Poisoned, pursued and living with a psychopath Not what I would consider the good life Death has its perksWell living with a psychopath Valek is a perk in my humble opinion The story Yelena is waiting to be executed and she s made peace with that, but then the Commander s right hand who also happens to be an assassin approaches her with an offer she can either be executed as planned or she can become the Commander s new food taster Yelena naturally picks the latest and she s introduced into a world of politics, schemings and poisons, and she eventually has to face her worst nightmares and find the strength to confront themTrusting is hard Knowing who to trust, even harderThoughts One of the reasons I started reading Poison Study besides the gorgeous cover and the premise was the assumption that it resembles Throne of Glass, which I adore And it s true, both of them are about an incarcerated girl who is given a second chance if she endures a dangerous challenge, but that s where the resemblances end Poison Study is different Unique Marvelous.Poisons, magic, deception, spies, secrets, assassins, conspiracies, military action, heinous acts and acts of kindness, great main and secondary characters , Maria V Snyder gives you everything Yelena is an extremely likable MC, from a scared girl depending on others she evolves into a strong woman who embraces her weakness and turns it into courage And my precious Valek plays an important part in this transformationBut you ve slipped under my skin, invaded my blood and seized my heartValek contemplated to kill Yelena twice, he was rude and manipulative and he put his duty above everything else But yet Yelena found a place in his black heart and held it with a strong grip Their chemistry was palpable and their love was building slowly and steadily One of the finest OTPs, ladies and gentlemen You haven t read Poison Study yet Santa will get you no present this year. 12 29 17 ON SALE for 1.99 by Rabid Reads4.5 starsI ve been wanting to reread this series for like two years No lie It s been 6 or 8 years since the last time I read it, and I remembered really liking it, but not much else But guess what NEW BOOK So yeah, just prior to the release of Shadow Study seemed like an excellent time to get my reread on, and guysit was even better than I remembered it That Has NEVER Happened.Yelena, a self confessed murderer is spared from hanging when the Commander of the military governed nation she lives in needs a new food taster The last one died ofpoisoning Go figure Valek, the head of the Commander s security offers her the position, and when she accepts Yelena discovers that he will also be responsible for her training, BUThis training methods can best be described astrial by fire I believe he says something like, if you can survive this, nothing else will accidentally kill you, and you won t be a waste of my valuable time and effort, just before dosing her with the moste potente poison he has available.Nice guy, that ValekBut Yelena is both stronger and smarter than she appears, and she not only survives the poisoning, but thrives under Valek s tutelage And if that was all there was, wellthat would be boring.But that s not all Yelena has secrets Like the reason why she killed the only son of her benefactor, one of the eight Generals directly under the Commander in rank A General who is distinctly unhappy about her avoiding the noose Yelena is also unsurprisingly world weary BUT Despite her best efforts, she s unable to snuff out the fragile flame of hope that burns inside of her Hope for a better life Hope for someone to trust Hope for something as simple, yet, previously, as unattainable as a friend In Poison Study, you grow with Yelena as she grows, begin to trust as she trusts, feel the bitter disappointment of betrayal when she is betrayed, and barely dare to allow yourself to hope as somethingthan friendship begins to blossom Don t ask me with whom, b c I won t tell you, but it islovely.She picks up a few allies along the way as well, and a pair of soldiers in particular, Janco and Ari, are simply fantastic Ari adopts the role of protective older brother, while Janco fills the prankster brother position exceptionally well, and you feel that in your gut too, b c Yelena is an orphan And all of this is happening within the unfolding mystery that s detailed quite nicely in the blurb, so I won t rehash it.On the surface, Poison Study probably looks a lot like every other YA fantasy out there, and it admittedly doesn t stray far from the standard and acceptable elements But Snyder has created a world with characters who make you FEEL what they FEEL, who you want to triumph, and fear for when failure seems imminent I ve never denied being a character driven reader, and Poison Study is a marvelous example of the kind of book that really, really makes me happy Highly recommended.
