TITLE: Poison Study
BY: Maria V. Snyder
SERIES: Study #1,
GENRE:Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
PUBLICATION: March 1st 2007 by Mira
Yelena is about to be executed for murder when she’s offered to be the food taster of the Commander of Ixia. Not only she’ll escape execution, she’ll have a room in the palace. But being a food taster doesn’t take out the stakes in her life. The chief of security, Valek, deliberately feeds her a posion called Butterfly’s Dust that only by appearing daily – meaning not escaping – will she be given an antidote. As she lives as the food taster, Yelena is thrown in the world of politics and discovers about magic that threatens her life more than being a food taster.
A most unique and compelling concept...
Having a heroine as a food taster and a hero who’s continually poisoning his supposedly love interest is just too intriguing. I was glued to the pages till the end. Also, Poison Study has lots of elements that it seems the whole book didn’t follow the generic plotting. I can’t even name a proper villain because there’s so many antagonistic forces that threatens the main characters and the things they value. Maybe for a villain, the one who’s been trying to get Yelena killed is one. Or maybe the magician whose source of magic is through a terrible act is more the main villain. But as for antagonistic forces, there are the rules of Ixia that limits the characters; there’s the threat of the commander being overthrown or assassinated which is very important to Valek; there’s also threat from other territories. Too many conflicts but together they make the whole book a very compelling read.
The mystery of Yelena’s imprisonment hooked me right from the start. Her HORRIBLE past really makes for a great back story. It’s interesting to know what led Yelena to her present. Valek has his own interesting backstory too but it involves the history of Ixia…
A Unique Fictional World…
The Territoy of Ixia is lead by a Commander and it’s not everyday I get to read a fictional world that is used to be a monarchy but now has a military government. And there’s a strong back story for that. The revolution that ended the monarchy years ago is very interesting. And present Ixia has all the interesting rules that if not followed, the punishment is death. That’s how strict the military government but somehow, I find it very reasonable.
A fair set of characters…
I like all the characters but I can’t say they’re all unforgettable. Of course, I like Yelena. Aside from her interesting back story, it’s easy to empathize with her. She’s obviously a good person and just murdered someone for a valid reason. Whenever she muses about her life and I, as a reader, realizes how pitiful and hopeless she is, I feel for her.
“Poisoned, pursued and living with a psychopath. Not what I would consider the good life. Death has its perks.― Maria V. Snyder, Poison Study
But I also admire her. The ending of chapter one goes like this…
VALEK: “What shall I tell the executioner?”
YELENA: “I am not a fool.”
Yelena’s answer is a reference to what she said earlier about only a fool will refuse the offer of being the food taster and escape the execution. Right then, I admire Yelena’s guts. She’s so strong and really smart and she shows it over and over again throughout the book.
Valek is also a favorite. A big part of Ixia involves him and it’s because he’s a freakin’ assassin. The few fighting scenes in the book shows what a badass he is. Aside from his fighting skill, he’s insanely good with poisons. Yelena is right to fear him. Valek even tried to kill Yelena more than once and I’m not talking about just the poison, he really, truly contemplated to kill her. And yet, despite it, I see him as fair to Yelena.
“Everyone makes choices in life. Some bad, some good. It’s called living, and if you want to bow out, then go right ahead. But don’t do it halfway. Don’t linger in whiner’s limbo.”― Maria V. Snyder, Poison Study
He’s also incredibly loyal. His principles in life are rooted from his duty as the Commander’s Chief of Security. That said, I liked his back story with the Commander.
As for the side character…I like the Commander. As a leader, he’s pretty admirable. But my favorite would be Ari and Janko. I love them individually but more as a duo. I love how loyal they are to Yelena despite her being a murderer. There are few other characters but I didn’t really connect to them that much. I know I’ll get to know them more in the next books, especially the ones who are associated with magic, but for now, they don’t really stand out.
A new favorite OTP…
He’s been poisoning and even contemplated to kill her then ended up falling in love with her. She feared him as her life is in his hands. For her, he is ruthless and merciless and she’s right. Is it weird that despite these, Valek and Yelena are now my favorite couple. I love how their story started and how their romance developed. It is a bit in slow-burn side which is my favorite. Though I do think the reveal of their feelings for each other isn’t convincing enough. It’s already obvious they’re attracted to each other but the reveal is so out of the blue. But it’s just a small issue of mine. I enjoyed every scene they’re together. Their conversations are the best because they’re both smart. Also, they can be both sassy, sarcastic or snarky. I love their dynamics.
RATING: 4 blissful pages with lilies
My review says only what I liked in Poison Study but that is because I didn’t want to focus on its flaws. They’re very little flaws anyway and what matters to me is it is a very interesting and enjoyable read. I highly recommend it.
Have you read this book? Or planning to? What do you think about it? Let’s chat.
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