Friday, 16 October 2009

Review: Poison Study - Maria V Snyder

Poison Study by Maria V.Snyder

Genre: YA fantasy
Published: 2005
Pages: 440

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered a 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 dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and she develops magical powers she can't control. Her life’s at stake again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear.

Oh I loved this book. It is already on my keeper shelf. Why did I not read this one before, and why did I not buy the rest at once when I started reading this one. As it is now, 2 weeks for more. How will I make it?

First up, it's YA, well I have read adult fantasy with less violence, and with a younger hero/heroine. So in the end, sure ok YA, but this one can be read by all. Especially when considering her torture flashbacks, and the rape.

Yelena has been in a filthy dungeon for a year, then she is brought up for her execution. As a murdered she is given a chance. Death or become the Commanders food-taster. With a slime chance of survival she chooses the latter, and the Commanders right hand man Valek introduces her to the world of poison. But first he poisons her so she has to stay at the castle. That chance for escape is fading away, and the family of the man she liked wants revenge.

I really liked Yelena, she had a strength that even years of torture and darkness in a prison cell could not take away from her. She had doubts, and was human. She also discovers a secret about herself, magic, and that is outlawed and will get her killed for sure. Then there is the other person in this book, Valek, mysterious, dark and he had me at once. Even when he poisoned her. Because he sees through her, even when everyone else calls her murderer and would rather spit at her.

This is true fantasy with intrigues and magic. There is a hint of romance, and I do prefer the real fantasy so that works fine with me. I can live on that little hope of love and feel for them, because I love to read about magic, war and political intrigues, that is what fantasy is all about. And of course I wonder if we will be given a HEA in the third book. I sure hope so, after the dust has settled, she has found her power, and life, then I do want her to have love too.

Snyder has created an interesting world, I always like a world I would want to live in or not. as it is now, I would not like Ixia. It's so strict, everyone wears the color of the profession they have and it's hard to travel between cities. Everyone has to be accounted for and no one can just take off. In the south there is Sithia, where magic flows, and they seem exotic, but would I want to live there, I don't know yet. But I appreciate her work and the political system she has built.

There is also darkness, the glimpses of the horrible things she has suffered through and the doubts she has and ghosts she has from her past. There is also the uncertainty of her future, but she is strong and determined to built a future for herself.

A lovely world, intrigues, magic, power and some great characters makes this book a keeper for me. The style is easy and flows. I kept turning the page to see what happens next, and it's a sure recommendation for fantasy fans. But if you do want that romance, well perhaps in later books. If you want pure fantasy this is teh book for you, and I did find myself enthralled by her storytelling.

So now I am waiting to get my hands on book 2 to find out more about Yelena, and Valek of course. On a sidenote, I love this cover, it was attracted me to the book in the first place. Too bad I then got the green cover with her face on it- But hey don't judge a book by it's cover (even if this one delivered when it was great.)


  1. This does sound very interesting Blodeuedd. YA is not my most read in genre and I will give The Hunger Games my attention first before daring any further :)

  2. Hi, nice review! I've read hers Storm Glass and loved it but many characters from Study series have a major role in this book so I was a little bit confused. I planned to read this series, and after your review I'll definitely give it a try :)

  3. Leontine,
    IT sure was, she pulled me in at once. But you go on and read teh Hunger Games, one cannot dislike that book I hope. It was strong.

    I do wanna read those too, after this series of course, but I will not go spoil myself if major characters can be found there :)

  4. HAHA! I had the *EXACT* same reaction when I read Poison Study--why hadn't I read it before, and how can I get ahold of the other ones!

    I found the second book a bit of a bridge, but the third one was brilliant.

  5. This sounds very good and it doesn't sound like YA. I don't usually read YA but there sure are a bunch of them out right now that look like great reads!

  6. I LOVED this book. I think it's my favorite of the trilogy.

  7. B,

    Great review. :) I have this one on the tbr shelf. Glad to know you enjoyed it. :)


  8. I love your blog so much I can hardly stand it. I'll visit often now I've found it. Brilliant review by the way.
    All the very best,

  9. I love your blog so much I can hardly stand it. I'll visit often now I've found it. Brilliant review by the way.
    All the very best,

  10. This sounds awesome! Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I've written the title down and I'm going to nominate it for the book club when it's my month to choose. I think this would appeal to the men in the group, too.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  11. This has been on my list for a while. I didn't realize it was YA, but from your review, it doesn't sound like a typical YA novel,anyway.

