Poison Study - Book Review
Maria. V. Snyder
Book #1 in the Study Series
UK Publisher: Mira Ink
A quick death? Or a slow Poison?
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 food 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 agonising 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…
I love and adore this series! Having first read it as a teenager, its a book I find myself coming back to time and time again. I only hope I can find the words to give it the worthy review it deserves.
In this first book we meet Yelena, an orphan, murderer and prisoner who is soon to be executed after almost a year long stay in the Commander of Ixia’s dungeons. But fate is on her side. When she is offered a chance to live in exchange for her lifelong service as the Commanders new food taster (a job with great benefits but a very low mortality rate) she jumps at the opportunity.
… But perhaps death would have been the easier option. Now with potential poison lurking in every meal, and a general determined to see her hanged for her crimes, Yelena must also contend with out of control magical powers that she must keep hidden from the Commanders spy master, Valek, at all costs. But when enemies from her past catch up with her, Yelena find herself a pawn in a much larger game where the future of the whole country rests in her hands. But can she escape death long enough to play her part...?
This a a really gripping read. The characters are amazing with intriguing personalities that range from jovial and warming to cryptic and secretive. Everyone has a hidden agenda and its often hard to know who to trust. Enemies become friends, while friends can turn into enemies, and through the whole book Yelena is constantly met with surprises of both the good and bad varieties.
Yelena is also a great heroine. She’s admits her fears and always tries her best to face them. She has a quick mind and steely determination, but often gets into trouble for her act first, think later attitude. Yet you can’t help but admire the resourcefulness and creativity she puts into overcoming each new obstacle that is thrown at her.
Valek makes for an unusual and unique love interest as his loyalty to the Commander often forces him to act in ways that go against Yelena’s ideals. However they overcome each threat together and I like that despite their uncertain beginnings, Valek and Yelena form a trusting bond in each other.
Ari and Janco however are also rated among my favourite characters. Their hard won loyalty and witty humour add something special to the story while other characters - such as the generals and magicians - aid in thickening the plot and add to Yelena’s already stressful life.
I also love Maria V Snyders use of foreshadowing too. She gives enough hints for the reader to make assumptions about the direction in which the story is heading, but only reveals that actual truth bit by bit through various backstories spread evenly throughout the whole book. All of which add to the stakes in Yelena’s ever increasing dilemmas.
This truly is a fantastic read and ends on a perfect note that makes it easy to slip immediately into the next book - although do look out for the short novella that follows this story, Assassin Study. Overall though Yelena’s story is just too good to put down! Rivetingly deadly, this delicious story is an easy five star read!