Thursday, July 22, 2010

Review: Poison Study, by Maria V Snyder


Poison Study (Study, Book 1)
by Maria V. Snyder
Paperback, 416 pages
Published by Luna
Released on March 1, 2007 (1st: 2004)
· isbn: 0778324338
· isbn13: 9780778324331

Choose: A quick death and hell or slow poison and hell.
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 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.
Read the first chapter of Poison Study here.

This book for me was very bittersweet. Bitter in the way that it took me a few chapters to actually get into the story. I don't think it was the author's fault, as there definitely was some action and the writing is really good - I blame my recent interest in paranormals that take place in modern-day times. The sweet part to this was, once I did get into the reading, I absolutely couldn't get enough of it!

I think the thing that I enjoyed the most was the author's no-holds-barred portrayal of Yelena's life, including the events that led up to her imprisonment and her present as a food taster. She is smart, a fast-learner, and definitely talented, yet she is still out-smarted and does tend to get beat up despite her training. So, no Mary-Sue here ... which I congratulate the author on. So many times, you read books where a girl may not be at her potential, but suddenly she's the smartest person in the room that is wanted by everyone and can beat anyone's tail up. This is NOT the case with Yelena. While she may be wanted by many of the characters, not all of it is for the good. Just the opposite.

There were many parts of this book that was great. I think the favored character for me would be Valek, who's loyalty is something that we don't see a lot of in books or in real life. Plus, he's talented in words and in action. While the food tasting part wasn't one of my favorites, it was descriptive and well researched. The fight training and fighting, as well as Yelena's mission as a fugitive was some of the best parts - and these parts also introduced me to some of my favorite characters. I think the part that stood out the most for me was the gory details that led up to Yelena's imprisonment. Nothing was censored and I applaud the author. I also applaud her on the twists in the plot that completely blind-sided me once I figured them out.


Although it was a little difficult to get into the story at first, the time of struggling was rewarded with a well-scripted story full of action, three-dimensional characters, and plot twists that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what happens next. Poison Study is an excellent beginning to a trilogy that holds a promising premise.

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