Night Study – Maria V Snyder
Release date: 26 January 2016
Rating: ★★★★★★★★ – 8/10
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Night Study (Study series #5; Soulfinder series #2; Chronicles of Ixia #8) blurb:
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 are 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 realise it’s far more sinister than they could ever have imagined.
This series is getting dark! But really sweet at the same time (which is a super weird combination)…
Snyder continues to write in her new style of switching between characters for each chapter. I found the addition of Leif, Yelena’s brother, a nice surprise in this story, varying it from the others so far. Each chapter also feels like it ends on more of a cliffhanger, so the entire story drags you in further when reading.
I’ll be honest, I ended Shadow Study at 1:00 am on a Sunday morning, picked up Night Study straight away, and didn’t stop until 3:00 am when my partner threatened to break up with me unless I turned the lamp off… I try not to read too much during the week as I need brain power for work (and that requires sleep), but finished the book the next weekend. It has been a long time since a book hooked me so much that I couldn’t put it down!
So we parted Shadow Study with the news that Yelena was pregnant (obviously with Valek’s baby – not sure why I felt the need to point this out). In Night Study we continue her journey to discover how and why she has lost her magic (and if she can get it back), as well as trying to stop war between Sitia and Ixia, and also figure out WTF is going on with the Commander. Just a normal day’s work for the former Soulfinder…
We also continue with Valek’s side missions from the Commander that seem to land him in some deep water (pun intended – I absolutely cop to the bad jokes around here), and overcome his intense desire to keep his heartmate from harm.
In terms of writing style, Snyder captures Yelena well, but I feel that she struggles somewhat to capture a man’s point of view. Not being a guy myself, I base this from reading books with a male protagonist, written by a male author (David Eddings, Terry Pratchett, John Green, James Patterson, Tom Holt, etc.). While I love Valek, Leif and Janco, reading from their point of view (Valek’s in particular), in the previous novels and until about two thirds of the way through this story, it does come across as somewhat “mushy” (this isn’t quite the word I want to use here, and want to put this clause in case I can’t come up with something better before I publish this post – but it gets the point across). This is primarily where Valek is expressing his love for Yelena, not when reminiscing about his past. However, I also found the scene at the gravestone a bit over the top, even though it is explained a bit later.
The overarching plot is good, with little to no holes or gaps between the books so far (I have read authors that took 25+ years to release 7 books and rereading them just prior to the last book I found a lot of discrepancies I missed before). I am interested to see where Snyder will go with this series, as the final book, Dawn Study, should be released at the end of this month.
Fingers crossed that Yelena and Valek get their happily ever after!