Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Soulfinders series
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com
Rating: 4/5 stars
I got a copy of this book through NetGalley to review. It is the first book in a new series featuring Valek and Yelena, although technically it is more like the 4th book in the Study series. It starts up a short time after the events in Fire Study. I would definitely recommend reading the Study trilogy before reading this one. Although Snyder does say in the Afterward that she worked to write this so it could be read separately from the Study series.
I was a huge fan of the first two books in the Study series, but I honestly haven’t really enjoyed any of the other books Snyder has written all that much. I read the first two books of the Glass series but just didn’t enjoy it that much. I also read the first two books of the Healer series and didn’t enjoy it either. So it was with some trepidation that I picked up this book. It ended up being better than I expected but still somewhat flawed.
Yelena and Valek are struggling to find time to spend together. One of their rare moments together is ruined when Yelena is attacked on they way to meeting Valek. Despite this Valek has to return to Ixia to deal with security and defense there, he is trying to track down the origins of a smuggling ring. Shortly after Valek leaves, Yelena finds out that during the attack she was poisoned and can no longer use her magic. She is now determined to track down her attacker and solve the mystery behind her magic loss. Instead she discovers that Ben Moon has escaped from prison and she has to enlist the help of her Sitian friends to track down both a cure to the poison and Ben Moon.
The absolute high point of this story is that we get to spend a lot of time with Valek and we get to learn a lot about his history. The story switches between a lot of characters, but we mainly hear from Valek and Yelena. About half of what we hear from Valek are flashbacks into his past as he was training to become an assassin. We learn about the path Valek took to get to where he ended up today. These parts are incredibly interesting and entertaining and Valek remains my favorite character in this series.
The other high point in this series is the introduction of another assassin named Onora. She is fierce, witty, and very fun to read about. I really enjoyed reading about her.
The low point of this book is, again, Yelena. I stopped enjoying her as a character in Fire Study and I still think she is a poor character that is not engaging. Yelena does the same stupid things (rushing into things, not trusting her friends) that she did in the Study series. She is annoying and constantly needing rescue. She isn’t as bad when Valek is around, but most of the story they were apart…again.
I would really love to see Yelena and Valek actually work together and be in the story together at some point. However, the majority of this story they are working apart and keeping many secrets from each other (this seems to be the standard in their somewhat broken relationship).
Overall this book was better than I expected and does a decent job of continuing the story of Valek and Yelena that was started in the Study series. The high point of this book is the flashbacks into Valek’s past and the fact that nearly half of the book is told from Valek’s perspective. I continue to have trouble actually enjoying Yelena as a character, but the history we learn about Valek and the addition of another assassin character, Onora, makes putting up with Yelena worth it. I would recommend to fans of the Study series. I would also recommend you read the Study series before reading this book; that series is a decent fantasy series with lots of magic and intrigue in it.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge