Valek and Yelena have been one of my all time favourite ships ever since I read Poison Study back in high school. In Dawn Study, Maria V. Snyder brings their story to a beautiful and epic conclusion which, while very similar to Fire Study, still introduces new dilemmas for our unconventional heroes to overcome.
This review may contain mild spoilers for this book and other Chronicles of Ixia novels (What I consider spoilers might not be what you consider spoilers but I thought that I’d put it out there just in case). READERS YE BE WARNED!
Poison Study was possibly the first fantasy novel I ever read and was definitely the book that resparked my love of reading after a rather long dry spell. Just for that reason this series will always have a special place in my heart and I am so happy that my favourite characters have finally gotten their happily-ish ever after (I was happy with the ending of Fire Study but Ms Snyder decided to put the little beans through another round of political/emotional/familial insanity).
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.
Dawn Study is what everyone would expect of a final book in this series (any series really). It wraps up all of the loose ends created throughout this trilogy and is a culmination of all events without rushing and still stays true to the character’s personalities. I found that the storyline for this book was fairly similar to Fire Study just with different problems being solved; i.e. someone really hates Yelena because she stands in the way of them taking over the country and her and her friends do everything they can to stop it from happening. This time around however, Yelena has a bit more at stake and the problems not only include Sitia but also Ixia and the Commander.
As seen in previous books Yelena is such a trouble magnet to the point where I honestly think it would’ve been a better idea to simply put her somewhere out of reach and leave the problem-solving to Valek and his compadres. However, Yelena would do anything to protect her family and would probably cause even more trouble if Valek were to do just that. After following Valek and Yelena’s story all these years, I was so excited that they were actually starting a family (even if it was rather unexpected) and getting to see the importance all of the characters place on family and friendship was fabulous to see, especially in a genre that sometimes only focuses on the romantic relationships between characters.
Character Appreciation/Disdain (Sometimes a rant but what can you do?)
Yelena: This girl really needs to just simmer down and take a break. I understand that she has this need to save everyone (which we have seen in the previous books) but she’s pregnant now! She needs to let her master assassin husband and her equally capable soldier friends deal with the problems instead of attempting to deal with them herself.
Valek: Honestly, after dealing with his new siblings, his newly awakened magic, his pregnant heart mate, and his Commander potentially being brainwashed, Valek really should have earned some serious vacation days. I applaud his ability to deal with all that stuff at once because lord knows I wouldn’t be in anywhere near as the same composed state as him.
Bruns: Everyone say hello to the Sitian quasi-Hitler! He’s really just a horrendous guy.
Like Shadow Study and Night Study, Dawn Study flips between Yelena, Valek, and Janco’s points of view. While I have read books like this previously, and it was interesting to see other characters perspectives, I must say that I found the jumping between POVs to be a bit irritating at times. The storylines were just too similar at times that I think the change in character perspective was unnecessary. The events that prompted the change in POV could have simply been recounted by that particular character while still having the story told by Yelena.
Despite the fact that I didn’t like Dawn Study as much as the original three Chronicles of Ixia novels, I still read it in less than a day so I have to say that it was still super awesome. It was amazing to see my favourite characters save the day (would you expect anything else) and start a family (or should I say expand their crazy and rather unorthodox family by one). If you are a fan of Sarah J. Maas’ ACOTAR and Throne of Glass series’ or The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce then I highly recommend this entire series, starting from Poison Study, including the Glass trilogy, then finally ending with Dawn Study.