Book Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

“Exactly, you have poisoned me.”

What would you choose? A quick hanging or a poison that will kill you in two days if you don’t take the antidote each day and the risk of getting killed by a different poison with every meal you eat, but in the mean time staying alive and healthy. It would be a hard choose, one which I don’t have an answer for now. Luckily I don’t need to choose now, maybe not ever. Yelena in Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder is not so lucky.

Book Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder


Poison Study book-cover

Title & Author: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Release Date: March 1st 2007
Series: Study Series
Publisher: MIRA Books

Choose: A quick death… Or slow poison…

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered a 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 tester. 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 dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and she develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life’s at stake again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear!

Poison Study is a relatively fast paced book and is a pleasant read. Overall not Maria’s best book, I feel. But I did like it and am looking forward to reading Magic Study, the second book in this series – or part of the series – I had a hard time reading this book and below I will delve into that more.

First I want to talk about the good points of this story. Because the story felt refreshing. Yelena is not your average girl who was at the wrong moment in the wrong place or something. She actually was in prison for something she committed, which makes her more interesting to me. She is likable and seemed to have done her wrongs out of self-defense. I am curious if there is more in the other books that will explain her past a bit more – please do not spoil this for me! – I do think the characters are well-developed, they are complex – maybe too complex? – and engaging. I liked the small characters a lot, like the cook, Rand, and Janco and Ari. They feel very real to me.

The end was a bit of a disappointing. Going very quickly from the Commander finding out about Yelena’s magic to her rushing off to learn magic with someone “new”. Which just adds to my list of “complicated”.

My question is just: Why does everything have to be so complicated?
I struggled the whole book with the fact that Yelena so easily choose to be the food tester and even though she tries to escape a few times, she did not really give me any reason for why she did it. Aside from staying alive in that way.

And then she also starts to develop magical abilities? Isn’t that a bit far-fetched? – Okay, I could have seen it coming, since the next book is Magic Study – I hope Maria will get a bit more into the whole magician thing, because I did not get it. And then this magician that warns the main character about her abilities. I did not find it very appealing to see Yelena go with her at the end of the book. I made me uneasy.

And with all this going on, there is also Valek, a character that I completely don’t understand. He is rumoured to have killed the last food tester, but does get “involved” with Yelena.
Maybe all these elements are just too much for a mare 400 pages – I don’t know – Or maybe I just completely lost track of everything that was happening. I will have to reread this book, but please let me know!

Also figuring out which of the books Maria V. Snyder has written belong to this series is quite hard. There are several books ending on Study and they all seem to belong to this series. But on Maria’s website only her latest book, Shadow Study, suggests the Study series are part of a bigger series, called The Chronicles of Ixia (Shadow Study would be part 7 of that), which leaves me to guess at what the other 6 books are. Looking at Goodreads, I can figure out that the Glass series also belong in these Chronicles, in between the original three parts of the Study series and Shadow Study. Which makes it all confusing. I am just going to read all her books that belong to the Chronicles of Ixia so I get a good overview of which part belongs where and might get back to you about that.

Overall I still liked the book and – as I said before – I will definitely read the whole series. Because I am curious about these things. Maybe it is just me or maybe it would have been a better read if it had been 600 pages, I don’t know. But that does not make me dislike it.
It might even be a struggle to get through all seven – nine by the time I am through, but oh well – but I will fight on. I feel they are worth it.

Let me know what you thought of this book!
If you have any requests for which book I should talk about next, please let me know in the comments down below.

For now, let books enrich your life!


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