy of Ixia, but she works together with Valek to keep the unstable peace between Sitia and Ixia. When the two think they can share a quiet weekend together, an assassin spoils their time by shooting a poisoned arrow at Yelena. Valek is trying to discover how the black market still manages to smuggle goods between Ixia and Sitia.

This book is told from the POV of Yelena, Valek and partly Janco (one of the trusted members of Valek’s team) This had a positive and negative side. I truly loved how we were able to see the story from different sides. Yelena is looking for answers around her magic-problem, Valek is frustrated and suspects there is something strange going on with the Commander & Janco is working together with Ari and new member Onora to discover the smuggler roads.

Valek’s POV gave us more information about his past and how he became the man he is today, which was fantastic! The combination of these perspectives gave an interesting, fast-paced plot with multiple angles, but sometimes it felt a bit too jumpy. It could be hard to let go of a storyline.

The only thing I wasn’t charmed with was Yelena’s rash decisions. This is something I complained about in my previous reviews and unfortunately, she hasn’t changed one bit. She throws herself into dangerous situations without second thoughts and she keeps secrets to herself, which creates more chaos. I know she could be smarter, so it’s frustrating how she acts like she is untouchable – especially in the vulnerable state she’s in. Valek stayed his calm, calculated personality I’ve grown to respect. I like how he keeps a cool mind and his quick thinking comes in handy. I am fascinated by the addition of Onora and I can’t wait to find out more about her.

The plot was nicely created and offers enough suspension and questions to keep you busy. There were some unexpected twists and turns that caught me off guard, which is always a plus point for me. Combine this with an easy writing-style and you got yourself a very enjoyable book. This book was more than I could have wished for. I was a bit scared that the author wouldn’t be able to create the same feeling, but she did. And now it’s time again to wait for the new installments!

For the blog tour I got the chance to send in a question for the author and here is the reply:
Who would you cast to play Yelena, Valek and the Commander if Shadow Study were to be made into a film?’

Maria V. Snyder: This is who I’d cast: Summer Glau for Yelena, Ben Barnes for Valek, Chris Hemsworth for Ari, Edward Norton for Janco, and Cillian Murphy for the Commander. Here’s some pictures so you can get a visual!
Yelena, Valek & Ari.
          Janco & The Commander.
I only imaged Valek to look a little older, but the other authors are spot-on with the images I had in my mind. Cillian Murphy is a very clever find and if you’ve read the books, you will know why. Spoiler, highlight text: I think his appearance captures the fact that The commander was born as a woman. He has a very soft face.
Tell me, have you read this series or are you planning to pick it up soon?


  1. I haven't read this series at all but I'm planning to! It was highly recommended by a friend of mine and I'm gonna buy the first book on my next online purchase :) I'm a bit scared that it will be too complicated for my taste but let's hope not!

    1. That is a good idea! And when it comes to complexity, it's not overwhelming :)

  2. I haven't read the series, but they sound so amazing and come highly recommended. You've made me even more excited to start Poison Study!

  3. Great review! I got a copy throguh netgalley and I really enjoyed this book, it was so much fun to be back in this world! Every pov switch seemed to end with a mini cliffhanger and was a bit jumpy at times, but it was fun to get all the different point of view. And I agree with you when it coems to Yelena her rash decisions, she does some stupid thigns and I just wanted her to think about things before jumping in action that we know goes bad for her. I liked learning more about Valek and his past, it was nice to see his point of view.

    1. Valek is such an interesting character, I loved his background story :)

  4. Gorgeous post Mel. <3 I'm so glad you liked this book :) I still need to read the first three books, but one day ;p But aw, this takes place six years after the other books? Ugh. Then they are much older.. which I won't be liking, hah :p But one day :D Anyway. I'm glad you enjoyed it sweetie. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. <3

    1. I actually liked the time jump! They were closer to my age now, which is always fun :)

  5. Oh, I'm excited that Janco also has a few chapters in his POV! And Valek too, of course. I adored him in Poison Study and I'm excited that we're going to dig deeper into his past and his thoughts. <3

    And yes, Yelena always launches herself into trouble... Reminds me a lot of Rose from Vampire Academy.

    Lovely review, Mel!

  6. I still need to read the other books, but I am still very interested in this book! It sounds really cool. An easy writing style, fantasy, plot twists--I'm definitely in!

  7. I am not sure if I am going to continue this series or not. I loved Poison Study and Magic Study but I waited too long before reading Fire Study and I had trouble reconnecting with the characters and story. But being fond of this series once and knowing that you liked Shadow Study, I may give it a try one day. As an aside, I love that the author picked this cast herself! And these characters are very fitting (at least the ones I am familiar with!)

  8. Goodness, I would for sure watch a movie with that cast! I have to keep my eye on this series for when I am in the mood for a solid fantasy read.

  9. This series is next on my TBR list, I just added it when I saw another review on it. I hope I like it as much as you have - the premise sounds amazing. Wonderful review <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

  10. This is a lovely review, Mel! :D

    I really liked the addition of Valek's POV, especially since we got to learn SO much more about him, and his past, and his relationship with the Commander. It was so lovely.

    I think it's funny that you mentioned Yelena being rash, because I totally did not pick up on it XD Maybe I am just used to her personality enough not to notice any more.

    And ohmygosh Ben Barnes as Valek is SO perfect. I will totally imagine him from now on *.*

  11. I absolutely adored this book! Maria V. Snyder is one of my absolute favourite YA fantasy authors. Actually, she's probably the favourite. I loved Shadow Study especially and I can't wait for the next book. I love your picks as well! I imagined Ari with brown hair for some reason and Janco as a little bulkier but Yelena and Valek look like that to me as well!

  12. Liam Hemsworth?! UMMM FRICKING SIGN ME UP PLEASE! ;)

    In any case, I have the audiobooks of the first two books of this series that I plan to listen to as soon as possible. Snyder is just one of those household names that you just hear everywhere, and I want to get to know her well-known series! Hopefully, Yelena and her brashness and recklessness won't bother me too much XD I usually have a low tolerance for that...

    Faye at The Social Potato

  13. I really want to read this book,but I think I have to go reread the whole study series all over again,before I start this one.And I am looking forward to read Valek's POV.I've always admired him,and it will be great to get into his head.

  14. Since I just barely got these books from a BB recommendation I got to enjoy them all at once without the gap many had. I have to say I really enjoyed them, which is probably why I was so annoyed at the Commander's actions. Hopefully the next book will have some kind of explanation.


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