Dawn Study – Maria V. Snyder – Soulfinders series #3, Ixia Chronicles #9 – Mira/Harlequin Teen – Published 23 January 2017



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.

My thoughts

Dawn Study is the long-awaited conclusion to the Soulfinders series and the Ixia Chronicles. How I have loved every single minute spent with Valek, Yelena, and the gang. They have grabbed my heart, taken me on wild adventures, driven me slightly crazy with tension, and changed forever the way I look at books. Dawn Study is everything I was expecting and waiting for. Incredible doesn’t do it justice. Prepare yourself, because this is going to be a long review – when I am this in love I get longwinded.

Yelena and Valek have long been working towards establishing peace between Ixia and Sitia. Now they must face their final battle. The magicians of Sitia are under the control of a rogue group and the Commander is threatening to invade. Yelena, Valek and their friends have until the hot season before they lose their chance of peace once and for all. They will need to sacrifice everything in the hopes of one day being able to raise their family in safety.

Dawn Study kind of felt like both a second-last and last book in the series rolled into one. There is so much contained within its pages. Along with Yelena’s first-person-narrated chapters, readers are treated to chapters from Janco, Valek, Leif and also Heli’s perspectives, told in third person. This keeps the reader well informed about all the different angles of the story and made me pay attention as it sometimes takes a while to circle back around through all the characters. It also made it a little hard to pick the story back after putting it down (because, you know, my boss doesn’t like it when I read all day, although “it’s Dawn Study” might have proven a worthy excuse). But these multiple perspectives are necessary to continue the story and I absolutely love the extra insight we get into all the characters. 
When I’m talking with people about books, be they students, friends or complete strangers, I am likely to ask “have you read Poison Study? No? Well, you have to. Don’t ask why, just read it. You can thank me later.” It is a series unlike any other. And Dawn Study is the perfect conclusion. In a way I’m kind of glad this is the end of the series. Because Yelena, Valek and all the gang seriously deserve some peace. It’s funny, but Valek is getting old. He’s still the best spy and fighter around but his weariness seeps through his every breath and action – he is ready to settle down, raise his family, and grow old with Yelena. And I absolutely love that! It kind of hit me that all the characters are so much older now. All grown up you might say. Even Fisk is seventeen now. Their lives have been dominated by fighting for peace and in Dawn Study they make their final stand. And we finally get some answers to some big questions, like what is causing Yelena’s magic blockage and HOW ON EARTH IS IT GOING TO END??????

I have always loved Valek and Yelena as a couple (Valena? Yelek?) and Dawn Study just shows us why all over again. They are honest with each other, and use humour and teasing, and love to cope with the stress they are under. They are not perfect, but you never, ever doubt they will work things out. I love that Valek and Yelena get to spend so much of this book together. Aside from a few dangerous situations and journeys, Valek and Yelena are together for the majority of the book, which is so nice after previous books where they are so often apart. It is something Valek himself comments on. It also means there are plenty of opportunities for alone couple time. These are always fade-to-black scenes but there is no doubt what is going on… just another reminded that despite the YA love for and adoption of this series, the Ixia series has always been a general fiction title and not YA. But of course its readership and fans spends generations.

I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say readers will be happy with the ending. I laughed, cried happy and sad tears, and simply didn’t want it to be over while enjoying every minute of the conclusion. I think Maria Snyder would have had to worry about sneaky assassins in the night if she didn’t give us an ending to cherish. As Valek says, it is time for the next generation to step up and start leading. If we as readers get to be privilege to that next generation’s adventures I will be very happy and eagerly come along for the ride. But if this is the last we see of Sitia, Ixia, and their wonderful inhabitants than I am content to have enjoyed the journey. All I can say is: Maria Snyder, thank you. Thank you for the wonderful characters, the adventure, the love, the excitement, the tears, and the heart-stopping moments. Thank you.

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

More information

Category: General fiction.

Genre: Fantasy.

Themes: Magic, Fantasy, Romance, Pregnancy, Magic powers.

Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.

Advisory: Frequent implied sex scenes and sexual references. Occasional coarse language, s***. Violence, murder and descriptions of death and injury. References to rape and torture.

Published: 23 January 2017 by Mira/Harlequin TEEN.

Format: Paperback, ebook. 384 pages.

ISBN: 9781848456891

Find it on Goodreads