Yelena and Valek continue to investigate strange murders and goings-on in both Ixia and Sitia and uncovers deep mysteries and conspiracies that threaten both Ixia and Sitia. I can’t really say more because I don’t want to spoil it! And I’ve only just realised how hard it is going to be to talk about this book without spoiling it. But here goes!
First of all, along with Yelena’s first person point of view, we continue to receive Valek and Janco’s third person point of view and now have an added bonus of Lief, Yelena’s brother’s point of view as well. This is probably the only issue I have with the book, and that’s Yelena being surrounded by so much masculine energy that we get a whopping THREE male points of view, but there’s no other female point of view. When it comes down to the little ‘family’ Yelena and Valek have built around themselves, it sorely lacks in male-female ratio, despite Ixia being equal opportunity and Sitia having powerful female leaders. I’ve a keen interest in female-led all-male teams, the kind you find in urban fantasy, and the lack of other empowering females found in these groups. Yelena certainly doesn’t need empowering: even with her magic powers mysteriously disappeared she is brave and resourceful and active, but it is starkly evident that most of the energy that surrounds her is masculine. I’m not quite sure what that says about the other females and their agency in the book, especially since Onora, who is the promising young assassin after Valek’s job, was left out of the second half.
That being said, now I can start gushing about what I loved about the book, which was everything else. From the very first page I felt like I was meeting an old friend again. I’m so in love with this world and the characters who live in it. I love the way Snyder crafts a mystery that keeps me off-balance and guessing the whole way through. I love the red herrings, the false leads, the fact that characters do sometimes screw up and Snyder won’t come and helicopter them out of danger, no, they’ve got to figure it out for themselves. I loved the two pretty major twists that I honestly didn’t see coming and that filled my heart with unconsumed joy.
Even with four points of view it was easy to keep track of who was narrating. With three warrior men who love Yelena in their own ways I found differences in their narrative voices that made tracking the story easy. The only issue I had was that the chapters ended so well that I often found myself wanting to skip over the next parts to get back to the ‘current’ plot. My problem being that that happened on every chapter!
Leif’s point of view was necessary as his knowledge and experience in certain areas helped move the plot forward. I especially love the teasing, almost flirtatious banter between Janco and Yelena. Most of all, I love how Valek is a total badass whose loyalty is changing over time, yet he knows Yelena will still do what she wants to do, and watching him try to predict her movements and vice versa filled me with joy. Their moments together were something to cherish as the plot forced them apart but their thoughts were consumed with how they could be together again. I remember not being a Yelena and Valek shipper until Shadow Study and my intense feels about them continue in Night Study.
I feel like the characters learned so much and advanced the plot in ways that this book can’t really be considered a ‘filler’ novel or to suffer from ‘middle book syndrome.’ Everything about with was exciting and I still don’t know who to trust, who to root for, who’s truly alive and who’s truly dead, and I look forward to it all being uncovered and wrapped up in Dawn Study, which promises to be just as exciting and mysterious as its predecessors.
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.