Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Poison Study
(Study Series Book #1)
by Maria V. Snyder

Genre: Fantasy / Young Adult

Shivers, obsession, sleepless nights—these are the results not of one of the milder poisons that novice food-taster Yelena must learn during her harrowing job training but of newcomer Snyder's riveting fantasy that unites the intelligent political focus of George R.R. Martin with a subtle yet potent romance. Through a stroke of luck, Yelena escapes execution in exchange for tasting the food of the Commander, ruler of Ixia. Though confined to a dank prison cell and doomed to a painful death, Yelena slowly blooms again, caught up in castle politics. But some people are too impatient to wait for poison to finish off Yelena. With the help of Valek, her steely-nerved, cool-eyed boss and the Commander's head of security, she soon discovers that she has a starring role to play in Ixia's future—a role that could lead to her being put to death as a budding magician even if she hits each cue perfectly.

At the beginning of the book, Yelena is on the cutting block - literally - she's next in line for the noose for committing the sin of murder. Yet, at the last moment, she is offered the position of the Commander's food taster and she jumps at it. What she doesn't learn is that this position is NOT held for long due to the many poisons often placed within the Commander's meal, thus, the cursed position is always forced upon a soon-to-be executed prisoner. While secretly plotting to escape her new occupation, she is trained by Valek (the Commander's master strategist) to smell, see, and experience the side effects of what poisons she is consuming - not enjoyable lessons for a girl with strong & stubborn survival instincts.

I found this book intriguing and somewhat refreshing to read. The time-setting, character backgrounds, and story plot was fascinating as well. Plus - the reader, throughout Poison Study, becomes aware that Yelena is hiding a secret that she herself can do magic, an even bigger sin during her time. There's also so many twists and hidden surprises throughout Poison Study, that I found it hard to stop reading at the end of a chapter - something I always love in a book. It's indeed different from most stories out there, but I'm excited to check out the next book - Magic Study - in the series.

Likes: How ruthless Valek can be . . . yummy!

Dislikes: How frustrated you get at Yelena's previous benefactor and those under his command.


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