by Maria V Snyder
“What have I earned from you, Valek? Loyalty? Respect? Trust?”
“You have my attention. but give me what I want and you can have everything.”
Title: Poison Study
Author: Maria V Snyder
Publisher: Mira Books
Book: 1 of the Study series
Found: I can’t remember!
Rating: 5 Voodoos
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…
I’ve lost count the amount of times I’ve read this series – and yet I’ve never reviewed it! What happened there?! 5 Voodoos was my previous rating, I may have given it 4.5 otherwise – why? Well, because I found some of the filler bits boring and I knew who was and wasn’t important so that kind of took the thrill out. But then, I have read it multiple times before! Plus those parts were east to skip over.
I also accidentally read the series set after this first, The Glass series. I’m not such a fan of those, I’ve read them once. But it gave away things about this series which were perhaps supposed to be surprises, which was annoying. I wished to be like Holly from Red Dwarf and have my mind wiped of the books so that I could read them for the first time again! Of course, now that idea completely terrifies me but ok.
What’s a crime is that Valek isn’t mentioned in that blurb up there. I mean, Valek! He’s Yelena’s boss and ‘poison of choice’ haha, see what I did there? Moving on…
Ixia is a military run country and it’s not as bad as it may sound. Everyone has a place and your status is to do with how good you are at stuff – or at least in theory it is…I don’t know how the families of the generals proceed…that’s kind of nobility…but I’ve only just thought of that and that’s not relevant. Or, is it? There are bad things – with every country, for example killing someone is unforgivable and you are sentenced to death no matter the reason. Which is why Yelena ended up in the mess she’s in. She killed someone.
Up next in the execution rota means she’s offered the suddenly vacant food taster position. She’s a mystery that Valek is determined to solve – especially as her past seems to be connected to the rest of what’s going on. The plot is clever and the writing engaging. Yelena isn’t full of her self, nor is she full of self doubt – she may have some form of denial going on but that’s to be expected. I like her, though I do like Valek more! He’s an assassin and a spy and he has black curly hair and blue eyes! Plus he’s got that secret side venture going on that I’d forgotten about too.
That’s another thing. A refreshing amount of people have curly hair in this book. And none of them are going about ‘brushing’ their hair either. Someone gets it!!!
The situation with the Commander is interesting. I don’t quite understand how both sides of his personality fit together, but then I guess we’re not in his mind, so we won’t ever know if it’s slight of hand or a form of magic…but I’ll pay extra attention to him from now on, in case there’s something I’ve missed….