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Shadow Study (The Chronicles of Ixia, Book 7) Paperback – 12 Mar 2015
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About the Author
Maria V. Snyder is the New York Times bestselling author of the Study series, the Glass series, the Healer series, Inside Out, and Outside In. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Meteorology from Penn State and a Master of Arts degree in fiction writing from Seton Hill University. Unable to part ways with Seton Hill, Maria is currently a teacher and mentor for the MFA program. Find her on the Web at MariaVSnyder.com.
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Writing: I liked that the author has decided to do multiple POV because as much as I like Yelena as a character, I find singular POV novels can get quite monotonous and repetitive, especially Opal Cowan. There were a good few grammatical errors and missing words, I had to re-read some sections and make sense of them. I felt the book was rushed almost, with a lot of padding for new readers to grasp the book as standalone. I find that quite annoying. Just read the series!
The Story: It didn't spam as much time, usually Maria's books in this series cover a number of seasons, and there is a lot more happening. I didn't feel there was any action or drama in this and it was clearly evident why Yelena had lost her magic. I liked that Ms Snyder didn't jump right in with a Janco/Onora romance, definitely a good thing as pairing off is common and predictable in YA novels.
Among other things, in Scent of Magic, Avry says 'who me?' when talking about herself, exactly as the main character in every other book. To me, this sounds as though Snyder is probably writing about herself rather than creating a unique character in each story which, unfortunately, means all the characters are the same.
This story is also pretty much a repeat of the others, but with different scenery and the same thing was happening, but to a different character. I really felt like I was plodding through the book rather than getting lost in its world. Unless Snyder can develop her characters so that the hero, Valek, can really behave and think like a man (albeit one in love) instead of a lovesick teenage girl and the heroine thinks and behaves like the tough character she's supposed to have been trained to be instead of a weakling sap constantly whining about her poor fate and filled with indecision (which would go against her original strong character), then I'm afraid she's lost a previously loyal reader.
Yes, terrible things have happened to Yelena, but would someone who has been rigorously trained and gone through serious hardships, including attempted murder on more than one occasion, fall back to being a quivering mouse like the younger girls in Snyder's other books? Or would she more likely have more determination and courage, and probably a sense of revenge to see things through and take her next calculated step like the older and more experienced woman/mentor she's supposed to be?
And Valek, his training is described in detail in this very book. The cold determination it would have taken such a boy to go through something like that is at complete odds to the man he is now described as. At one point he is filled with near blind outrage that his love has been injured by someone (which has happened before without his extreme reaction). I would have expected him to behave in a much more calm and focused manner as the leader and fighting man he's supposed to be. As I wrote, the characters have all merged into one.
Try Juliet Marillier, Cinda Williams Chima or Glenda Larke to name but three other women writers in this genre. All their characters are individuals with nuances to their behaviours and the storylines are amazing.
It begins with Yelena and Valek who going about their day to day lives hidden away in a cottage enjoyed each others company. However, evil lurks and Yelena is attacked and loses her magical ability because of it. This leads both her and Valek down many different paths and with the help of their family and friends and assorted colleagues they become more and more embroiled in the mystery that ensues.
This story has a lot of humour, regarding the antics of Ari and Janco, I loved their voices which are heard consistently throughout as the author has chosen to write the novel from the viewpoints of multiple characters. I am not usually a fan of this kind of style of writing but it made sense to do so here as the crew are set on many disparate journeys. It also worked as a thrilling plot device, because just as you were reaching a cliff hanger with one character you would then join another one and becoming equally intrigued regarding their plight.
This is a very return to the fantastically imagined worlds of Ixia and Sitia and the magically realms that surround them. I can't wait to visit again.
The characters had grown and yet still the people we had read and loved and wanted them to do well and keeping going and this book while showing you the character’s life forward a little in time since we last saw them but it was like you now knew what happened after the book you last read and you also got to see how they changed and what they are doing now but most of all you got more information and views into the characters.