Friday, February 12, 2010

Book Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder


Review: Poison Study
Author: Maria V. Snyder
No. Of Pages: 361
Release Date: 30 December 2008

CHOOSE: a QUICK DEATH OR A SLOW POISON...
On the eve of her execution for murder, Yelena Zaltana is offered an incredible reprieve – on the condition that she becomes the food taster for the military leader of Ixia, Commander Ambrose.
Avoiding poison is the least of her troubles, however...General Brazell, father of the man she killed, has vowed bloody revenge; she’s beginning to have feelings for her captor, Valek; and someone is plotting the downfall of the current regime.
In a desperate race against time, Yelena must learn to control the growing magical talent within her and master the demons of her past. The Commander’s life, the future of Ixia and all those she loves depend on it...

My Thoughts:

This is such an awesome book.
First we have the setting, we begin in a dungeon – loved it – and Yelena is on trial for killing a man who had taken her prisoner. She is then given an option, die tomorrow or maybe die soonish, if you’re unlucky...hmm death by hanging or possible death by ingestion of poison. I know what I’d choose, luckily Yelena chooses the same, and so our story begins.
Yelena is a poison taster for the “Commander” which is pretty much King or Leader, only we can’t call him that because everyone is equal. She goes through and learns all the poisons by taste smell and texture (in safe quantities of course). And puts into practise what she knows at every meal.
Yelena is an awesome character, I can connect with her on so many levels and I love the fact that we aren’t bombarded by her life story in the first couple of pages, it is revealed slowly and in time with what happens to her.
I love that she is haunted in a way by the man she murdered but instead of shrinking inside of herself, she actually tells off a ghost. The scene isn’t funny like how that sounded, but it really is incredible. Yelena shows a strength that isn’t often portrayed anymore. No matter how much she is beaten down she never ever breaks which is awesome.
Valek is the man who in essence offers Yelena a second chance at life. He offers her the Poison taster’s job and teaches her everything about poisons there is to know. We don’t see too much of Valek but he is definitely a presence. Valek is extremely smart and I love how he knows absolutely everything that is going on around him.
I especially love the scene in which Yelena is hiding in his office and he knows she’s there purely because he caught a whiff of lavender and he knows that she likes lavender soap. Yelena’s red face was hilarious because she knew she was going to get caught.
The romance that blossoms in this story is very believable and very evenly paced, there is no rush and there is still that vulnerability that comes with “am I feeling what I think I’m feeling?” and “does he feel the same?”
I loved every element of this story. I love the medieval element with the horses and sword fighting and the castles. I love the fight scenes and the training sessions (which has rekindled my desire to learn how to fight with a bow). I love Ari and Janco and their banter. I love the servants and how they all play their part. I loved the strength of the characters no matter what. I love the festivals and the gymnastics. I love the scene in the trees and the fact that Yelena wins the training session. And I absolutely love the whole concept of a poison taster.
This book has everything for me, fantasy, romance, adventure, politics, problems and a good lead up with an excellent finish.
 
Others in this series:

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6 comments:

Aye.Me? said...

Awesome review!

I love Ari and Janco so much! I wish there was more about them. I'll be interested to see what you think of the next two books. :)

Sarah said...

Great review. I'd seen this series on Amazon & considered buying it but after reading your review I'll definitely have to pick it up :o)

vonze said...

I loved Valek's character and I'm looking forward to reading the next two books and others by Maria V. Snyder. Thanks for reviewing this great book!

Adriana said...

Great review! I really like this series. I still have to finish the last book so can't wait to see how it ends.

Lea said...

Fantastic review! This one sounds incredible, I've been so curious about it for the longest time...I'll have to pick up a copy!

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