  12. Oh, I loved Snyders Study trilogy! You are in for an awesome ride! I have her Storm Glass sitting on my shelf that will be read soon :) Loved your review, and I'm glad you loved it as much as I did :)

  13. Sounds like an intriguing book and honestly I don't really think it should be YA. To tel you the truth I have noticed a trend among authors and publishers to label books YA only because it sells so good nowadays.

  14. I've never seen this book before, but i dont read a whole lot of ya. But wow, it def. sounds like a must read.

  15. Great review, I enjoyed this series. My favourite was the second book, didn't know it was YA though. I'm sure there was a bit of sex in the second one so that surprises me.

  16. I've had this book on my shelf for such a long time, but haven't picked it up. Will have to do so ASAP, clearly! She has a new series about glass or something out, doesn't she?

    Also, that book you have on your sidebar, Soulless, has been on my wishlist for a while. It sounds awesome! I hope you read and review it soon :-)

  17. Oh Blod, I am so glad you liked it! Now i can read it thinking it wasn't just hype!


  18. Beth,
    I am sure I will like the next two then, especially if the third is brilliant. How cross I am at myself for not buying it a year ago, the thing is now I feel the same thing for the Kristen Cashore books, somethings tells me to buy perhaps I should listen this time.

    I didn't think it sounded or felt YA either. But if it sells. And there is sure great YA out there right now. And for a fantasy addict like me this one was a sure pleasure.

    I sure hope I will like the next two too, I can't wait to get them. How I wish the bookstore had them and didn't have to order, or that I was so cheap that I did not just order online, but it would have ended up costing more.

  19. Michelle,
    I hope you will enjoy it too. It was great and I sure loved it, but then I do love fantasy.

    Hi Simone :)
    I am glad you stopped by and enjoyed my little blog. Always happy so meet new people, I must come over in a sec.

    Yay do nominate, I am sure many would enjoy it, and yes the men too. Oh how I love loving a book :)

    I know, the whole YA thing sometimes confuses me, sometimes yes I get it but with others books not so much. This one could just have been another fantasy book.

    I truly adored the books, I love when book makes me feel like this. And hm, perhaps I will wish for her other series for xmas..a hint here and there ;)

  20. Lilly,
    You have a point there, cos yes it sells, and some books, well I don't get it. But it can sell more, but of course I will on the other hand walk past them then. So they could miss out on that.

    I loved it, fantasy will always be my one true love, and she is a great storyteller, and I love a complicated world :)

    It even says on mine, YA on the spine. But I had heard about the sex so with that in kind I was confused even before starting on it. But in the end it doesn't matter for me, but it might have been the thing that did not make me buy it a year ago.

    Yes stormglass or something, would sure love to read those too :)
    Oh I reviewed Soulless in August, you should find it there, or I can give you the link :)

    Do read :D Forget the hype, I loved it, so I hope you can enjoy it too.

  21. I've thought about picking up this one, now I'm going to grab this one when I get the chance. Great review! First book in a series that make you wish you already had the others, are the best.

  22. Wonderful review. I haven't read any of Snyder's books but she is getting such great reviews that I'm going to have to start!

  23. I picked this up a while back and started it but for some reason it didn't grab me. I personally think it was the wrong time and now I want to give it another shot. Great review!!

  24. Donna,
    I know, I sure love those too, and I did love this one. I think you either like it or you don't.

    I sure liked her, she was nice. I can't wait to find out more!

    Oh no, well you are not alone. it could just be that they are not for you. But yes it would be cool if you gave them another shot

  25. These books have been on my list for a long time but I keep forgetting about them! I'm glad they are good. Your review was excellent :)

  26. This review summed up my feelings about this wonderful first entry within a highly addictive fantasy series. Though I should not be shamelessly promoting my own personal book review blog. I suggest you check as my own review of "Poison Study," and "Magic Study." Neither contain spoilers of any sort.

    Also welcome to the fray of Study fans. I've only discovered this series two months ago and have been desperately trying to seek out time to finish the five published novels about her intricately created world. Be sure to join the Study series Goodread's group and hope to see other reviews of the next two books within the trilogy.

  27. Jenny,
    I really liked it, and I hope that if you get them one day you will too :D

    Haha, very shameless indeed, now I have to run on over to see it :)
    It was so good, and I fell for it at once, I am waiting for the next 2. And I do hate waiting but it will be worth it

  28. I loved this book! I have read them all multiple times. Her new sci-fi novel Inside-Out was pretty good, and younger people can read it, but Poison Study is still my favorite.

  29. LM
    I jut love Poison Study, so great, Valek is great, lol, everything is just as it should be :D


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