We were given a copy of Shadow Study at a blogger event hosted by MIRA Ink, where we also got to meet the author and have the book signed! It’s been quite a while since I read the Study series, but Yelena is one of my all time favourite characters so of course I had to read this new instalment straight away! Shadow Study was packed full of intrigue and mystery, making it the perfect starter to a new series that will appeal to both old and new readers! However, if you don’t want to be spoiled on the Glass Series we suggest you read Opal’s trilogy first!
Shadow Study pretty much picks up right where Spy Glass finished. Yelena is now 27 and Valek in his late thirties. The couple were taking a well earned vacation away from their duties, but only for about three pages before Yelena is targeted by a poisoned arrow that seems to have caused the loss of her magic.
Something interesting about Shadow Study was the mixture of 1st and 3rd person. We got to experience Yelena’s perspective as usual, but were introduced to the minds of Valek and Janco. One downfall of third person is the inevitability of characters being out of the loop. Progression was made slowly, and it was difficult to remember which characters knew what. It was pertinent to assume that Yelena knows best. Janco’s perspective seemed to be used for light relief and to increase tension between Valek and Yelena’s chapters. Not necessarily a bad thing, but frustrating, as it seemed we were taken away from the action, just when things got going. This led to a rather stop-start narrative, and was perhaps made this book seem slower paced.
Unlike the Study Series, Shadow Study was driven more by conversation and backstory, rather than action, as many characters were involved in trying to figure out why Yelena was powerless. This led to the reintroduction of old favourites, like Opal! It was wonderful to see her so happy in her new life, and we really hope that her children’s storylines come into play in the sequels. In regards to backstory we hear about Valek’s youth as an assassin (his origin story, if you will.) Although interesting we knew the outcome, so the information wasn’t exactly new.
Half way through the novel, we had already made our deductions as to why Yelena had lost her powers, and the cliffhanger only confirmed our suspicions. Even though the cause was not explicitly described, by using our knowledge of the characters it was easy to join the dots. From this discovery we’re interested to see how the story will progress. In many ways Shadow Study felt like a prequel to a more impressive sequel.
Overall, we would give this book 3 stars. It certainly satisfied our love of the characters and the unique world. After reading Opal’s story it was nice to be back in Ixia. After such a break between the publication of Fire Study and Shadow Study Yelena had grown up and therefore this series will suit both an adult and young adult readership. Looking forward to Night Study, too bad it’s a two year wait!