Tag: Study Series

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
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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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Sunday Spotlight: Night Study by Maria V. Snyder

Posted March 6, 2016 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 8 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a new feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release that we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

When I read Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder back in 2008, I swept away by the story and characters. The plot was so fresh and the mystery so intriguing, I anguished over waiting for the next books to be released. That first trilogy has stayed with me over the years, and I often go back and think of it fondly.

Now, Snyder has returned to the story of Yelena and Valek with another trilogy, and I’m thrilled.

Night Study jacket
Night Study by Maria V. Snyder
Releases on January 26 by MIRA INK

Order the Book:

AMAZON UK || AMAZON US || WATERSTONES || KOBO || BARNES AND NOBLE

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.

Excerpt

Extract from Night Study by Maria V Snyder

My lips still burned from Valek’s kiss. The intensity of it seared into my soul like a red-hot iron branding his name right on my heart. The idea of being locked in a tower with him no longer sounded so terrible. If my magic never returned, what else would I do aside from raising our child? I might be content…for about a week.

Valek mounted Onyx. He met my gaze, and his smile promised a reunion worth waiting for. Then he was gone, leaving behind a cloud of dust. The rest of the world returned, appearing duller.

“Yelena,” Onora said.

I focused on her. “Yes?”

She held out a roll of parchment. “I drew this for you.”

Suppressing my surprise, I took it and unrolled the sheet, revealing a picture of a tree drawn with charcoal. Each oval leaf had been carefully detailed, along with the precise lines and shading of the bark. I half expected it to sway in the breeze.

Why would she— I gasped. “It’s the Harman tree, isn’t it?”

“Yes.” Onora’s tone was matter-of-fact.

She’d gone into Owen’s suite and sketched one of the saplings, despite the danger. Impressive and brave. “When?”

“This morning. Right after I talked to you.”

“Did anyone see you?”

“No. And I didn’t touch the trees or go near them, just in case there was a magical alarm.”

“Smart. I want to admonish you for taking such a risk, but…” I waved the picture. “This is perfect. You are a talented artist.”

She shrugged away the compliment. “Will it help your father identify the tree?”

“Yes. He’ll be ecstatic. And then he’ll bug me to invite you to the jungle to go on an expedition with him and draw plants. To him, that’s the ultimate experience, and he doesn’t understand why others aren’t jumping up and down at the prospect.”

Onora laughed. It was a small burst of sound as it escaped her tight self-control. “I might actually like that.”

“When all this mess with Owen is resolved, consider yourself invited.”

“Thank you.”

I tucked the picture into my saddlebags. Ari and Janco finished readying their horses.

The Stable Master gave Ari’s horse a pat on the neck. “His name’s Diamond Whiskey, `cause of that diamond-shaped blaze on his forehead. But we all call him Whiskey for short. Take good care of him and make sure he returns with you. The Commander’s partial to him.”

Ari paused in midmount. “Why did you pick him then? I can take another.”

“He’s the strongest of my lot.”

“That’s a polite way of saying you’re fat, Ari,” Janco said.

Ari and the Stable Master ignored him.

The Master pointed to Kiki and The Madam. “I also picked him `cause he gets along well with the girls.”

“Being able to get along is a good quality to have,” I said, giving Janco a pointed look.
He batted his eyelashes at me—Mr. Innocent. “Hey, I’m the epitome of a team player.”

I suppressed a sigh as I swung into my saddle. Janco in high spirits meant more high jinks. However, no matter how hard I tried, I really couldn’t consider that a bad thing.

“Come on, Epitome,” I said. “Mount up. I’d like to cross the border before dark.”

Night Study by Maria V Snyder is out 25th February in the UK (£7.99, MIRA INK)

ARI AND JANCO! VALEK! ::DIES::

giphy (14)

via giphy

Study Series

Night Study Blog Tour Banner

Giveaway: We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of February’s features.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re excited for this year!

Maria1

Maria lives with her family and a black cat name Valek (a.k.a. the bug assassin!) in Pennsylvania where she is at work on another book and/or a short story (yes this is purposely vague – as you can see, Maria is very busy and updating her website takes time that she just doesn’t have. Oh, all right, but if this information is out of date, don’t blame Maria :). Actually, Maria is hard at work…well not at this very second…on NIGHT STUDY, the second book of the NEW set of three Study books with Yelena and Valek! The first of the new set, SHADOW STUDY will be out March 2015!


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Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Posted January 29, 2013 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Rowena’s review of Poison Study (Poison Study #1) by Maria V. Snyder.

Main Character: Yelena
Love Interest: Valek
Series: Poison Study #1
Author: Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

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.

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 . . .

So Yelena is up for execution because she killed a man. Before she is executed, she’s offered a job as The Commander’s Food Taster, she has to taste his food to make sure there aren’t any poisons that would kill the Commander. She has to become an expert on poisons and Valek takes her under his wing and trains her in the art of poison. She proves herself time and time again to him and the book ends with me hoping to read more in the second book, Magic Study.

I liked this book a lot. I loved seeing Yelena’s character grow in self confidence as the book wore on. I loved watching her stand up for herself and not having anyone fight her battles for her. I loved the friendship that blossomed between her, Janco and Ari. It was genuine and I enjoyed it. I loved how her relationship with Valek progressed throughout the entire story. They went from being very wary of each other to missing one another and then to loving each other. That was great, I got all giddy when Valek told Yelena that he was having criollo sent up to our room…hehe, it was great! The characters were great, the storyline was fantastic and all the espionage and spy stuff had me guessing right up until the last page.

Great stuff!

What I didn’t like about the book was that it took a long time for the story to take off. It was slow to start for me but I’m glad I stuck with it. Another thing was Valek’s tests, that man would drive me up the wall, though I thought he was a sexy man with his fierceness in the battlefield. All the tests he put everyone through and how he was so complex, it had me secondguessing him throughout the whole book…that could be a good thing, keeping me on my toes but it annoyed me some in the book. Aside from the slow start and the constant tests, I loved it!

…and that’s your scoop!

This book is available from Mira. This book was purchased by the reviewer and these are her honest opinions on the book.
Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://goodreads.com


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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
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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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