Can’t Wait Wednesday : Navigating the Stars (Sentinels of the Galaxy #1) by Maria V. Snyder

ScifiMonth

I’m combining today’s Can’t Wait Wednesday with Sci-fi month, an event being hosted by One More and  Dear Geek Place (check out the #RRSciFiMonth hashtag to keep uptodate)

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Can’t Wait Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : Navigating the Stars (Sentinels of the Galaxy #1) by Maria V. Snyder

NavigatingNavigating the Stars is the first book in a new science fiction series.

Terra Cotta Warriors have been discovered on other planets in the Milky Way Galaxy. And Lyra Daniels’ parents are the archaeological Experts (yes with a capital E) on the Warriors and have dragged her to the various planets to study them despite the time dilation causing havoc with her social life.

When one of the many Warrior planets goes silent, and looters attack her research base, Lyra becomes involved in discovering why the Warriors were placed on these planets. And, more importantly, by who.

Due for publication November 2018

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Dawn Study (Soulfinders #3) by Maria V. Snyder

dawn-study2Dawn Study is the conclusion of Maria V Snyder’s excellent series that started a number of years ago with Poison Study and brought to us the characters of Yelena and Valek.  I think it’s very fitting that this final series once again brought to the fore those two characters that we all came to love so much from the Study books.  If you haven’t read the previous books in the series you might want to look away about now as this review will undoubtedly contain spoilers.  You have been warned!

So, we pick up virtually where the last book left off.  Yelena is pregnant and the baby seems to be drawing her magic in some unknown way, making her a magic free zone and  also leaving her incredibly vulnerable to any number of people who have come to hold a grudge over the years not to mention an assortment of assassins.  Yelena Is from Sitia and has (or at least had) very powerful magical abilities.  Valek, on the other hand is from Ixia.  Ixia lives in fear of those with magic and think all magic users should be eradicated.  The Commander of Ixia has very strong views on the subject and his feared assassin Valek has worked for him many years helping to keep magic at bay and in the process forming strong bonds and even a friendship of sorts with the Commander.  Unfortunately, however, in a strange twist of fate, and just as Yelena found herself powerless, Valek seems to have come into his own magical ability.  An ability that was buried so deep within that the possibility of him ‘burning’ out by not knowing his own strength was very real.  Yelena and Valek now find themselves on the Commander’s most wanted list.  On top of that it seems that the two countries are poised on the brink of war.  In a strange twist the Commander himself seems to be being controlled by one of the very magicians he fears so much and a large portion of Sitians seem to be under the influence of a drug that renders them little more than puppets.  Valek and Yelena, and the unusual friends and family that they have gathered around themselves over the years, need to uncover the full extent of the plot before the war and bloodshed begins.

I enjoyed Dawn Study, I think it brings the series to a very satisfactory conclusion, that’s not to say that I didn’t have some issues but overall I think Ms Snyder has created a very entertaining series with an ending that brings many of our favourite characters together and ties up so many threads along the way.

In terms of the plot, well, there is plenty going on and I thought the story was very fast paced.  There are various levels of deception and betrayal and a number of scares as one after the other of the characters are caught and held and potentially tortured for information whilst rescue attempts are planed and executed.

The characters.  Well, if you’ve enjoyed this series you’ll be pleased to know that many of your favourite characters will be not only putting in an appearance but also will be critical to the plot.  I’m not going to name them all but it feels like just about everybody has a role to play in preventing war and bloodshed.

What I particularly enjoyed about this final instalment is that the author has let the characters grow.  Valek and Yelena are a perfect example of this in that with a baby on the horizon their relationship has moved on.  They have more responsibility and a lot more at stake now.  That’s not to say that they’ve become predictable or boring in any way just that their relationship has matured in a way that you would expect and although Valek has the urge to stifle Yelena and wrap her up in cotton wool and put her on the top shelf out of the way of harm he also recognises that he can’t do so. Similarly, a number of the characters feel like they’ve moved on in terms of knowing what they want and where they want to be.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, it’s a catch 22 sort of situation.  In trying to bring so many characters back onto the stage it does leave the book feeling a little bit cluttered.  On top of that it doesn’t feel as though you spend any real quality time with any of the characters but I don’t think this is a surprise with so many being thrown into the mix.  And, there is a definite feel of repetition in terms of captures and escapes which kind of left me feeling like the characters were never in any real danger.

But, in spite of a few reservations I think that this is a great ending to the series and, yes, a pleasingly happy and satisfying one that I’m not afraid to say was just what I hoped for.

I’ve followed this series now for about 9 or 10 years and whilst it’s a bit sad to be coming to the end I can see that there are a number of openings here which could leave Ms Snyder with possibilities to revisit in the future and I, for one, would always be happy to revisit this world.

