Once again, I’ve neglected to mention the middle book in a trilogy, despite having reviewed the first when I read it last year. I picked up Night Study some time late last year, and then Dawn Study, the conclusion to Yelena’s story in Sitia and Ixia, was released only last week.
I had been looking forward to the release of Dawn Study for quite a while. It being the ninth Chronicles of Ixia book, I was more than ready for a big, show-stopping finale, plots and intrigues galore, and demonstrations of magical power and stealth that would blow me away.
I was not given any of those things. Dawn Study ends the Chronicles of Ixia not so much with a bang as with a whimper, and I was left pretty deflated.
New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder brings her Poison Study series to its exhilarating conclusion.
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.
I don’t think I can really put my finger on what specifically it was about this book that I wasn’t impressed with. On the surface, it had everything that the previous instalments in the series had – wisecracking antics, tension, a villain trying to take over the country, magical influence, the ever-useless Council of Sitia, a frankly intimidating Commander, and Valek and Yelena’s unconventionally lovely relationship. But something was missing. Perhaps it was the spark of Ari and Janco together, or the fact that Valek and Yelena were somehow too closely tied together, muffling the independent yet intertwined relationship which I so admired in the earlier instalments, or maybe the fact that it seemed to be an endless repeat of ‘someone gets captured, scheme, rescue, it doesn’t quite go to plan, repeat’.
I think there were too many characters going on in this book, which meant that none of them got the page time and development they deserved, and there was a serious lack of tension in this book, followed by a terrible feeling of anti-climax at the conclusion.
Furthermore, I didn’t like any of the three cover arts for Dawn Study, and even actively disliked the Harlequin cover (the middle in this post), which is very unusual, because I totally loved their covers for the other eight Ixia books.
There wasn’t anything specifically wrong with this book. It still had a lot of things to be admired, it was engaging, I enjoyed going back to Yelena’s world and it had nods to her past as a poison taster and magician, and everything was wrapped up pretty nicely at the end, giving a conclusion to the nine-book series, Yelena’s six starring roles, and the Soulfinders trilogy, but it was missing a lot of the spark that made me love the earlier books.
I also still can’t stand the fact that Yelena’s narrative is in first person while everyone else’s is in third-person. What a strange choice.
Overall, while this was good, it wasn’t great, and I would have expected a lot more from what was supposed to be a thrilling conclusion to the story.