“Murderer. The noose waits.”

Title: Poison Study
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: YA Fiction
Publication Date: 2005
Purchase Price: $8.99 (ebook)

Nineteen year-old Yelena is a murderer. She killed Reyad, General Brazell’s son, and has been ordered executed.

According to the laws of Ixia, Yelena has a choice: be executed, or become Commander Ambrose’s food taster. Only a fool would refuse life, and as Yelena says, “I am no fool.”

Yelena begins training with Valek, the Commander’s personal security chief. But her position is necessarily a dangerous one, and strange things are happening in Ixia. Yelena and Valek must work together to solve a mystery…before it’s too late for any of them.

Keeping it short

Poison Study is my first ebook, and it was totally worth betraying my “I’ll never buy an ebook” promise.

Nothing is at it seems in this novel: the reader never knows quite who to trust and who to hate. The characterization is excellent, the mystery and adventure are perfect, and there’s just enough “lovering.”

Poison Study is one of those books that I don’t quite know how to review, because I simply want to type the entire book out, word for word, and ramble on about it for the next three hours. But I’ll try to rein it in.

Failing to keep it short

The reader opens to the first page of Poison Study and is immediately hurled into what feels like the middle of the tale. Yelena has been in prison for almost a year, and is actually in the middle of a frightening flashback when the story begins. The reader doesn’t really know what’s going on, can’t easily discern the present from the past, and has to read closely to catch clues that give them an idea of this world into which they’ve been tossed. It’s awesome.

Poison Study does perfectly what Nightshade got wrong: the author introduces intriguing plot points early in the story, feeding us small bites of the mystery. It’s more about the bigger story, and less about the typical mushy, teenager-in-love stuff. In that respect, I wouldn’t consider Poison Study to be strictly YA — which is fine with me.

I’ve always been a big fan of characterization, and Snyder’s book has that in spades. Even though I didn’t know anything about the characters when I started reading, I quickly felt connected to them — they felt real to me, which is something that every reader appreciates.

Okay, I’m starting to ramble. Suffice to say, if you like mystery, adventure, magic, intrigue, deception, fighting, and overall awesomeness, definitely check out Poison Study. It’s a trilogy, but have no fear: the sequels, Magic Study and Fire Study, are already available.

I’m not a patient person, so I might have to buy both of them in ebook form. Curse you, technology!

Suggested Soundtrack:

Lullaby (Loreena McKennitt)

Kick-ass Quotes:

“Standing next to the two oversize soldiers, I felt like a plum wedged between a couple of cantaloupes.” (ch. 17)

If you’ve read Poison Study, please let me know in the comments so we can talk about it and make other people jealous!

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6 thoughts on ““Murderer. The noose waits.”

  1. I LOVED this book; glad to see another reader did as well! I found the other two at my local used bookstore, but it has been a year or so since I read this one, so I’m planning on rereading it first, so I’m fresh.

    1. I’ve read several reviews from fellow bloggers, and have only seen positive comments. I felt a little “YA’d out” by the time I got to this book, but it was so good, and avoided some of the more common pitfalls of the genre of which it is (barely) a part. It’s getting harder to resist buying the next book. :p

  2. I read Poison Study about two weeks ago, and then had to wait impatiently for the other two in the series to become available.

    I thought it was well done: gripping and mysterious at the same time. I loved how she slowly drew out the back story of what brought Yelena to her current predicament.

    Have you caved to the desire for more yet?

    1. That’s one of the major up sides to ebooks: with just a search and a couple clicks, bam, I have a book! It’s awesome.

      Very gripping, indeed. I love the complexity of the characters, and how much of the struggle in the book is mental.

      Oh yea, I totally caved. I bought Magic Study a little less than a week ago, and gobbled it up in a few days. I’m trying to savor it, but something tells me I’ll be buying Fire Study within the next week or so. Magic Study answers a lot of questions, but it brings out more, and it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger (not a huge one though, or I’d have bought the next book before now!).

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