Author: Maria V. Snyder

Guest Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

Posted March 29, 2016 by TG in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. SnyderReviewer: TG
Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study Series #4, Soulfinders #1
Also in this series: Night Study
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: February 24th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 416
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four-stars

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...

Okay so I want to start this off by saying that Poison Study is my favorite book of pretty much all time. So I was nervous going into Shadow Study. What if it ruins the first books for me? What if the characters suck?

They didn’t. This book didn’t do anything but make me love Poison Study even more. Now then, on to the review.

My main impression of this book was that it was setting up for the next one. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I almost felt like there was no true climax. But the conflicts in this story are definitely fresh and new, and the character development is worth the “to be continued….” Feeling.

Also Valek’s backstory. That’s all I have to say.

I’d give this a solid 4/5 for character development and writing, with points taken for the somewhat anticlimactic ending.

four-stars


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Review: Night Study by Maria V. Snyder

Posted March 22, 2016 by TG in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Night Study by Maria V. SnyderReviewer: TG
Night Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study Series #5, Soulfinders #2
Also in this series: Shadow Study
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: February 1st 2016
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 400
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four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder transports readers back to the realms of Sitia and Ixia in an exciting new Study novel full of magic, danger and intrigue. 
Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana's life has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia is safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear.  
Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he's quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he's been keeping secrets from Valek…secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander's mysterious plans, they realize it's far more sinister than they could have ever imagined.

So, I want to start off once again by saying that the first 3 books of the study series are my absolute favorite books. I talk about them all the time, and I could probably quote Poison Study line for line. When I heard new books were coming out, I had some mixed emotions. That constant fear that the sequel will ruin the prequel is very relevant, but once again the book held true to the tone of the first trilogy.

That isn’t to say however, that I was 100% satisfied with this book. The first 30 pages were hell, because I was convinced that this was where the sequels quit being cool. Thankfully Snyder knows what she’s doing (I hope lol) and redeemed the first chapters with the rest of the book. Even a true skeptic like myself could understand why the things that happened were necessary (and in character!)

Overall the developments with Valek and Yelena’s relationship soothed my shipper heart, and the new characters kept things good and spicy.

So I’d give this book an 4/5 for spice and intrigue, taking points off for the first 30 pages of hell.

four-stars


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Review: Storm Glass by Maria. V. Snyder

Posted May 6, 2009 by Holly in Reviews | 11 Comments

Review: Storm Glass by Maria. V. SnyderReviewer: Holly
Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Glass Series #1
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: July 30th 2013
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 432
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Award-winning author 
Maria V. Snyder 
brings readers into a world of molten magic, where storms can be captured within a glass orb and a magician's powers can remain hidden…until challenged by enemy forces. 
As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowan understands trial by fire. Someone has sabotaged the Stormdancer clan's glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians. The Stormdancers—particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade—require Opal's unique talents to prevent it from happening again. But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap into a new kind of magic. Yet the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear. With lives hanging in the balance—including her own—Opal must control her powers…powers that could lead to disaster beyond anything she's ever known.
www.mariavsnyder.com

Storm Glass is book one in Maria V. Snyder‘s new Glass series, a spin off of her wildly popular Study series. This book is narrated by Opal Cowan, who we met for the first time in Magic Study (Study series, book 2). I don’t believe this book can be read as a standalone. Too many things that happened in the previous trilogy are alluded to. Readers who are new to this series should begin here at their own peril.

This novel features one adventure after another. Opal is first told she’ll be traveling with 4th Magician Zitora to help the Stormdancers because the orbs they store energy they harness from storms are breaking and killing them off. They need her to help them figure out what the problem with their glass orbs are. From there she’s lead on many other adventures.

Opal was an interesting character. In the beginning of the novel she seriously lacks self-confidence and has very low self-esteem. Because of things that happened in her past, this is somewhat understandable, but I think it went a little far. By the end of the novel she was showing signs of improving, but I feel she has a long way to go still. Especially after events the events that transpired here. I wonder if she’ll backslide?

Unlike in the Study series, the romance in this book is much more prominent. It’s obvious right from the beginning that Opal feels an attraction to Kade and her budding romance with Ulrick is at the forefront of the story. I really enjoyed Kade’s character and hope we find out more about him as the trilogy progresses. Ulrick I’m reserving judgment on for now.

View Spoiler »

The story is fast-paced and action packed, but at times I felt like things were moving so quickly we missed some of the character development. I am willing to look past though, however, because the series will be continuing. One of the characters I’m most interested in learning more about is Devlin. I hope once you read this (if you haven’t already) you’ll come back and tell me your feelings on him. There are definitely some shades of gray to his character.

I think the world-building was rich and colorful in this novel, and it was easy to get wrapped up in the characters and the world they live in. Despite the few issues I had, I couldn’t put this down and look forward to the next installment (Sea Glass, September, 2009).

