(SPOILERS) Dawn Study – Maria V Snyder

Despite the odds, Yelena and Valek have forged an irrevocable bond and a family that transcends borders. Now, when their two homelands stand on the brink of war, they must fight with magic and cunning to thwart an Ixian plot to invade Sitia.

Yelena seeks to break the hold of the insidious Theobroma that destroys a person’s resistance to magical persuasion. But the Cartel is determined to keep influential citizens and Sitian diplomats in thrall and Yelena at bay. With every bounty hunter after her, Yelena is forced to make a dangerous deal.

With might and magic, Valek peels back the layers of betrayal surrounding the Commander. At its rotten core lies a powerful magician and his latest discovery. The fate of all rests upon two unlikely weapons. One may turn the tide. The other could spell the end of everything.

Goodreads rating: ✮✮✮✮ (4.22 stars)

My rating: ✮✮✮✮ (4.5 stars)

I have been on this journey with Valek and Yelena since she was the Poison taster for the Commander, and I am, one of the many Snyder fans, who are sad to be coming to the end of the series. It took me a while to read this book, mostly because I didn’t want the series to end, but also wanting to find out how it does end. Basically I was in a lose-lose battle with my emotions.

This book concludes the fight between Ixia and Sitia, and whether or not Owen Moon succeeds with his big bad plan to take over the world, with Bruns and the Commander mere pawns in his fight. Also, will Yelena get her magic back? Is it all down to the baby, or has the Cartel created a substance to remove a magicians magic? I hope this review will answer the questions all of us Snyder fans have.

To start, the book carries on with the character chapters, and we learn about the battle from the perspective of Yelena, Valek, Janco, Leif, Heli, and probably other characters that I can’t remember. I am, however, disappointed that there wasn’t more of Kade, but glad that all of the previous characters were included in the grande finale. Nevertheless, Snyder deserves props for keeping all the individual personalities shining through.

There are, however, a number of positive and (slightly) negative issues I had when reading this book.

Yelena continues to remain the strong female character, and this book makes me love her so so much, and want to somehow protect her. Yelena has grown into such a strong and independent character, and I am glad that Snyder didn’t change her so much, especially regarding the pregnancy. Yelena handles everything so well, from her belief that Cahil would change sides due to not being influenced by Theobroma, to the constant travelling when pregnant.

HELI IS A LESBIAN!!! I squealed when she came out, and especially when she said that it didn’t matter if anyone found out. I really hope that, in a not too distant future, Zohan and Heli get together, despite there being no indication to Zohan’s sexuality. I feel like Heli would really help ease Zohan’s move from Ixia to Sitia, and also help her become better adjusted to her magician powers. It was just a refreshing change having someone who was not heterosexual mentioned in the book, especially with the range of characters.

Thirdly, I am all soppy inside because I love twists and turns and a happy ending. I felt like the ending was a little anticlimactic, but seeing as how Yelena has spent the series finding herself, it only seemed right that we end the series with Valek. It was nice seeing that softer side of him, and it made the ending that much better.

Now on to the stuff I didn’t like as much.

Valek. I loved Valek so so much. I loved when he was the handsome man in his dress uniform. I loved when his assassin abilities came out, and I loved how strong he was. However, I found him to be very very childish and moan-y in this book. He seemed very un-Valek. There was something missing, and he didn’t seem to trust Yelena that much, or her abilities, and he even doubted his own abilities. Plus his magic? I don’t know. I feel like he changed too much in the soulfinder trilogy to appeal to me, and even though I have my issues with his personality changing, I know that some people like that, so I’m putting it down to my preferences.

Secondly, the sex. I’m surprised Valek and Yelena got any talking done or discussing done, because no matter what was happening when they were together, there was the constant sex. Nothing graphic, but it was completely clear that whenever they were together, there was only one thing on their mind, and it wasn’t the weather. I don’t know if it is just my asexuality coming out, but I felt like their relationship lacked substance and depth.

Lastly, I am a little disappointed with the constant action. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and the pace was okay, but I felt like there were too many storylines included in this book. It was an issue that I had with the previous book, so I will put it down to me wanting more time with the characters.


Despite all the positives and negatives, I really enjoyed this series, and I am really sad that it is over. It is a series that I will no doubt be returning to again and again. I am also looking forward to what Snyder has in store for her readers.


You can find this book on goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16130760-dawn-study

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