Back in the Saddle: A Review of Night Study by Maria V. Snyder


Last night, I did that thing we all do. I stayed up late, sitting up in my bed to finish an enticing novel.

I know I mentioned a review of Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates by Tom Robbins, but I finished that and felt like it was a lesson I’m going to need to mull over for a while.

Any who, I finished  Night Study by Maria V. Snyder, one of my favourite fantasy authors. Now, when I read Shadow Study, Snyder’s first attempt to revive the Study Series I was not impressed. Shadow Study felt forced. It was as if I was being spoon-fed one “oh shit!” scenario after another without much plot in between. Snyder relied too heavily on her reader’s former investment in the majority of her characters to really have them rounded out this time around. The only character in Shadow Study I thought had any real plot to handle was Valek, and that’s only because he had multiple flash-backs.

Night Study is a completely different experience.

The best way I can describe the two novels is that moment when you stumble over your own feet while walking and you break into a run so no one notices. Shadow Study is the stumble and the panic, Night Study is the lurch forward and the run that exhilarates and redeems you.

Snyder, to quote a 90’s cliche, got her groove back with Night Study. My favourite characters felt rich and alive again, the plot ran a twisted course which kept me going, and the “Eureka!” moments I had about the plot before the characters just made me feel that much more satisfied.

All in all, Snyder has found her way back into my heart. When I started reading yesterday I was on page 140, the novel ends on page 444. I feel like that says it all. My only two pet peeves are that the new Study Series titles don’t feel anywhere as relevant to the plot as the first three did. Also, the covers of my first three don’t match my fourth and fifth novels because they stopped making the covers I have! Which really pisses me off because they are the best looking covers, in my opinion, and my bookshelf OCD is now going insane. Also Shadow Study has different cover measurements than Night Study. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT ABOUT MIRA NOVELS?!?!? I feel as if the publishers are trolling me.

If you haven’t yet read all of Snyder’s Study Series, I suggest you get to it! Poison Study, the first in the series is still one of my favourite reads and I blew through Magic Study, the second in the series, in 48 hours and I was going to school then. Go, go dear readers and experience the heart-breaks and the triumphs of the Study Series. I can’t wait for Dawn Study, which I have to wait another year for!

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