4.25 out of 5

Book Cover
 

Book CoverBook CoverBook Cover

This book is available from Mira. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Check out my reviews of the Study series below:

Poison Study
Magic Study

Fire Study

Interested in reading this book? Leave a comment on this post or Maria’s guest blog to be entered to win one of three signed copies!

four-stars


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Review: Fire Study by Maria v. Snyder

Posted March 29, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Fire Study by Maria v. SnyderReviewer: Holly
Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study #3
Also in this series: Poison Study, Magic Study
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: August 15th 2012
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 400
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

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 is the much anticipated third novel in Maria V. Snyder‘s first person Study series about Yelena, a young woman who has recently discovered she has magical powers and works to control them as outside forces interfere.

This book opens where the last one ended, with Yelena in Sitia trying to learn exactly what magical abilities she has. But Ferde, the Soulstealer she helped capture in Magic Study, has escaped along with Cahill and before long Yelena is wrapped up in trying to uncover a plot against Ixia and the Commander, and battle some new personal demons..ones that change her, and not for the better. Not to mention her trying to figure out exactly what being a “Soulfinder” means and dealing with the prejudices of all the Sitians – especially 1st Magician Roze Featherstone – have against magicians like her.

In theory, this should have been an amazing book. But it somehow fell short of my expectations for it. It was just as well written as her first two novels, but where the characters were complex and shown in shades of gray in the previous novels, they were all black and white here. With the exception of Yelena, who changed once again into a mistrustful, fear filled character who, instead of growing and maturing as she’d done in the previous two novels, seemed to digress into what she was at the beginning of Poison Study.

While I understand her reasons for doing so, and while I feel it was necessary to the story for Yelena to act the way she did, I couldn’t move past it. There were too many inconsistencies and plot holes, too many characters acting out of the ordinary and too many questions left unanswered. Even Valek, who I love, was different in this novel. Not that we saw enough of him. Or at least for my liking.

Even so, Maria V. Snyder is excellent at world building, and her writing is stellar. So even though I had issues with the overall story and the way things were resolved in the end (just too many unanswered questions) I still enjoyed the book. I especially enjoyed learning about Yelena’s ability and what it means to be a Soulfinder. Maybe if she’d taken just a bit more time to clear up loose ends and flesh out her characters better I would have enjoyed this more.

Oh, and I don’t believe this can be read without having read the first two in the series. Had I not re-read Magic just before I started this one, I’m not sure I could have followed along.

3.5 out of 5

Not terrible, but not a great end to the trilogy, in my opinion.

The series is as follows:

Poison Study
Magic Study
Fire Study

You can buy this book here or here in eBook format.

three-half-stars


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Review: Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

Posted March 28, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 8 Comments

Review: Magic Study by Maria V. SnyderReviewer: Holly
Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study #2
Also in this series: Poison Study, Fire Study
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: August 15th 2012
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A lesson in loyalty—a master class in intrigue
So far, I've managed to survive. You would think after being kidnapped as a child, imprisoned in my teens and released to become a poison taster, I would have endured enough. But no. The discovery of my magical abilities—powers forbidden in Ixia—has resulted in an execution order. My only chance is to flee to Sitia, my long-lost birthplace.
But Sitia is unfamiliar. I'm treated like an enemy—even by my own brother. Plus I can't control my powers. I want to learn about my magic, but there isn't time. A rogue magician has emerged and I'm targeted as his next victim.
Will my magical abilities save me…or be my downfall?

This was a re-read in preparation for the third and final book in this trilogy, Fire Study.

I absolutely adored the first book in this series, Poison Study. The world building was amazing, the characters wonderfully fleshed out and well written and the story fresh and intriguing. In her second novel, Maria V. Snyder carries all those things over and more.

The thing is, I didn’t enjoy this book as much the first time around as I did with each subsequent re-read. Yes, I liked it, but I didn’t think it was as good as the first until I re-read it several times. The more I read it, however, the more it appealed to me.

The book picks up right where the first one left off, with Yelena returning to Sitia for the first time in 14 years, to meet a family she doesn’t remember and learn about her magically abilities, ones she’d be murdered for possessing if she remained in Ixia.

I loved watching Yelena with her family and all the others in Sitia who also possessed magical abilities. Once again the best part of this book wasn’t the story, or the characters, though they were amazing. It was learning about magic. The magic that Yelena possesses, the magic others in Sitia possess, the way Yelena has to use and harness hers to help find girls who have gone missing, only to be found weeks later, brutally murdered. With the help of some new friends, her antagonistic brother, and some old friends, Yelena tries to help find the latest girl to come up missing, not to mention the person responsible.

Yelena’s brother was an interesting character, and seeing the struggle he and Yelena faced while trying to deal with each other was beautifully written. He drove me nuts for half the book, but I fully understood his reasons for acting the way he did and was able to forgive him at the end.

We also saw Valek again, which I loved. 😛

So even though I wasn’t in love with this book the first time I read it, I fall a little bit deeper in love with each re-read I do. Although it’s not as good as Poison Study, I’d still highly recommend it.

4.5 out of 5

The series is as follows:

Poison Study

Magic Study
Fire Study

You can buy it here or here in eBook format.

four-half-stars


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