I finished this book on Friday, and I took all weekend to decide what I wanted to say in my review Let me start by saying that Poison Study is written in a very elemental fashion If you are a reader who likes flowery, descriptive writing, this might throw you for a loop initially The story is told inelaborately, and there is no hesitation in describing the ugliness of Yelena s situation When I met Yelena, she was taken out of her prison cell, where she had languished for the better part of a year, and was prepared to meet the executioner I can t say I ve read too many books that started this way I was hooked right then and there Instead of seeing Yelena get executed, she is taken to the office of the man who will cause a profound change in her life, Valek Yelena was offered the opportunity to escape a quick execution She could undertake the training as a food taster, which was not without risk, and if she survived, she would spend her life risking death on a regular basis Typically the life of a food taster is very short But, it s a lot longer than instant death Yelena thought things through and decided she d rather take her chances as a food taster.From the beginning, I was interested in Yelena s story She was a young woman who had ended up in a very dire situation not all of her making , but was willing to own up to the life she d taken She never made excuses for her actions, although the reasons were valid With the murder she committed, she felt as though her soul had been lost And yet, some part of her refused to give up This book brings to mind the aphorism that Justice is Blind More andI wonder if justice really should be blind Those who enforce the law make their verdicts on cases based on the evidence presented Yet, they don t always consider the underlying reasons why a person commits a crime In the eyes of an omniscient diety, this makes perfect sense, because that Supreme Being sees all things But, humans don t have that all seeing perception Is it fair for a woman to be sentenced to death for trying to protect herself and her loved ones, for killing a man who brutally tortured and raped her According to the strict laws of Ixia, murder outside of war is considered a capital offense From the moment that Yelena took the life of the son of General Brazell, her life was forfeit I believe in second chances I just do I know that we all fall and fail, and while I think some crimes are extremely heinous, I cannot let go of my belief that everyone deserves the right to make amends I was happy that Valek gave Yelena the opportunity to live Yet, Yelena will facetrials with her second chance And she is put in a position to save the Commander who she serves as food taster, and to prevent Ixia from falling prey to a conspiracy that involves key members of the government.Poison Study was a very readable, fascinating, enjoyable adventure I loved seeing Yelena come into her own It was clear that she d always been a strong person, and her strength of character and will is what allowed herself to emerge from the fires that had potential to destroy her Instead, she was honed by those fires and made stronger I m not very good at political stuff I have my own way of looking at things, and it makes my interpretation of political stances, parties, affiliations, and governmental structures very against type I think it was interesting to see the inner workings of the system that the Commander had set up through Yelena s eyes In many ways, going from a monarchy to what appeared to be a dictatorship was an improvement However, there were many restrictions imposed on the people as a result of that same government Opportunities were open that weren t before The government was set up to encourage fairness and to discourage waste The downside was, anytime you have people in a system, it s going to be flawed, because people are flawed So this system was not perfect Through Yelena s eyes, I was able to see this all playing out I started this review by saying that this book was written with a simple use of language I found that this narrative style was a bit deceptive You might think this story is basic on first glance, but that s far from the truth There is a lot going on here I liked that Ms Snyder left it up to the reader to interpret the events through her own eyes I like how she slowly reveals aspects of the characters until the fullest picture comes to mind That was the best way to write about a character like Valek When he comes on the scene, he doesn t seem that grand He seems like a puppet in the political structure of Ixia But, if I had continued to see him that way, I would have been missing out on a lot You see, Valek is not the puppet He s the puppetmaster He is an extremely intelligent and cunning spymaster, a swordsman without equal, and a deadly assassin He s so matter of fact and without flare, so you don t see him truly unless you look deeper He holds his allegiance to Commander Ambrose very sacredly, but that doesn t mean he doesn t always agree with the rules that the Commander has instituted That he cannot see justice done in his own way Through Yelena s eyes, we see how the perception of Valek expands to show who and what he really is I fell in love with him as Yelena did.I m a romantic at heart, and I will always be I loved the burgeoning relationship between Yelena and Valek How they slowly worked their way into each others hearts, through proximity and the fact that they saw something in each other that resulted in an irresistible draw to each other It s clear from the beginning, through the eyes of others around Yelena and Valek, and through Valek s actions, that he cherishes Yelena It s a subtle but at the same time, pretty obvious thing In my opinion, it took a lot of writing skill to convey this to the reader, and Ms Snyder did an excellent job.Poison Study was a grand adventure in the style of the classic adventure novels The fight scenes are well written, and the danger elements are exciting and involving Being Yelena is a dangerous proposition, because Brazell is determined to see her dead for killing his son, and