I received a copy though Netgalley courtesy of the publisher for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

 

Weekly wrap up 22/1/17

lala
So, another Sunday where I look back over the past week with a weekly wrap up post.  I went to see LaLa Land last week – and I loved it – I would go and see it again without hesitation.  It has a lovely old style musical charm to it, is beautifully shot and for a modern day film there is no swearing sex or violence – it doesn’t always feel easy to find a film like that these days and it was a lovely refreshing change!

Reading wise I finished a couple of my books and started the third one.  I read the third instalment of Chimes at Midnight which I’m loving.  I have three reviews to catch up with at this point.

Last week’s reads:

Dawn Study by Maria V Snyder.  Fans of this series, I think, will love the way this concludes.  A definite 4* end to series I thought.  Review to follow shortly.

Department Zero – a crazy story with plenty of non-stop action.  The start scared the bejesus out out of me with the spiders!  Feels like Lovecraft meets the Men in Black.  Highly entertaining.  Review to follow shortly.

Deadlight Jack by Mark Onspaugh – I’ve just started this one.  The start was very curious indeed and really drew me in – I have that certain feeling – the one you have when you really feel like you’re going to enjoy a book!

Next week I’m hoping to complete:

  1. The Grey Bastards, which is my SPFBO book – this is receiving some very favourable reviews and I’m really looking forward to picking it up.
  2. The Black Wolves of Boston by Wen Spencer – urban fantasy and evil Wickers – how could I resist??  Sounds amazing.

I also need to complete Rosewater – which I made a good start on at about 30% and am looking forward to getting back to.

 

And, finally, my cover compare this week:

I can see the reasoning for the grey cover with the stylised dragon on it but it isn’t as colourfully dramatic as the first.  My choice this week:

naam1

Which is your favourite – and what are you currently reading?

Weekly wrap up 15/1/17

Waiting on Wednesday: Soulfinders

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  My book this week is No.2 in the Soulfinders series by Maria V Snyder:

Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana’s has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia are safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear.

Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he’s quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he’s been keeping secrets from Valek…secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander’s mysterious plans, they realize it’s far more sinister that they could have ever imagined.

Due for publication January 2016 – so not a long wait for more Yelena and Valek.

Shadow Study by Maria V Snyder

Posted On 13 February 2015

Filed under Book Reviews
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Recently finished reading Shadow Study by Maria Snyder.  Firstly, I have read all the other works in this world (I think I have anyway!) and so in that respect this is a very easy book for me to fall into as I already know the world, enjoy the stories and care about the characters.  That being said I think you could certainly read each series as individually with no problem whatsoever.  The starting point for the whole world – is Poison Study.

The story starts by getting back to basics with a meeting, albeit brief, between Yelena and Valek.  Unfortunately things go horribly wrong (even before the two meet for their romantic interlude).  Basically, and hopefully this isn’t a spoiler, Yelena is attacked and this has a drastic affect on her magical abilities. This is a frightening thing for Yelena, she has many enemies and is now completely vulnerable.

This isn’t the only thread of the story though – bigger things are taking place beneath the surface and Snyder leads us through the political quagmire as we try to determine what is actually going on here.

In terms of the characters we have all the old familiars.  Yelena and Valek – although only spending a very brief period together, both narrate passages and it was nice to get back to the two original characters (who have spent more time on the back seat recently).  I really enjoyed hearing more from Valek and it was particularly interesting to get some of his back story.  Yelena’s brother also plays a part as do Ari and Janco – a sort of lovable double act who usually rush into a situation like a pair of maniacs.

The plot does suck you in.  It’s intriguing and kind of tense (the cliffhanger chapter endings add to this!)  We flit between Yelena and Valek’s world and the way that they are both torn between their commitments and their love for each other.

I would class this as YA – even though Yelena is about 27 now, it has a YA feel but in a good way.  There is no strong language, no sex or violence.  Its not dark or foreboding – in fact, yes, it’s an easy to read enjoyable book – my equivalent to a holiday read which is quite appropriate as I was on holiday when I read this!  For me, it was a very easy book to fall into and revisit old friends and places.

The author is very good at making you feel not only for the characters but for the relationships they develop and she’s very good at building a network between them all that feels real.  It will be interesting to see how this all pans out – it’s already leading a certain way but I won’t say more on that account.

Outside the relationships there are other threads to explore, particularly around the Commander.  Like I said above, it was interesting to get Valek’s back story on this particular dynamic and how that shines a different light on the relationship.

I can’t deny that this is a light, fantasy read and whilst that might seem like poor praise I will reinforce that by saying I enjoy Ms Snyder’s books – I think they’re probably a great introduction to fantasy and they definitely keep you coming back for more.  They’re the very opposite to grimdark – which I also enjoy!  For me, they’re no-brainers and fun – so judge me!  Seriously, not sure how well or not this would go down with people new to the series but for me it just feels like a brief visit with old friends.  If you want a light introduction to fantasy then Ms Snyder could be exactly the right author for you!

I received a copy of this from the publishers via Netgalley for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

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