by Maria V. Snyder
Published by Mira
Book 1 in the Poison Study series
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...
RATED: 16+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Violence New Adult Interesting
Poison Study by Maria V Snyder is the first book in her Poison Study series, and centers around Yelena, a nineteen-year-old woman who is presented a choice by Valek, the Chief of Security to Commander Ambrose, leader of Ixia: be hanged as sentenced for murder, or become the Commander's Food Tester, a job that comes with a high turnover rate. To prevent Yelena from escaping, Valek gives her Butterflies Dust, and the only way to prevent a painful death, is the antidote that only he has, given every day. As time goes by, and more and more strange things happen, Yelena finds herself in a situation where her life is in danger in more ways than one, and the choices she needs to make are not easy.
I was pleasantly surprised reading Poison Study. Incredibly unique, the world building was simple enough to understand, yet different enough to still feel like fantasy, and the story was super interesting. If you have have been reading my reviews, you know I love romance. I love smut. Poison Study has a little bit of romance, and no smut ... and I still loved it. Don't get me wrong - there is sex. It's just implied. Does it bug me? A little. But the story was so good, I got over it.
I really enjoyed Yelena. Yelena's slow progression to finally facing her demons made a great character arc. I also appreciated that Yelena's character is highlighted by her intelligence, her determination, and strength. Valek is also a great character. Respectful, intelligent, strong, yet dangerous. Their quiet chemistry with one another made for a slow-burn romance with a high payoff. It's sweet. They are sweet. Something I loved about this book, is Maria's actual character building. Very little is described of Yelena's and Valek's looks, which is great, because often looks are made important in books. I wish we had a little bit more description though, so I can picture them better in my mind.
Poison Study is a wonderful, fantasy read, full of political intrigue and plots, with just a dash of romance. I feel like anyone, woman, man, teenager, would enjoy this book, and quite honestly, I can't wait to start the next book.