Review 172. Maria Snyder – Poison study.

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Title: Poison Study.
Author: Maria Snyder.
Pages: 409.
Published: September 21st 2007.
Publisher: Mira Books
Sort: Part one of ‘Poison Study’

Choose:
A quick death
Or slow poison...

Yelena has a choice – be executed for murder, or become food taster to the Commander of Ixia. She leaps at the chance for survival, but her relief may be short-lived. Life in the palace is full of hazards and secrets. Wily and smart, Yelena must learn to identify poisons before they kill her, recognise whom she can trust and how to spy on those she can’t. And who is the mysterious Southern sorceress who can reach into her head? When Yelena realises she has extraordinary powers of her own, she faces a whole new problem, for using magic in Ixia is punishable by death...
Rating:

This book was actually an impulsive buy and I’m so happy I bought it. After seeing a lot of positive reviews I was pretty sure I would enjoy this book and I did. I couldn’t put it down! This book has everything I look for: an admirable MC, a great romance, mystery and action and magic. Add a good world-building and a flowing writing-style and I’m hooked.

Yelena is waiting for her punishment. After killing the man who tortured and abused her, she is in the dungeon waiting to be hanged. That is until Valek offers her to chance to become the Commander’s new food taster. Yelena will do anything to stay alive and soon, she is learning all kinds of poisons. But several people are after Yelena’s life: the father from the man she killed and a mysterious sorceress. And what is going on with the strange behavior of the Commander?

This book.. I’m not sure where to get started. The awesomeness is overwhelming. Yelena and I clicked. She is smart, strong and despite the suffering in her past, kind. She is also vulnerable, loyal and sometimes snarky. I really liked her dialogues with Valek and it was clear that there is a chemistry between them. And Valek *swoon* Intelligent, extremely good in fighting and attractive. The romance between them was perfect. It starts all wrong, with Valek being all manly and distant. They are close to having a hate relationship, but they are slowly starting to appreciate each other. They become friends and soon, there is more. It’s so sweet!

The romance is luckily just an aspect, because this book shines in secrets, adventure, magic and action. The Commander is a character I respected. He leads his country in an honest way, but someone is playing with his mind. It’s from the beginning clear who is behind it and how, but that’s never bothersome. I just wanted to see what was going to happen. The true mystery lies with the sorceress and Yelena’s past: she grew up in an orphanage, but where did she come from?

The sidekicks in this book are great. They have distinct voices and they play important parts in this story. They help Yelena to develop and to gain trust in people again. That is how I like them!

If you are looking for a fun fantasy with good characters and a sweet romance, this is the book you want to read.

46 comments

  1. I loved this book too :) I'm going to be reading the second one in the trilogy soon.

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    1. I'm reading it at the moment and it's just as good as this one :)!

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  2. It took me a while to pick this up, but I was so glad when I did. It hooked me right from the beginning. I love Yelena, I thought she was really independent and tough, and I loved her relationship with Valek! Glad you loved this, Mel, lovely review. :)

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  3. I enjoyed this book so much too, Mel! I'm so glad to see you did too. And Valek, *sigh*. I loved loved the relationship between him and Yelena and how it gradually developed into something more. Fantastic review! :D

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    1. Yes, it's one of the better relationships in books :D

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  4. I am SO HAPPY you loved this one Mel! And guess what - this series will be 6 books long! I cannot wait to continue! I love it.

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  5. Oh, I love the sound of this one. I've had it on my shelf forever, Mel, but I've yet to read it. Your review, however, makes me think that I'm missing out, so I think I need to give it a go! Great review :)

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  6. Oh! this is a different cover from the one I read! mmm, I'm torn b/w the covers...
    Anyway, I liked this one. I wasn't all crazy about it but I did enjoy it. I won't be reading the next books in the series, though :-(

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    1. I like the other covers too, but this is the version I bought ^^ That's a shame!

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  7. Ooh, Italy?! I'm totally jealous. I really enjoyed this one, too. It sort of reminded me of books by Tamora Pierce. The characters were great, the hint of romance was nice, and I loved that it didn't overshadow the action and how badass Yelena was. Have a safe and fabulous trip :)

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    1. Yeah, I can't wait! It's going to be two awesome weeks :D Hmm, perhaps I need to take a look at Pierce's book too :)

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  8. Eeeeeee! I don't think I've read a single negative review for this! It sounds so goodddd<3 Definitely have to get my hands on a copy soon :) And OMGGG You're going to Italy!! I'm sooo jealous :P I'll be going on ski camp but it's no where as awesome as Italy<3

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    1. I don't think anyone can dislike this book :D

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  9. You're going to Italy. O_O Lucky, I went there as I have a few relatives over there but that was AGES ago. I hope you have fun! I am in deep need for a novel with a genuine and sweet romance and I'm loving the sound of this one!

