Saturday, June 27, 2015

Review: Poison Study (Study #1) by Maria V. Snyder

A quick death
Or slow poison...
Yelena has a choice – be executed for murder, or become food taster to the Commander of Ixia. She leaps at the chance for survival, but her relief may be short-lived.
Life in the palace is full of hazards and secrets. Wily and smart, Yelena must learn to identify poisons before they kill her, recognise whom she can trust and how to spy on those she can’t. And who is the mysterious Southern sorceress who can reach into her head?
When Yelena realises she has extraordinary powers of her own, she faces a whole new problem, for using magic in Ixia is punishable by death...

I found the premise intriguing, and the story lived up to it.

In Poison Study, Yelena agrees to be trained as the Commander's food taster in exchange for her life. However, things are afoot, and even if she can survive the training, there's no guarantee she'll make it through everything else.

There were moments while I was reading when I thought that this felt like a Tamora Pierce book. I mean that as a compliment. The heroine is strong, smart and becomes a pretty good fighter. There's also some magical elements here and some pretty interesting plot twists. Of course, there were some predictable moments, but that's okay because the more unpredictable twists are shockers so you don't feel like this is something you've read a thousand times before.

The thing I liked the most about this book, aside from the poison lessons Yelena received from Valek, was watching their love story unfold. It was a slow and natural progression, although it did escalate pretty quickly at the end. Again, this was fine because by that point I just wanted them to get together already.

I thought Yelena and Valek were a perfect match. They challenge each other, but in a healthy way. There may be some who won't like the age gap between Yelena and Valek, which is about ten years, but I actually liked it since I enjoy romances wherein the guy is older (not too old, though) than the female.

I'm definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series.


  1. There are interesting plot twists.
  2. It has strong female characters.
  3. The romance between Yelena and Valek is angsty but beautiful.


  1. There are some predictable twists. 

“I want you to have this.” He extended his hand. On his palm sat the beautiful butterfly he had carved. Silver spots on the wings glinted in the sunlight, and a silver chain hung from a small hole drilled into its body.
Valek looped the necklace around my neck. “When I carved this statue, I was thinking about you. Delicate in appearance, but with a strength unnoticed at first glance.” His eyes met mine.”  

  1. You like Tamora Pierce's books.
  2. You enjoy books with romances wherein the guy is older than the girl.
  3. You like strong female characters.



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