Title: Poison Study
Series: Study #1
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Publisher: Mira Books
Publication date: September 21st 2007
Source: I own a copy.
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’m not quite sure why I liked this one as much as I did. I mean, the entire tone was pretty depressing–or maybe oppressive might be a better word choice–and not a lot of truly good stuff happened throughout most of it to keep a reader’s spirits lifted. Add into the mix that anything fantasy without ‘urban’ in front of it usually sends me scurrying to the shadows like a scaredy cat. But I still read and read and couldn’t seem to stop reading until I reached the end.
Now, the romantic in me would say it’s because I hoped from the off that Valek would turn out to be something awesome and so I couldn’t help but keep going to discover just how much depth said awesomeness would hold. However, I think it had way more to do with the great characterisations–not just Yelena and Varek, but the cast in it’s entirety were full bodied and interesting–and the original concept and the smooth as silk writing … you get the picture.
So why the loss of a star? Well, for some reason–and I can’t quite pinpoint what it was–but the ending didn’t quite leave me on the high I felt it should have, almost as if the final moment of greatness didn’t reflect its full shine. On top of that, I didn’t quite get caught up on emotion–which I should have done, considering the story, and Yelena’s background, and Rand’s betrayal, and Varek’s confessed feelings at the end. Each of the scenes that should have had my emotions in a whirl seemed to have been written with a little too much detachment that kept me at arms length and stopped me from making that necessary connection–and I need that connection, need that level of instilled emotion for me to award a story that extra star.
But those couple of cons aside, there’s no doubt that this book is a great read and you should certainly pick it up.
My rating: 4 stars
Have you read this title? What’d you think?