About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered a reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace, and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust, and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and she develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life’s at stake again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear!
Let me begin by telling you that is one of my all time favorite fantasy novels. Right from the beginning, I was hooked and still am. I enjoyed this book so much that I’ve read it multiple times. I even own the audio book so I can listen to it over and over while doing other things. I’ve shared this book with all the women in my family, who include a teenager, a couple of twenty somethings, and a couple of moms. They all loved it and went on to read the entire series. Needless to say, I love this book and I think you will too.
Imprisoned for murder, tortured, and scheduled to be executed, Yelena is presented with the option to be the Commander’s poison tester. She accepts the position and is given a second chance at live, at least for now. Under the tutelage of the Commander’s adviser, Valek, Yelena studies poisons, among other things (wink), and gradually earns respect from Valek and the Commander. Even with their respect, she still has many enemies and her live is frequently in limbo. While fighting for her survival, she discovers strange abilities, adding a whole new layer of complexity to Yelena’s life.
Yelena is a smart, strong, and easy to relate to heroine and quite honestly a character of her caliber is hard to find these days. Although cheesy sounding, Valek is an intelligent, awesome, bad ass assassin while at the same time tender and kind. I loved every scene with him.
Snyder weaves an intriguing world that left me wanting more. It’s fun, addicting, and there’s love, what more can you ask for. Yelena’s story carries on in Snyder’s next two books, Magic Study and Fire Study.
Read the first chapter on Maria V. Snyder’s website and become an obsessed fan like me. For more Poison Study fun, check out Snyder’s Assassin’s Study, which is a short story from Valek’s perspective and is set in between Poison Study and Magic Study. Read Assassin’s Study here.