February 15, 2015

ARC Review of Shadow Study (Study #4) by Maria V Snyder

Release Date: February 24th, 2015
Rating: 4 stars

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the Publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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...

*I received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for my honest review*

First Thoughts

Oh, thank goodness! I really enjoyed Shadow Study! I must admit, I was a bit nervous about how I would feel while reading this. I had loved, loved, loved Poison Study, but then it seemed like Magic Study and Fire Study lacked that special spark and uniqueness Poison Study had. A few chapters into Shadow Study and I breathed a sigh of relief-- we've returned to Poison Study quality, people!

What I Enjoyed

Valek's POV chapters. How genius! It's always a delight of mine to read a story through the eyes of different characters, but Valek's chapters were unique in the sense that they also contained flashbacks of his training to become the King Killer.

Janco's POV chapters. Can I just say, I love Janco!! His point of view chapters were so entertaining! I adore how he can find humor in the most dire situations!

The book can be read without any backstory. I haven't actually had the pleasure of reading the Glass Series yet (although I plan on rectifying that soon!), and I found that there were mentions of characters and certain events that occurred during those books. Maria V Snyder does a fantastic job in giving a brief, but full explanation of these people and events so that a new reader is not lost.

Nearly every chapter had some sort of cliffhanger. I mean, how cool!! This writing technique had me flipping page after page to satisfy my curiosity, only to be met with a new cliffhanger that intrigued me even more!

What Could Have Been Better

Yelena's brain. I've said this before-- why does Yelena keep rushing into danger without any backup?? There's a part in Shadow Study where Yelena and some other characters are in a warehouse that has just been cleaned out by the smugglers; Yelena is looking around for a magic door while the authorities look for clues in the remnants the smugglers have left behind. Guess what happens? Yelena finds a magic door, enters the room alone, and is kidnapped AGAIN! She must have a death wish.


Had the poison run its course? Or was it still inside of me? One way to find out.

I drew a deep breath and reached for the blanket of power. Nothing happened. Trying again, I concentrated on pulling a thread of magic.


Fear pushed up my throat. I swallowed it down, determined not to panic.

I opened my mind to Kiki. What's going on?
No response. Not even images.
Dead air surrounded me.
My magic was gone.

Recommended For

Fans of the Study and Glass Series, of course, or those who like the young adult fantasy genre!

Happy Reading!

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