Poison Study by Maria V Snyder
Genre: Fantasy / YA
Paperback: 416 pages
Release date: December 1, 2008
Series: Study #1
Source: Personal Shelf
Reviewed by: Tynga
About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.
And so Yelena chooses to become a good taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.
As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…
Yelena never had it easy. She grew up in an orphanage and ended-up locked in the Commander’s dungeon after she killed the son of the man who took her in at age 6. Under the Commander’s rule, murder (premeditated or accidental) is punishable by death. On the day she was to meet with the noose, she was offered another option. She could taste the Commander’s food and risk death by poisoning any day, or meet her fate right away. Hoping for escape, she chose to become the food taster, but after escaping multiple murder attempts, she realizes poisoning might be the least of her worries.
I’ve had the Study series books on my bookshelves since 2009 and I can’t believe it took me so long the read them. I’ve read the entire series and the spin-off series (the Glass series) in about two weeks and they were all so good I couldn’t pause to write my reviews.
Right after reading the first page of Poison Study I was hooked and knew I was in for an epic ride. Set in a medieval setting with a government led by military, Poison Study is engrossing, heart-thumbing and dangerous. All the elements for an exceptional book, including a love interest (!), were present and I couldn’t find an aspect I didn’t like. While reading, I was reminded of the atmosphere present in Graceling by Kristin Cashore (another book I’m nuts for) and I was in Heaven!
The plot is intricate and surprising. All the event are flowing even though they don’t seem related at first. Maria kept just the good amount of intrigue knitted with an expert dose of answers, to keep you on your toes and have you craving for more.
The characters are also a big part of the appeal. Yelena is stunning. She grows from unsteady girl to a strong woman in front of our eyes and it’s a delight to witness. It wouldn’t have been possible without the help of a couple of friends though. Valek works as an assassin for the Commander and he is Yelena’s immediate superior. He’s a sneaky bastard made of awesome and I love him to pieces! Ari and Janco, two soldiers in the Commander’s army will also befriend with Yelena and they bicker all the time like an old married couple. They always put a spark of hope and humor in certain-death situation, making the tension bearable.
The conclusion was surprising and exciting, and as you can guess, I was extremely glad to have the second book awaiting for me, which I picked up right away! And I can tell you, after reading the trilogy, that even though all the books were great, Poison Study was my favorite. Mostly because the action is in Ixia vs Sitia.
Poison Study is a work of genius by Maria V Snyder. Everything from the plot, the pace, the characters, is perfectly set-up for this novel to be unforgettable. If you love fantasy books, this is one of the best you’ll be able to find!
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