Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Quick Death or Slow Poison?

Title: Poison Study
Author: Maria V. Snyder

The Dish: "A quick death or slow poison"...these are the options given to Yelena, a prisoner of the militaristic country of Ixia.  Imprisoned for murder, Yelena is the next in line to be hanged.  However, all that changes when she is approached by Valek, the chief of security to Ixia's Commander Ambrose.  His offer is to allow her to live but only as the new food taster to be trained in detecting the deadliest of poisons in the food prepared for the Commander.  Seeing no real choice, Yelena takes Valek up on his offer and begins her training by being given a dose of "Butterfly's Dust", a poison that requires her to receive daily antidotes from Valek which keeps her from escaping.  But soon, Yelena learns that there is a plot within the land of Ixia, and only she and Valek can uncover the details before it is too late for Ixia. 

The Study Trilogy has been out for awhile, but I wanted to renew my experience with Maria Snyder's first trilogy, especially the book that introduced the lands of Ixia and Sitia.  Snyder's style of writing is clearly exquisite as she weaves words into a world the reader can easily visualize.  Although the novel is told entirely from Yelena's point of view, the reader learns more details about other main characters through Yelena's eyes and thoughts even though sometimes her judgments about characters are made too early.  Snyder breathes life into all of her characters, making them so much more realistic in the eyes of the reader.  I became attached to several characters including the headstrong Yelena, the dark and mysterious Valek, the jocularity of Janco, and logical and well-grounded Ari.  Clearly, Poison Study is one of those books that readers will either love or dislike, depending on how one views first person point-of-view and a strong-willed main character. 

What I really loved about Poison Study was a plot full of secrecy, deception, mystery, and Snyder knows how to keep the pages turning.  I was very amazed with the way Yelena described both the settings and her fellow characters. Along with Yelena, the readers learn not to judge people by their appearances or at least by first impressions.  On a personal note, I had such a yen for a cinnamon roll while reading Poison Study, how sweet it is.


  1. Plus the cover is soooo pretty!

  2. It is a pretty cover! I like it better than the YA covers.

  3. I have been going back and forth, debating on whether I wanted to read this or not. Your review has helped tip the scales I think! I'm going to try and get it at the library today. :) Thanks!

  4. @ Siobian: Excellent! :D I'm glad I helped in your decision, and I really hope you enjoy reading Poison Studay.


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