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Tiny Navajo Reads: Shadow Study

Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦


shadow study
This is not Yelena, Yelena has black hair and green eyes…slightly irritated at this.

This is the first book in the final trilogy concerning The Chronicles of Ixia and the Glass Study series, we come back to a new story with Yelena, Valek, and everyone else we have met in the past six books. The only difference is that now Yelena doesn’t only have her life to look out for.


When Yelena was just a food taster in Poison Study, her life was much simpler and less dangerous. Now that she has survived and has become essential to the balance of power between Ixia and Sitia, she uses the power that she discovered in the first book to protect her life, her family’s life, and the life of her love, Valek.

But when just about everyone starts to attack Yelena and Valek from both sides, both politically and life wise, Yelena struggles to protect herself, especially as something has started to block her Soulfinding magic. As Valek seeks to protect himself and his job head of security to the Commander of Ixia, and Yelena seeks to find out who is behind all the plots to destroy the fragile peace that had been between Ixia and Sitia for the past seven years, she realizes that her life as a food taster was much simpler. And less dangerous as well.

What have been your favorite books, or book series, where you follow a character for several years? Comment below and let me know!

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Tiny Navajo Reads: Fire Study

Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

fire studyThis book series has confused me slightly. I thought that this was just a middle book in a large series. This is actually the last book in a trilogy that focuses on Yelena Zaltana. In this book, we see that Yelena is not only afraid of her magic, of being a Soulfinder, but she is afraid of what could happen to her should she decide to do what everyone thinks she will do, take the souls of others and use them to enhance her own power.

As word spreads about Yelena unique abilities starts to spread throughout the Citadel and Keep, people become nervous and uneasy about what she could do. As the Council debates what to do with her, Yelena receives word that the Soulstealer she defeated during Magic Studyis moving against her homeland and family in order to augment his power and the power of others once again. As Yelena, Lief, Moon Man, and the rest of her friends struggle to not only save the Zaltana homeland, but to save the souls of those who are fed to the Fire Warper, Yelena learns that there is much more to her magic that she, and others, originally thought.

Throughout this whole book, we see Yelena struggle not only with believing and trusting herself but trusting her magic as well. With the negative connotations associated with her magic, and what has happened in the past with previous Soulfinders, Yelena is finding it harder and harder to trust that she’ll do what is right in Sitia, and control her magic. But as she journeys to protect her family, she discovers that being a Soulfinder is more than being able to control the soul of someone, it’s about being able to set souls free, to keep them from hovering around where they don’t belong. She learns that her magic is what she makes it, not what others perceive it as.

I liked that this book shows that Yelena is struggling and learning. I liked that it showed that Yelena is the same as a lot of us, that while she may have a powerful magic, she is still limiting herself some due to her own fears and inhibitions. But once she learns that she is who determines her magic, not others, she is the one who controls what she does with her magic, not others, she embraces her magic and discovers that she can do so much more than anyone else could have thought.

I love this series, and how to shows that people can do what they want to do, and should do, when they put their minds to it. Yes, this series is slightly simplistic, in who’s good and who’s evil, but at the same time, it is not. It shows that while some things are simplistic, other things are not. There are people out there that are just plain rude and mean, and evil. There are also people out there who believe that what they are doing is correct and will protect those they love.

Has there been a book series that you thought to be a little simplistic, but still gave a good moral lesson? Was the lesson smack you in the face, or subtly there? Comment below and let me know!

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Tiny Navajo Reads: Magic Study

Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

magic studyWe start where we left off in the previous book, Poison Study, where Yelena is making her way south to Sitia to master her magic, escape possible death from Ixia, and possibly…meet her family.

Things seem to become an instant storm of emotions and betrayals when Yelena meets her family, the Zaltanas. She almost fits in perfectly, her parents welcoming her back with welcome arms, a cousin deciding that she will wait and see what happens; her brother, decides that she must be a spy from the north, why else would she smell of blood and violence? It seems that magic is strong in the Zaltana family, with Yelena’s brother has the unique ability to sense the intentions of others, making him a unique asset to catching criminals.

As Leif, Yelena’s brother, and Yelena make their way to the Academy where Yelena will continue her studies, and where Leif will advise the Council, they are ambushed by someone claiming to be the nephew to the King of Ixia who was killed by Valek during the takeover of the new regime. Yelena does what Yelena does best, and gets herself out of the mess, but proceeds to do what she can to prove that she is not a spy for Ixia, as claimed by her brother.

Her Master, Irys, meets her at the Academy after Yelena and Leif make it there, and having Yelena’s mind dug through by one of the other masters and her training continues. It’s here that Yelena learns that her magic may be an even more unique than her brother’s, which is frightening to some of those in the Academy. As Yelena learns more about her new life, she catches the eye of a dangerous man with magic no one should have. As with what happens in Ixia, this man tries to take the magic to add to his own. What he didn’t expect was for Yelena to fight back even more now, especially with her grasp on her own magic has matured even more.

Yelena does what she can to stop this man, but another gets in her way, making it harder for her to do what she believes is right. But throughout it all, she has the support of her friends, both old and new, and she’s able to do what she needs to do.

What book series, if at all, are you revisiting for your Beat the Backlist challenge? Comment below and let me know!

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Tiny Navajo Reads: Poison Study

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

poison studyThe first in a series for me that I’ve read before, but I’m starting to reread again. I had forgotten how much I love her style of writing and her style of magic. In this first book, we are introduced to a world where a military regime has taken over from the previous monarchy of greed and corruption. In doing so, they have set up a strict regime. There are rigorous punishments set out to fit the crime committed. In the case of Yelena, she murdered the son General Brazell, whose son she murdered.

As the time for her execution comes, Yelena is offered a chance at life, if she offers to become the Commander’s food taster. She takes it, grasping desperately at any chance of survival. While she now has more days than she had, she now has to worry about being poisoned and dying, as well as dying from a slow death of Butterfly’s Dust, given to her by the Commander’s head of security. By appearing each day for the antidote for the Butterfly’s Dust, she lives another day.

Problems start to arise though, as a rogue magician from the southern country starts to wreck havoc, rebels seeking to seize control of the regime, and Yelena starts to develop magic, something that is illegal in her country. Yelena struggles to gain control of her power, stay alive with her job as the food taster, and just not die. She learns her job, she focuses on controlling her magic and figuring out how to NOT DIE. But as things start to come to a head, Yelena figures out that not everything in her life can be easily sorted into dying and not dying, living and not living, as she thought it would be.

What series have you decided to reread this year? Why are you rereading it? Comment below and let me know!