The Shadow Study Blog Tour
Feb 16th-20th and 23rd-27th
Hosted by Rockstar Book Tours
You guys! I am so excited. You can't even imagine.
I remember the first time the name "Maria V. Snyder" registered in my brain. All these calls had been coming in to the store (formerly Borders Glendale, may it rest in peace) for a book called Fire Study. Well, all our copies sold out the first Tuesday they were on sale, and it just made me wonder--what the heck? It was the third book in a fantasy trilogy and I'd never heard of it before, which was unusual because I was usually all over the sci-fi/fantasy section.
I went home with the first book that night, read through to morning, went to work, bought the second book (the third book was sold out at that point, so I had to order it), then went home "sick" because at that point I had been awake for two days, read some more, and I don't even remember what happened the next day because I probably blacked out, haha! (And yes, this is the origin story of my blog name).
So I'm happy to be part of the blog tour for the 4th Study book--technically, the first book of the Soulfinders series--Shadow Study. Read on for a description, my review, and an international giveaway (there will be 10 winners! you don't want to miss this!)
Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
Publication date: 24 February 2015 by MIRA
Category: Adult Fantasy/Romance
Keywords: Magic, Conspiracy, Spies
Format: Paperback, ebook, audiobook
Source: ARC from publisher for review
Note: No spoilers in this review, but if you haven't read the original trilogy starting with Poison Study, you may be a little confused. I'll be revealing things that sound like they might be spoilers, but they happen in the first few chapters of Shadow Study and are mentioned in the synopsis. So read at your own risk!
Okay, okay--truth. This was not a true Stay-Up-All-Night rating, in that I read Shadow Study over a couple of weeks in little fits and starts, instead of a night-long binge-read resulting in calling out sick the next day. This happened because I have a day job, and I'd like to keep that day job. There are also little things like chores, errands, general hygiene (why does proper dental care take so long?), classes, and commuting that take up my time. I would sneak little bits of it here and there. So yeah, I did put it down for many hours at a time. But I really didn't want to.
Maria V. Snyder fans had been clamoring for a continuation to the Study series set in Ixia/Sitia for years. And boy, did we get it. Yelena, everyone's favorite Soulfinder and ex-poison taster, is back--except someone has poisoned her and somehow taken away her magic. Uh-oh.
True to form, Snyder's story splits Yelena from her heartmate, Valek, as he returns to Ixia to sort out some shady business--smuggling, skullduggery, and a young upstart assassin who's after his job. Yelena, meanwhile, tries to find a cure for her condition, made extra tricky by the need to keep the loss of her powers a secret. If Study Series fans know anything, it's that everything will get much, much worse before they get any better.
At least, neither of our protagonists is truly alone in their endeavors: fan favorites Ari and Janco from Valek's elite forces are back, as well as the intrepid, street-smart Fisk and Yelena's brother, Leif, to provide support and the usual shenanigans. Opal from the Glass Series plays a part as well--as do many, many other characters from previous books. Halfway through, I was wishing for a dramatis personae since it's been a few years since I read the Study books over again.
As the unknown villains continue to evade them, more questions than answers crop up: why did the Sitian Council not warn Yelena that a powerful magician escaped from prison? Would the Commander welcome Yelena back to Ixia if he found out she no longer had magical abilities? How are smugglers getting past Valek's usually whip-smart security forces?
Hardcore fans are in for a treat with the beginning of the Soulfinders series, but new readers should probably go back and read the first three books (completionists will also want to read Opal's series and all of the free novellas before attempting Shadow Study). Those who've persevered will be rewarded with an action-packed spinoff series including--gasp!--flashbacks to Valek's training days, when people would call him "Kingkiller" only in jest.
Once again, Snyder leaves readers on the edge of their seats, and will leave them craving more.
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…
"After years of clamoring, fans of Snyder's awesome Study series are about to be rewarded with a new adventure featuring former poison taster turned Soulfinder Yelena Zaltana. Snyder's complex world and rich characterization are what have made this series so unforgettable, and she doesn't miss a beat in this new installment. Having Yelena, Valek, Ari, Janco and the rest back is pure reading pleasure!"
4.5 stars, March 2015
~ RT Book Reviews on Shadow Study
"Doing full justice to the plot of this original and entertaining epic fantasy is impossible. Suffice it to say that the action is nonstop. The many characters leap to life, particularly Yelena, whose first-person narrative is riveting."
~ RT Book Reviews on Fire Study
About the author
Maria V. Snyder changed from being a meteorologist to a novelist in 1995, when she began writing to keep her sanity while raising two children. Since then, she has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers, and teaches fiction-writing classes at the local college and area libraries. The classes give her the wonderful opportunity to encourage fellow writers, and to keep improving her craft.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria always had a fascination with big storms. Dreaming of chasing tornados, Maria earned a bachelors of science degree in meteorology at Penn State University. But she discovered, much to her chagrin, that forecasting the weather wasn't one of her skills. In order to chase tornados you had to predict where they might form. Creating fantasy worlds where she has complete control of the weather was more agreeable to her.
Writing proved to be more enjoyable than meteorology, and Maria returned to school to earn a Master of Arts degree in fiction writing from Seton Hill University. Unable to part company with Seton Hill and its wonderful writing program, Maria is currently a teacher and mentor for the MFA program.
Maria's research on food-tasting methods with an expert chocolate taster, her husband, turned out to be a delicious bonus while writing Poison Study.
Maria has a brown belt in Isshinryu Karate, and enjoys playing volleyball and the cello. Traveling in general and via cruise ship in particular are her biggest distractions from writing. Maria has traveled to Belize, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal.
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 NIGHT STUDY, the second book of the NEW set of three Study books with Yelena and Valek!
Readers are welcome to contact Maria at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The blog tour is giving away 10 finished copies of SHADOW STUDY! Open Internationally. Enter using the Rafflecopter below! Don't forget to leave some comment love (no, it's not mandatory, it's just nice!) for all of the blog tour hosts.