2 August 2012


Author: Maria V. Synder
Series: Yes, #1
UK Publisher: Mira Books
UK Release date: 2007
Genre: Fantasy

Yelena has a choice – be executed for murder, or become food taster to the Commander of Ixia. She leaps at the chance for survival, but her relief may be short-lived. Life in the palace is full of hazards and secrets. Wily and smart, Yelena must learn to identify poisons before they kill her, recognise whom she can trust and how to spy on those she can’t. And who is the mysterious Southern sorceress who can reach into her head? When Yelena realises she has extraordinary powers of her own, she faces a whole new problem, for using magic in Ixia is punishable by death... (Goodreads)

First off I absolutely loved this book. In Poison Study, Snyder has created an amazing fantasy world, simple but extremely well written. Her writing style has a natural ebb and flow to it that makes it easy and pleasurable to read.

The main protagonist, Yelena, starts off as a criminal and prisoner in the Commander’s cells. Her only reprieve from the noose is the offer of a job as food taster to the Commander of Ixia.

Even when she is saved, she is vilified and shunned by everyone. I loved the fact that Yelena had such an interesting and dangerous role, having to learn about different poisons, whilst fighting off those that still looked down on her. It gave the whole plot a unique and different take.

Yelena was intelligent, brave, witty and tough. She's already been through so much and yet Poison Study has so much in store for her - but this one girl that gets up no matter how many times you put her time, and for that I adore her. Even though to begin with I didn’t fully know what Brazell and Reyad had inflicted on Yelena, I knew enough to feel sympathy for her, and I smiled whenever she was able to prove people wrong.

The fact that Yelena had to work for the most dangerous, lethal and ruthless man in the country added an extra element of danger. Valek was cunning, tricky, and brutal. Yet I loved seeing his soft side peek through, and see him protect Yelena. His character and personality was so magnetic and charismatic, that I was irresistibly drawn to him.

Snyder has also developed an amazing cast of secondary characters from the ‘power’ twins Ari and Janco, to some of the most sinister characters such as Brazell and Mogkan. Each one felt very real, with different traits and sides to their personality, and I liked that some characters you just couldn’t figure out at first. Were they going to be mean and pick on Yelena or could they be potential friends? The guessing and intrigue really kept me interested and on my toes.

Although some overarching elements of the plot were easy to predict, there were so many sub plots and twists that the story never bored me. I loved the mix of action, threat, and subtle romance.

A fantasy masterpiece, Poison Study, is a beautifully written story filled with wonderful characters and crammed with danger, mu rder and fighting.

Rating: 5*


Bookworm1858 said...

I love this book so much-it's one of my top 5 reads ever so I'm always happy to see someone else fall for its charms. I don't think the other two books are quite as good but since this almost reads like a standalone, you don't necessarily have to give them a try.

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Raimy_rawr said...

so this has been on my tbr FOREVER and for some reason I have just never got round to reading it… this is so going to change now I've read your review!

Hannah Mariska said...

Just read the second and I think I agree. But I would reread this one for sure :)

Hannah Mariska said...

Yay - you MUST read it :)

Andra Lynn said...

I LOVE Maria V. Snyder :) She seems to be capable of writing just about any type of fantasy imaginable :) Poison Study was a great one for me...though I didn't fall in love with the sequels as much... Great review!

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