|cover from Goodreads|
Title: Poison Study
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Published: March 1, 2007
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...
I loved it! Maria Snyder is super super amazing!
The story starts with Yelena's nightmare of being tortured, setting the mood for mystery. She is summoned by Valek, a well-known assassin, and is offered a job as a food taster of the Commander. To be one, she should be able to detect poisons. Her training sessions with Valek begin immediately, and so is Yelena's adventure towards discovering, saving and freeing herself.
There are a lot of things I liked about Poison Study. One was how unique the plot is. Sure we have the 'government', a female protagonist, a magical power, the greedy antagonist, and the love interest, but how these were connected together created a unique story.
As for the characters, the first one that got my attention is Commander Ambrose. More specifically, his way of making decisions (of course this was before the Criollo)- hearing all sides and weighing them before deciding. I wasn't actually expecting him to be that fair and actually nice. His life's background was introduced at the latter part of the book and I'm really looking forward to knowing more about him.
Next, of course, is Yelena. I liked that her character is full of hope. She'd been in her lowest. She knows that her life is pointless, and yet her will to live is there. I really admire her for that. She's weak but she has the initiative to learn. I liked that she's smart and very brave. She is kind and compassionate though if circumstances dictate she will not hesitate to defend herself.
Another character I liked is Valek. Again, I fell in love with another fictional character! I liked that he is always composed and in control. He is very loyal to the Commander yet he has his own convictions. I enjoyed reading his and Yelena's interactions. And I liked that their budding relationship is not obvious at first but is slowly and carefully built.
Ooh! Janco and Ari are my favorites also! Ugh! I want to hug them! Haha!
Poison Study was a very enjoyable read for me. The fluidity of the events, the way the ideas were connected, the way it was told- very beautiful! I definitely, definitely recommend this book! And I hope that the second and third book will not disappoint me.
That's all folks!