Friday, March 06, 2009

Poison Study by Maria V Snyder

Poison Study (Study, Book 1)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: 2005
Pages: 361
My Rating: 3.5 stars 

Poison Study is the first person tale of Yelena, a woman sentenced to death for murdering Reyad, the only son of a General Brazzell. With only hours left until her death by hanging, Yelena is brought before the Commander's security chief, Valek & offered a stay of execution...but only if she agrees to become Commander Ambrose's food taster.

The setting for this fascinating story is Ixia, a military dictatorship. Ixia is divided into military districts, each district controlled by a General, all Generals reporting to Commander Ambrose. Magic, once practised in Ixia & Sitia (a country to the south) is outlawed in Ixia after the takeover.

The story was certainly unique but I found Ms Snyder's writing style stilted & choppy, especially early in the book. The uniform descriptions, coloured stars (embroidered or otherwise) identifying residents of different military districts were tedious, bordering on torturous. BUT, once that was covered I really did become caught up in the tale.

Ms Snyder creates wonderful characters, Yelena is smart, resourceful & determined to survive, Valek is intriguing, and I fell in love with Ari & Janco. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the many lethal poisons & Valek's distinctive methods for teaching Yelena the skills required to detect these poisons. The romance was definitely a sub-plot, late in the book & I was a little disappointed that it wasn't developed, it just happened.

All in all this debut novel is an enjoyable read; political intrigue, fighting, murders, powerful magic, poisons & subtle romance. The final pages of Poison Study set the scene for Magic Study & I'm intrigued to learn how Yelena's story evolves.

1 comment:

  1. I too have a problem when romance is just slapped on. Like it as a natural progression. Great review!


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