Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Poison Study (Study, #1)Book Review:  Poison Study

Author:  Maria V. Snyder
Published:  2007
Series:  Study #1

I read this book because I saw other bloggers recommending it.  I also loved the premises behind the story (I LOVE books with the feel of 1400 or 1500 Europe or far away lands).

The Setting 
Yelena’s world is a bit grim.  She’s due to hang that day when the guards drag her to Valek’s office, an adviser for the Commander of Ixia.  Apparently a position has opened up and she suddenly has a decision to make: become the Commander’s food taster or hang.  Bewildered, Yelena accepts the position but has no idea how this decision will completely change her life. 
Yelena is unable to flee both her past and Valek, and to make matters worse guards are vying for her life almost daily.  Wanting to defend herself Yelena haggles help from the most unexpected sources to start training.  It turns out Yelena is far more talented in self defense than most.  When the government in Ixia is mysteriously disturbed, Yelena realizes where her loyalties lie, to a Commander she fears and a man who she is inexplicably drawn and forced to.  Can Yelena flee Ixia unscathed?  And what is she really capable of? 

What I LIKED about this book
Ah!!! I loved the setting, the mysterious powers and the courageous Valek.  I loved that Yelena is weak in the beginning but through training and self-discovery becomes the heroine you can root for and revel in her strength.  Yelena tastes the Commander’s food for poison, so you are always on your toes for this book.  The turns are unexpected and Yelena’s allies aren’t easily predictable.

What I DISLIKED about this book 
Yelena and Valek suddenly let their feelings for each other known with only 15 pages left in the book.  This romance, though predicted, was rushed.  One page Yelena feels respect and admiration for Valek and his job and the next they are all over each other.  I would have liked a little more ease into the relationship. 

Parting Thoughts
Overall I’m going to give Poison Study 4.5 out of 5 stars.  I should mention that there are some adult themes in this book including torture, rape and some interactions between Valek and Yelena, so this book may not be suitable for young readers.  I will have to read Magic Study to find out what happens between Valek and Yelena and if Yelena can really find “home”.  I would recommend this book to fans of fantasy and romance, especially if you liked Grave Mercy (although technically Poison Study came out way before Grave Mercy so maybe I should say if you liked Poison Study then read Grave Mercy).

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