Title: Poison Study
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Release Date: June 1st 2004
Synopsis (from GoodReads)
Choose: A quick death…Or 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 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…
Poison Study captured my attention from the very beginning and kept a good pace through out the entire story. The story starts off from the get go. Yelena is dragged from the dungeon where she has been held for many months, and taken for her 'execution'. She is offered the job as the food taster as an alternative and after weighing out her options she chooses to take it. Through out the next chapter or two she learns about the different poisons and even tries a few of them out. The story moves fairly fast, getting through her training, introducing new characters and subplots, giving quick glimpses at a time of Yelena's life before her conviction, introducing magic, more new characters, more training, the big plot, a few twists. It all flowed together very well and was very easy and enjoyable to follow. One thing I must say though is that there were few things that were dragged out a bit (just a tiny bit). It became pretty obvious what was going on towards the end with the main story, but with that being said it didn't bother me too much as the author still managed to hold my interest with a few surprises here and there.
My favourite thing about this story was probably the characters. It’s not often that I get to the end of a book and really really appreciate the characters. Yelena, the female protagonist in this story impressed me with her strength and the fact that unlike many female mains, she actually used her brain and thought everything through. Considering her painful past, I was pleasantly surprised to find that she wasn't a whiny character at all. To be honest, when I started reading this book I was expecting Yelena to make excuses for her actions which had grounds for her conviction, but she didn’t. There were a lot of instances similar to that, where Yelena could have said something in defense for herself or to make another look bad but that didn't happen. It really showed her determination, as she wasn’t intent on small things such as what people thought of her but rather on the bigger and more important things. The sexy male in this story was Valek, a character who was seemingly selfish and cold at times but develops more depth as the story goes on. Quite a serious and broody character... who I love. Despite seeming rather detatched at first, he was actually
Though this wasn't necessarily what the story was about, it was interesting to watch the love story between the two protagonists developing and I found that it worked really well. Their relationship developed gradually through out the story and was quite enjoyable to follow. I felt so excited following it simply because Valek (the fictional character) is so amazing, and Yelena got his attention in such a way...
I would definitely recommend Poison Study to anyone who likes Fantasy or is interested giving the genre a go! This book is a Young Adult book but could also just fit into the Adult category for those of you who aren't that into YA (in fact, it's under Adult Fiction at my library). There isn’t a whole lot of cliffhangers in my opinion, but the story flows so well you won’t want to put it down! I don't think I got bored once while reading this book. This story introduced me to a whole lot of things that prior to this book, I wasn't too interested in. I gave it a chance with this book though and I am so pleased I did!