Title: Shadow Study (Soulfinders #1)
Author: Maria V Snyder
Published: February 24th 2015
First line: Ugh, mud, Kiki said as she splashed through another puddle.
Last line: Sorry, too spoilery!
Bungle and I are huge fans of Maria V Snyder so when we found out that there was going to be another Shadow series involving Yelena and Valek we were excited to say the least. To then be invited to take part in the blog tour…well, you can imagine. The tour post will be going up tomorrow. In the meantime, what did we think of the first in the new Soul Finders series? Well…..
Once, only her own life hung in the balance…
When Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. She 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, dissent is rising. And Valek’s job—and his life—are in danger.
As Yelena tries to uncover her enemies, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked.And now she must find a way to keep not only herself but all that she holds dear alive.
The action in Shadow Study begins pretty much on the first page as Yelena is returning to the hideaway she shares with Valek. After coming under attack Yelena realises that her magical abilities have been obliterated. By whom and why it’s unclear but the result sets Yelena on a path that you know from the outset will lead her into danger, especially given how vulnerable she now is and taking into account how she is perceived by those who deem her to be a threat. Valek meanwhile has to return home to investigate a series of dodgy dealings on the black market. There’s a lot changing in his world, not least his role with the Commander and there are already certain individuals hovering in the background waiting to leap into his shoes. At the same time Janco and Ari are still very much with Valek and taking part in the investigations which really create a story within a story I think.
It was great to catch up with old favourites, made better I think through the use of a multi POV, especially from the viewpoint of Valek where we get to learn more about his past and how he became the King Killer and the person that he is today. It was also good to meet up with Janco again as he’s always been a favourite character of mine and he brings much needed humour at various points throughout the book. Leif is as stoic and faithful as ever and I enjoyed the addition of Onora, a new assassin to the team who is out to kick some serious ass!
The plot twists and turns between all the characters and evolves through each of their perspectives offering much richer detail than would have been the case had we just been restricted to Yelena’s story, however, I would like to have seen more interaction between Yelana and Valek being the soppy old romantic that I am. I think all that is likely to change over the series….
By the end we have an exciting climax to the story, with some questions unanswered, more challenges ahead and a huge change in dynamics coming as the plot progresses. I do love a “What the…..” ending and I certainly got it here! Can’t wait to pick up the next instalment to see what happens next!
4/5 It’s sometimes scary when a series that you love gains a new addition and you wonder whether something that was so successful shouldn’t just remain as it is. Not so here. Shadow Study is the start of an amazing new series. Anyone who has enjoyed Yelena’s story so far needs to get to a book shop. Pronto!