Title: Poison Study - Study #1
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Release date: 1st June 2004
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.
♔ ReviewAs 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...
Poison Study is the first book of the Study series written by Maria V. Snyder. I read Touch of Power (also written by her) and I thought I had to read some of her other books. So when the starts aligned and the opportunity presented itself, I couldn't let it pass!
The world Maria creates in Poison Study is magic, simple and beautiful. Ixia was reigned by an unjust king when Commander Ambrose took the power from him to right things. Ixia is divided in different Military Districts (MD, for short) and ruled according to the Code. The same Code that dictates that Yelena must me executed for murdering her adoptive father's son. She's an orphan, but she's not an assassin; General Brazell and Reyad, his son, brutally abused her and a lot of other orphaned children that they had taken "under their care". Yelena did what she did fully conscious of her acts. She just wanted to spare the other children that would surely come after her. She's set to prison to wait to be executed. Except, luck seems to be on her side and she's offered the position to be the Commander's food taster.
It was impossible not to grow to love Yelena. At such a young age, she's faced uncountable horrors. And, even when she has to face death (even when being a food taster), she remains strong. Her courage was something I greatly admired through all the book. It was quite fascinating seeing her getting acquainted with poisons. Not that I'm going to jump and fill her position, but it was something I hadn't seen before. Oh, and let's not forget the side characters! Every one of them was so unique it was easy to differentiate and remember them.
But, of course, this is a book by Maria V. Snyder! And, as such, it didn't lack the uniquely characteristic love story and love interest. Let me introduce you to Valek. Thoughful, gorgeous, quiet, severe, caring Valek. He's one of those love interests that you immediately discard as such, as things go on you think "no way!" but in the end you can't help falling in love with. He was always composed, and on the very few scenes when he was a bit awkward I found him adorable. Their love scenes were so rare that they were always like a treat.
Magic is also finely intrincated throughout the book, although it was too little, in my opinion. I wanted to know more about it! Since the next book, which I'm obviously planning to get my hands on soon, is titled Magic Study, I don't think I'll have to worry that much. The only downfall of this book was that it didn't invest me emotionally. I'm blaming a reading slump or something along those lines, because the story itself was very original and sweet.