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I Belong

Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Poison StudyTitle: Poison Study

AuthorMaria V. Snyder

GenreYA Fantasy

SeriesStudy (Book 1)

Publication Date: March 1, 2007

FormatPaperback, 412 Pages

ISBN-10: 0778324338 (Harlequin MIRA)

ISBN-13: 978-0778324331 (Harlequin MIRA)

Reviewed by: Bridget


Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison…

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

Quick & Dirty: High fantasy full of intrigue, romance and adventure.  A must read for all fans of YA fantasy.

Opening Sentence: Locked in the darkness that surrounded me like a coffin, I had nothing to distract me from my memories.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review

Yelena has spent the last year in prison awaiting her execution for murder. When the dreaded day finally arrives she is offered a second chance at life by becoming the Commanders new food taster. She will live in the castle, eat the best food, and a little bit of freedom, but she risks the chance of being killed by anyone trying to poison the Commander. Yelena knows it’s not the perfect situation but it’s better than being dead, so she accepts the offer.

For insurance that Yelena won’t attempt to escape; she is given a deadly poison everyday that will kill her if she doesn’t get the daily dose of antidote. Also, the family of the man she murdered is out for blood and they will never stop until she pays for her crimes. But being the food taster has brought many unexpected people into her life, some friends, some enemies, and some that could sneak into her guarded heart. There is a new rebel group threatening to destroy Ixia, and Yelena just might be the only person that can save the kingdom she has come to love.

Yelena is a fantastic heroine. She was raised in an orphanage by what she thought was a loving master, but it turns out he was cruel and evil. The past few years in her life have been full of hardships and nightmares no one should have to endure. Becoming the food taster was a miracle and it helped Yelena to discover so much about herself. At the beginning of the book she is weak physically, but very intelligent. Instead of sitting around doing nothing she does everything she can to learn how to protect herself and tries to find any means of escape. I connected with Yelena instantly, she is one of those characters that you just can’t help but love and admire. She has lots of strengths, but also flaws that made her feel more human. I can’t wait to see what is in store for her in the sequel.

Poison Study was a wonderful high fantasy that was impossible to put down. From the first page, I was captivated by the magical setting and amazing characters. The plot was full of intrigue and surprises that kept me guessing right until the very end. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’m not going to say who the love interest is, but the romance is done perfectly. It develops nice and slow with lots of tension and sweet moments. The ending of the book was very satisfying, but I am very excited to see what happens next in the story. I can’t believe that I didn’t read this series earlier. It has been out for a few years now, but rest assured I will be reading the rest of the series as soon as the rest of the books get here.

Notable Scene:

My rough breathing had accelerated into fast gasps. I felt light-headed. The rat had sprung. I was immobilized in its metal jaws.

My thoughts jumbled into a cloud of images. I clutched at the door, trying not to fall. A buzzing sound burst uncontrolled from my throat. I was unable to suppress that drone. Trying harder only caused the sound to grow louder.

I staggered out from behind the door. With all the noise I made, the guards didn’t even glance my direction. They seemed frozen in place.

My lungs strained for air. On the verge of passing out, the buzzing then released me. The sound still rang in the room, but it no longer came from me.

The guards continued to be unresponsive. After taking several deep breaths, I bolted from the room.

Study Series:

1. Poison Study

1.5 Assassin Study

2. Magic Study

3. Fire Study

3.5 Power Study

3.6 Ice Study


FTC Advisory: Harlequin MIRA provided me with a copy of Poison Study. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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One Response to “Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

  1. Wandering MeanderNo Gravatar

    Oh, man. I LOVED this book and yet still have not gotten around to reading the sequels. That probably says something about me as a reader more than about the book, though.
    Can’t wait to hear what you think about The Fallen Blade – also on my TBR pile.

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