Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder was released in the U.S. on October 1, 2005 in hardcover format. It is currently available to order online in paperback, audio and eBook formats at Amazon and in paperback and eBook formats at Barnes & Noble.
The paperback edition, published by Mira Books on December 1, 2008, is 416 pages.
Poison Study is the first book in the Study series by author Maria V. Snyder.
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…
Yelena was ready to die. She committed the crime of murder and she was more than willing to pay the price. After nearly a year of being imprisoned she was ready to accept her fate and welcome the noose.
By killing the General’s son, she stopped his abuses on her. But more importantly she stopped him from unleashing his cruelty on the other orphans – her sisters. And she would do it all again.
But when the dictates of the land allowed her the choice to become Commander Ambrose’s next food taster instead of being immediately executed, she decided that living was worth the risk.
Even if her days would be spent living in fear of being poisoned. Even if she had to live with the constant threat of being killed by the General’s men for what she did to his son. Even if it meant that any friendships she made would be short-lived. And even if it meant she would be living without a soul.
But being the taster was more than Yelena bargained for. Poisoned so that she would remain bound into service, tested so that she would stay sharp, pursued by unknown enemies and betrayed by someone she trusted, made her question her choice to live. Because what she was doing didn’t feel very much like living.
And when she learned something about herself, a dangerous secret that, if it were ever discovered, could cost her not only her life but her heart, it made execution start to sound like a much better option.
Poison Study is an enchanting adventure and a thrilling mystery filled with action, danger, excitement and suspense from start to finish. With characters that are immediately captivating, a strong heroine with an unbelievably heartbreaking story who becomes even stronger, and an unlikely and surprising hero, Poison Study will charm readers and entrap them in this tantalizing world the author has created.
Yelena is a girl sentenced to death for killing General Brazell’s son Reyad. She gets a stay of execution by becoming a food taster for the Ixian Commander as is her right under their Code of Behavior. While it’s not much of a choice, it does mean she avoids the noose and gets a chance to live, for a little while longer at least. The choice is hers. And even after all the years of torture and cruelty she endured, she still chooses life.
As she first learns to become an expert on recognizing poisons and then learns what it means to hope and to live and to love, Yelena discovers that she wants more than just to survive and that she is more. More capable, more powerful and more dangerous than even she knew.
But life as a taster is not without risk, and being a murderer does not leave her without enemies. As Yelena tries to regain her strength and learns how to trust, to fight and to live, she must not only keep the Commander safe but she must also keep and eye out for those who want her dead.
With known and unknown enemies after her, a job that puts her life in danger with every meal, and a secret she’s keeping that could mean instant death at the hands of someone she cares about, Yelena must find a way to escape before she is either killed or her secret is revealed and her career as a taster ends up being a short one.
Maria V. Snyder created an absolutely lovable character in Yelena and an absolutely magical and intriguing world and story. Each twist in the story will keep readers glued to the page, each moment that Yelena is under attack will keep readers on the edge of their seats and each dead end Yelena comes up against in solving the mystery or in trying to find a way to break free is a nail-biting and utterly nerve-wracking experience.
Poison Study has an amazing flow, the story is totally bewitching and the characters are incredibly varied. They’re a wonderful mix of lovable and charming, mysterious and intriguing, fierce, deadly and unbelievably sexy, endearing, warm and fiercely protective, and evil, detestable and downright despicable.
It’s a story that is unputdownable and will be impossible to break free of even after the last line. It’s a world that readers will be intrigued by and will want to return to instantly for the next installment in the series.
There is no complicated love triangle. There is no gigantic cliffhanger. But for readers who are looking for a story with characters that are a bit older, for a setting that feels like its gone back to a time of magic and castles and kings, and for a story with an incredibly courageous and remarkable heroine and a fiercely loyal and intelligent and strong hero, then Poison Study is an absolute must devour.
On a personal note:
What a wonderful and magical story and what an epic adventure. The world was completely captivating, the characters were intriguing and enchanting and Yelena’s story was heartbreaking.
Leaving the world was liking tearing a part of myself away from a place I never wanted to leave. Even with the danger, the atrocities and the risks, I wanted to be there in Ixia with Yelena and Valek.
Poison Study had such a fascinating and seriously amazing mystery. One that I might have been on the right track for some things but was completely surprised by for others.
It was an adventure. It was a deadly one, but one I wanted to go back to from the moment I finished. One that I want to return to right now. It will be a fight not to start reading the next book in this series immediately. I want to continue on with the story. I want to prolong my time with Yelena and Valek and Ari and Janco. And I want to spend time in Ixia and Sitia. I do not want to leave this world.
I didn’t think this was one of those stories I’d connect to. I judged the book by the completely random and wildly inaccurate assumption that this was a dystopian/science fiction novel based not on reading the description but on the names of the characters and places.
This wasn’t a cold story that kept me emotionally distanced from the characters. It was not scientific or clinical or militaristic. It was warm and inviting and enveloping and so completely magical. It felt more old world Merlin and wizards and castles and kings than anything futuristic.
I loved that the characters were a bit older and that while there was a love story, it was not the driving force. But there was one. And it was heartwarming and just so perfect as it was written. And even without all the ups and downs of a tumultuous relationship, their connection made me melt and the characters totally wormed their way into my heart.
The only thing I do wish is that the love story came about earlier in the book so I wouldn’t have to wait to find out just where things are headed in the next book in the series. At least I don’t have to suffer the wait for too long as the series is already released. But having to wait even a week or two will slay me.
I want to read on right now, take the series to its end and suffer the withdrawal when I finally really and truly have to say goodbye.
It was so easy to fall in love with this book. And it was so easy to talk about that this review practically wrote itself the moment I finished reading the book and set it down. I barely needed the time to process everything, because I was still caught up in the world, the one I didn’t want to leave, and the words just flowed.
The Study series is definitely going to be one of those series that I put on top of my re-read list. And I can’t wait to continue on with Valek’s short story next.
I have a “to die for” favorite passage, but it is totally spoiler-y. So this one will have to do….
I joined him at the door. The uniform enhanced his athletic body, and my thoughts drifted to how magnificent he would look with his uniform puddled around his feet.
How I “discovered” this book:
Poison Study is a “Just Discovered” just got a chance to read book, although I only learned about it last year and not when it was originally released.
I first heard about the author through Amazon recommends. But it was for her book Inside Out. About a year ago I finally had a chance to read that book and the sequel, when I received the eARC from NetGalley, but hadn’t checked out what else the author had written.
Jaime of Two Chicks On Books changed that. She insisted I buy and read the author’s Study series. So I did purchase Poison Study last February and added it to my long list of books to be read.
A year later and it hadn’t moved up in the pile. But Jaime was insistent that this would be a “me” book and that I must read it now.
After much hesitation, I caved. And fell in love. And the rest is history.
To read an excerpt of Chapter One from the author’s website, CLICK HERE.
To find links to other excerpts and to the short stories in the series, visit the author’s website, HERE.