Snyder, Maria V. Shadow Study. 416p. ebook available. Mira. February 2015. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9780778317401. Science Fiction/Fantasy. Gr 10 up.
Snyder goes back to the world of Sitia and Ixia in this fourth installment in the Study series. Readers follow Yelena and Valek on a new adventure and most will even recognize one of the villains from the previous books. Yelena transitions from being the all-powerful Soulfinder to relying on instinct when her powers are neutralized. Valek, on the other hand, may have come face to face with his replacement when he finds a young woman in the Commander’s chamber after breaking through his lax security. Now, he must decide if this newcomer is worth training or if she is a threat of a different kind. Ari and Janco are not to be left out and slide into their familiar banter with little effort. They provide comedic relief for the otherwise stressful situations that arise from being friends with one of the most powerful magicians in Sitia.
Fans of the series will enjoy being back in this world; moreover, they will be ready for the next installment as Snyder leaves it on quite the cliffhanger. Readers will have an easy time catching up on what’s been going on with the characters since Fire Study through the detailed back story that Snyder weaves in. This is very helpful for readers who may be reading out of order or didn’t read the other books in the Study series and Glass series before picking this up. Snyder's writing style, world building, and character development from Poison Study to Shadow Study have really developed into one that will pull you in and keep you there until long after the last page.
*Back Jacket (source Maria V. Snyder)*
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...