Friday, January 29, 2016

#Friday Review - Night Study by Maria V. Snyder (Fantasy)

Series: Soulfinder # 2
Format: E-ARC, 448 pages
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Publisher: Mira
Source: Publisher 
Genre: Fantasy>Magic

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.

Night Study is the second installment in the Soulfinders series, the fifth installment in the Study series, and the Eighth installment in The Chronicles of Ixia series. After the stunning ending to Shadow Study, Yelena and Valek have more on their plate now, than ever before. Yelena is understandably confused about her lack of magic and her condition which comes with all sorts of hints, clues, and explanations. 

Yelena has been the target of several high level assassination attempts largely because of her Soulfinding abilities and being the Liaison between Ixia and Sitia. She, Valek, and their allies still has to face Owen's machinations, his allies, and the fact that he is still on the loose and may be up to something so stunning, that it may affect the kingdoms of both Ixia and Sitia. Night Study is a story that revolves around several key players including Yelena, Valek, Leif, and Janco.

I really do enjoy the scenes between Yelena and Valek even when they spend time away from each other due to circumstances and inevitability. If they can survive what happens next, they may have a bright future ahead of them. They, as a couple, really have come a long way since she was a food taster for the commander. Valek is a much more interesting character these days even though he has major issues with the Commander, and has to look over his shoulder constantly to ensure nobody stabs him in the back.

I loved how Snyder gives readers a glimpse of Valek as something more than just the Commanders assassin, or King Killer as most of Ixia knows him for. I liked that he has a reunion that is long time in coming with his parents. I loved that he has a much more softer approach to his people and doesn't immediately want to kill someone who makes a mistake. 

I like how Valek and Yelena are not alone in the struggle against Owen. Janco, Ari, Leif, and even Mara have parts to play in what happens next. I liked how dangerous this story felt, and each character has a life or death moment that leaves readers turning the page quickly to find out what happens next. While Janco and Leif's parts in this story are brief, they are not unnecessary to the enjoyment to the book.

Night Study is filled with shocking twists, turns, surprises, and curious revelations about both Yelena, and Valek. Night Study is the bridge to the final installment called Dawn Study which releases in 2017. Which means there are a whole lot of suspense filled scenes, dastardly movements by the villains, and it has our heroes back on their feet, instead of attacking. Yet, Snyder still makes room for scenes that will melt the hearts of even the hardest people to please. 

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