ARC Review: Night Study

Night Study

Title: Night Study

Author: Maria V. Snyder

Series: Chronicles of Ixia, #5

Publisher: MIRA Ink

Release Date: February 25th 2016


Five Stars

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.

– Blurb courtesy of

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“Assassins had been hired to kill me, I had no magic and Owen Moon – a dangerous and powerful magician who also wanted me dead – was at large. Plus this new girl, Onora – yet another assassin – was after Valek’s job as Ixia’s security chief. And he had dozens of enemies.”

After facing Owen Moon, and very nearly losing, Yelena needs time to regroup but it’s time she doesn’t have. After recent revelations having come out about Owen’s deal with the Commander Yelena, Valek, Janco and Onora head back to Ixia to warn the Commander about Owen’s true intentions. They hope to head Owen off, and set up a trap before he reaches the Commander’s castle, but they soon realise they have been fooled by Rika Bloodgood’s illusions and that Owen Moon is likely already in Ixia.

Back at the Commander’s side Valek’s relationship with him is falling apart, and Valek is left wondering when the Commander started to keep him in the dark. The Commander lied to Valek about the truth behind his investigation into the smuggling ring; he sent an assassin after Yelena, and stage another assassination attempt on his own life. Now he forbids Valek from searching out Owen, Rika or Tyen while they stay in the castle, and instead puts him on the trail of the Storm Thieves. However Owen doesn’t have the same commands holding him back; he tracks down Valek, nearly killing him before going after Yelena.

Valek called for Yelena. He raced up the stairs, then returned a few minutes later, wild-eyed and frantic. “She isn’t here. Owen said she’s next. We need to search the castle!”

After the attack, and in the light of the ultimatum the Commander issues for Yelena, Valek decides they are no longer safe in Ixia and plans to leave the Commander’s castle taking Yelena with him to investigate the Storm Thieves. However when Yelena realises what Owen’s real plan is, the reason he is amassing Curare and working with the Commander, she knows she needs to head to Sitia, and the Magician’s Keep, to warn them about what she has realised.

With a promise to reunite with Valek again Yelena, Janco and Onora head back to Sitia. However Yelena comes to realise that, just because Owen is hiding out in Ixia, it doesn’t mean that Sitia is a safe place for her to be. Magician’s are going missing and when Yelena arrives at the Keep she discovers her brother Leif is among the missing. Meanwhile back in Ixia Valek is on the trail of the Storm Thieves, trying to track them down and stop them before they can strike again, but when he discovers them he discovers something that forces him to face the past he long thought he’d left behind.

…The Characters

“When he’d told his father that killing the King had been freeing, he’d lied. Everything he’d done up to this point had been a result of that day. It was as if he’d been frozen in time.
Yelena had been the only one to reach him through the ice, drilling a small opening.”

Valek, in both this book and the last, has been forced to confront his past; first his journey to become to assassin that killed the King. Then, in Night Study, he goes even further back and finally deals with what put him on that path; his brother’s deaths. In light of Yelena’s revelation Valek needs to decide what kind of man he really is and what he wants for his future.

His relationship with the Commander may be fractured beyond repair, due to the secrets and lies the Commander has kept, but Valek still wants to believe in the man he pledged his life to so long ago.

“He watched the four of them leave. An unsettled feeling swirled in his stomach. Every time he and Yelena parted, one painful memory from his childhood always darkened his thoughts—the time he’d witnessed Yelena’s kidnapping and done nothing to help. Each time she left him, he relived his shame and guilt.”

Leif is one of my favourite characters from the Chronicles of Ixia series. He has made a tremendous journey through the all six books; part of him hated Yelena when he first met her again after she returned to Sitia but the two repaired their relationship and Leif is now someone she can rely on, someone who supports her through everything.

He can sometimes be very cocky however, and when Iris warns him of the missing magicians he honestly believes he won’t get caught only to end up walking into a trap, but he is also kind, compassionate, smart and beyond loyal and dedicated to his wife.

After discovering she may be pregnant Yelena, like Valek, is forced to think about the future as well as about how she really feels regarding the fact they may soon have a child. It isn’t the right time, not with everything going on with Owen, Bruns and the Commander but she starts to get used to the idea. In spite of the possibility always in the back of her mind not much has changed, she still needs to stop Owen and the plans he has set into motion, but when her child’s life is in danger she is willing to do anything to make that threat go away.

“Till death. I do swear, love.” Valek whispered in my ear.
“Beyond death. My vow to you,” I said.
He drew back to meet my gaze. “So we shall be. Forever united.”
“We shall be,” I agreed.
This time his kiss vibrated to the very core of my soul. Our pledge solidified our connection, creating an unbreakable bond.

Yelena and Valek spend more time together in Night Study, which I loved reading. They are both strong characters on their own but they are stronger together and I really enjoyed seeing them once more working through their problems as a team. However when they are both pulled in different directs, Yelena to Sitia to warn the Magician’s Council and Valek to MD-1 to deal with the Storm Thieves, they know they have to go their separate ways. Their loyalties to their countries and their desire to keep war from erupting between Ixia and Sitia are more important than staying together for the moment.

…The Setting

“It would take Valek approximately nine days to reach the coast of MD-1. He’d have to cross the northeastern section of MD-8 to get there. The reports about where the Storm Thieves had hit listed many of the towns along the northern section—a place Valek knew well.”

While we have seen a lot of Sitia over the course of the seven previous books set in Yelena’s world, besides the Commander’s castle and Brazell’s mansion we haven’t seen much of Ixia. Night Study follows Valek to MD-1 and we get a glimpse at where he grew up, and where he trained to become an assassin. We also see a lot more of Sitia in Night Study; following Yelena from Owen’s greenhouses, where he was growing Curare, to the Magician’s Keep, and Bruns Jewelrose’s Cartel in the heart of Sitia. I always love seeing more of the world Maria V Snyder has created in her Chronicles of Ixia series; it is incredibly well thought-out, all the subtle nuances there that are often left to the reader’s imagination in other books.

In my opinion, Night Study was even better than Shadow Study. The stakes were higher, not only for Yelena and Valek but for all their friends, and in spite of their strength they still struggled to come out on top. I cannot wait for the final book in this new trilogy; I only hope the very last line of Night Study isn’t foreshadowing anything.

What did you think of Night Study? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

All quotes have been taken from an ARC and may differ in the final publication.

3 thoughts on “ARC Review: Night Study

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