    Fantastic review, Melanie! <33

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  10. Yayy!! I'm so glad you liked this book!! :D I've pretty much loved all of Maria V. Snyder's books, she brings the awesome :)
    I also really connected to Yelena and I agree that it's about so much more than the romance, though it is very good :) I love all the intrigue and the secrets!
    Oh, and the sidekicks ARE awesome, they always are in Snyder's books! :D

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    1. This is my first book, but definitely not the last one :D

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  11. I've never even heard of this book, but you've definitely got me intrigued with this review! I just may have to add this one to my TBR pile. :)

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  12. I've heard so many wonderful things about this book. It's definitely on my TBR list, and hopefully sometime I will actually get to reading it. I'm so glad that you liked Yelena. I wasn't sure how I would feel about her, but it seems like she is very likable.

    Have a great trip in Italy!

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  13. I am so, so happy you enjoyed this! It's one of my fave trilogies and I'm excited that Synder is planning on writing 3 more books! I love the mc and the romance, too. I agree that the secondary characters were great. Amazing review!

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  14. I love the sound of Yelena. I love smart characters. I have been wanting to start this series for a while, and I can't wait to get sucked into this adventure! Lovely review as always, Mel!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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    1. I hope you can read it soon! I can't wait to hear what you think :)

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  15. I have seen this book around but still haven't head a chance to read it. It sounds like a great story and Yelena like a great character. I'm glad you enjoyed Mel. Great review :)

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    1. Thanks Tanja, you should give it a try soon! :)

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  16. Sounds like you are having an awesome non-blogging break :D I do like Maria V Snyder. I love that the supporting characters sound really well developed. Great review!

    Alise @ Readers In Wonderland

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  17. YES YES YES. I knew you'll love this book Mel! It was like made for you Mel! ;D<3
    And have fun on your trip Mel!

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    1. Haha, I agree! I had such a feeling while reading this book :D

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  18. YES! I'm so glad this worked for you, Mel! I haven't read this book in what feels like years, but I can remember how much I loved it the first time. I agree about the romance. That might have been the main highlight of the book for me, mostly because I was (am!) such a huge Valek fan. Really wonderful review. :)

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    1. I'm not such a fan of most romances, because it can spoil the book, but this added just the perfect touch to the story. It completed it :)

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  19. I haven't read this book yet, but I intend to! (That title is kickass.) I always love it when I manage to connect with the main character so easily. Glad you enjoyed this, Mel. I'll be sure to check this out whenever I'm looking for a light fantasy.

    Also, have fun on your trip to ITALLYYYY! Eat lots of pizza and pasta for me. ;)

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  20. I agree - I loved Poison Study! Yelena is such a strong heroine and I thought the plot was really well done. I wasn't instantly okay with Yelena and Valek's relationship, but I eventually warmed up to it. Glad you enjoyed it so much!

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  21. I love this book! I personally can't wait until I can read the third book: Fire Study! :)

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  22. Envious of your Italian vacation :) Have fun! This sounds like a great book!

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  23. This is one of my all-time favorite series. In fact, I think a reread is in order! Great review, and I'm glad you loved it!

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  24. OMG you're probably IN Italy RIGHT NOW! Eeek O.O,enjoy!! hehe, I love how you said you knew you would enjoy this one because I feel the same way - I haven't read this one yet (I do own a copy) and I just know I'm going to love this! I sounds exactly like the kind of read I could become obsessed with and the way you describe the MC and her love interest has me itching to crack open the cover :D Awesome review Mel!

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    1. Not yet! :D I will be leaving on Friday, but I'll let you know with a post. I hope we have internet over there, so I can update my blog now and then.

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  25. Aw, great review :) So glad you loved this one. <3 I have had all three books for years now, and I have yet to read them, lol (A) but hoping to do so one day, because I do think Poison Study sounds amazing :D And ohh. Excited about sweet romance, hih ;p Thank you for sharing Mel. <3

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  26. Yay another fan! This is one of my favorite books of all time and I'm always excited to see another blogger fall in love. Yelena and Valek are the tops!

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