Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Posted 20 July, 2011 by Amanda / 16 Comments

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (Study, #1)
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Received: ebook from Stephanie @ Once Upon a Chapter (July RAK)
Read: 7/2/2011 — 7/5/2011
In six words: Upon finishing, I just said, “Wow.”

Maria V. Snyder — Website | Goodreads | Blog
Amazon — Paperback | Kindle
Book Depository — Paperback
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Book Order

1. Poison Study
2. Magic Study
3. Fire Study


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…
-from Goodreads

Why I Read This Book and General Thoughts

Listen up: if you want to recommend a book to me, the best way to get me to read it is through Tara @ 25 Hour Books.  I honestly think she knows which books I’ll like better than I do.  Poison Study was recommended to me by Tara, but I received the book from Stephanie @ Once Upon a Chapter for July’s RAK.  I rarely read the summaries of books that Tara recommends; instead, I prefer to just start reading.  I had no idea what to expect from Poison Study, but I don’t think there is a synopsis that could do it justice.  Poison Study was one of those rare books that, upon completion, left my body humming with a million indescribable emotions that only seem to escape through a single word: “Wow.”

A More In-Depth Look

Yelena’s life sucks.  She has been condemned to death — whether by execution now or poisoning later, it doesn’t matter.  The final result is the same.  Reading Poison Study makes us wonder how this story could manage not to break our hearts.  Death awaits Yelena as surely as she lives and breathes.  How can there possibly be any sort of acceptable ending?  And as if being food taster and risking death every day isn’t enough, mystery and other threats begin building with every new day.

Valek was an incredibly intriguing character, and even though I was not always sure what he was up to, I knew I liked him.  I have a thing for enigmatic men who possess the skills to kill you but choose to…do other things with you instead.  There was really no way to stop me from liking him.  And I felt the draw between Valek and Yelena, though like Yelena, it was difficult to decipher Valek’s true feelings.  Although the romance is not the main focus of the plot and is rather light, it still provides an integral thread to the story, and without it, I would not have enjoyed Poison Study as much as I did.  And let me not forget the rest of the supporting characters — they were well-written as well.

While reading, I rocketed between being shocked the story was moving so quickly, thinking the story couldn’t possibly work out to my satisfaction with the amount remaining, and wishing there were more to read.  If not for life getting in the way of my reading, I would have easily devoured Poison Study in a single day; it captured my attention right from the opening lines.  Poison Study is the kind of book you remember long after you have finished reading it.  And yes, in case you were wondering, Poison Study did manage to end to my satisfaction.

There is so much more I could say about this book, but it would give too much away, and I’d rather you just read Poison Study for yourself.

You Might Enjoy This Book If…

Poison Study blends medieval history with fantasy and a unique premise.  If any (or all) of these interest you, you might enjoy this book.

Other Reviews
25 Hour Books — 4 stars

Filed under: ESR: 9, Fantasy, Review: Amanda, ,


16 Responses to “Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder”

  1. Great review! I love when I am recommended a good book, as a matter of fact some of the books I have enjoyed the most were suggestions from other people!

    I found your blog on Twitter and I too am a book addict! LOL

  2. “I have a thing for enigmatic men who possess the skills to kill you but choose to…do other things with you instead.”

    Yes, YES, a thousand times YESSSS! Danger = sexy. I’ve been telling myself for far too long lately to read Maria Snyder. I think this looks like the best place to start.

    • Do start here! Well, I guess I’m also slightly biased because this is the only book by Maria Snyder I’ve read. Ha. But Poison Study is good.

  3. I’ve been looking for a YA book that will be a nice, quick break from all the thrillers I’ve been reading lately. I’m intrigued by the premise and like the fact that you could have read it a day and was satisfied by the ending.

    • Is this a YA book? I’m not exactly sure. Considering Valek was in his 30s, I thought not, but it’s not a romance novel either (sex is implied but never explicitly talked about), so it would in theory be appropriate for older YA readers. Whatever its classification, I would definitely recommend this.

  4. Felicia

    So this isn’t YA? I have stayed away from it because it is shelved in the YA section. I might have to try this series!

    • Felicia, to be honest, I’m not really sure, and can’t really find the answer anywhere either. It does not have the feel of a YA book, even though it’s possible Yelena is still a teenager (though we’re not given her exact age — she could be early 20s) and that’s why I didn’t classify it as YA in my review. I would say give it a try anyway. :)

    • kay

      Here (Montreal, Canada) the book is filed with adult fantasy and never associated with YA.To me Yelena felt like a young woman in her early twenties. Maybe 18-19, but not younger. I could be wrong though! :)

      And Amanda : I am so glad you enjoyed this book too! I had so much fun reading it. The second wasn’t bad either, but I haven’t read the last one yet.

      • Kay, I totally agree with you on the age. Also, I’ve been torn about reading more in the series. Do you have a review on the second book in the series? I’d love to read it!

  5. I really enjoyed this book though was a bit disappointed with the sequels which is why I’ve been reluctant to try out some of the author’s other books. But seeing positive reviews of Poison Study reminds me again of how much I had originally enjoyed it.

    • I’m afraid to read the sequels because I have heard they’re not as good as the first. :( This book would a hard act to follow, though.

  6. Rien

    Am pretty certain that it is mentioned somewhere that Yelena is 23 if not in Poison Study then in one of the sequels Magic Study or Fire Study.

    • I haven’t read any of the other books in the series, though it does not surprise me that Yelena is older. I don’t know why this is considered a YA book.