continually uses underhanded methods to do it Also because she lives in dangerous times, and in an environment fraught with intrigue I liked that Valek saved Yelena several times, because it showed the intensity of his regard for her, but I also liked that many other times, Yelena was able to save herself through her intelligence, quick thinking, and through her developing skills at self defense Yelena views herself as a small person in the scheme of things, but she had an important role in preventing a very ugly conspiracy from coming to fruition She effects change by doing what she feels is right, and because of that, she gains the respect of those who had previously viewed her as a cold blooded murderess Her actions don t occur in a vacuum, and they often result in helping protecting others in various ways The fantastic elements are subtle but integral I liked how Yelena s magic was instrinsic to her, a part of her that was dormant, emerging when she needs it I loved seeing her become a capable and deadly fighter She hates the idea of killing, but killing is necessary in the dangerous world she lives in She had to come to realize this, or she couldn t love Valek, a man who kills for a living, and must do it without letting remorse weigh him down.Poison Study was a book that I thoroughly enjoyed Like many unexpected favorites, it snuck in there on me But when I finished this book, I had a big smile on my face. It s a dirty way to fight, but I m late for lunch Initial Final Page Thoughts.I think I m broken why didn t I love this one High Points.The premise Poisons The setting The baddies The magic Valek Close combat Acrobatics Fire festivals Valek without his shirt on Ari Janco Maren Tree climbing Chocolate Delicious food Kick ass ladies Secret Valek without his shirt in a pile of hay Low Points.The narration I know Yelena is supposed to be educated but I found it difficult to believe she would casually throw words like mucilaginous into conversation I don t know The found the dialogue jarring and inconsistent One minute we d be all britches and monarchy and then the next we d be in funks Yelena we re not in AFP waters, not at all But well meh see heroine Bad haircuts Come on there s only so much my imagination can handle Black, shoulder length ringlets A shaved head except the fringe NOOOOO Heroine.Oh Yelena, what am I going to do with you I m not sure what it was because on paper you are brilliant You have a past and you don t go on and on about it You can hold your own in a world run by men You show restraint by not immediately disrobing when Valek glides into the room You have a strong stomach You can do acrobatics You get your Katniss on while you re scrambling around in trees.But I just didn t connect I m sorry I wanted to be best friends and I thought we would be Maybe it s just me.And even though I know it didn t work out between us, I want you to know that I care about your well being Which is why I m suggesting you should go and get yourself checked out because, to my knowledge, girls should not buzz like a bumble bee Love Interest.Now we re talking Valek Mmmmhmmm A cheeky haircut and you would be perfect Strong and silent and artistic oh and yeah, an assassin It s like Ms Snyder read my diary or something I was tempted to place you in a Hero section, Valek, but I stopped myself because at the moment you are still in the love interest zone I would like to have hadinteractions between you and Yelena, because there was definitelyroom for swooning Yeah, you had some moments flutterbies aww but other than that I was kind of underwhelmed.Baddies.I m pretty sure the baddies in this were sponsored by Hamlet And would definitely be placed in Slytherin if they attended Hogwarts They already have the uniform.Theme Tune.I always find it difficult to find songs for historical fiction because they never seem to fit with the subject matter.EXCEPT THIS ONE.Poison by The Prodigy.What If you disagree imagine it sung by an artist such as Agnes Obel or Laura Marling If you agree rave on, my dears, rave on like it s 1995 As I am doing right now Sadness Scale.5 10 There were some sections that were extremely harrowing and I loved how Snyder dealt with these with subtlety because it really left a lasting impression, especially concerning Yelena s past Sorry for the vagueness spoilers n all Recommended For.People who love historical fantasy fiction People who would quite happily munch chocolate all day even if there was a risk of dying an agonising death People who wish Laura Marling would cover every Prodigy song You can read this review and lots of other stuff on my blog here. I loved this book I loved the heroine stubborn, tenacious, determined I loved the world that Snyder created I loved loved loved the main love interest, Valek Dark, stoic assassin Check Me swooning throughout the whole book because I have a thing for assassins Check Yeah, I know I need to have my head examined But, the relationship between Yelena and Valek was only part of this wonderful story The detail put into the poisons was facinating The entire world was facinating I literally picked this book up and did not put it down until that evening when I finished it I m going to get the next books, Magic Study and Fire Study, as soon as possible Bravo to Maria Snyder for this wonderful novel. Poison Study is easily one of the best young adult books I have read this year So far, the genre has become increasingly disappointing to me and I was beginning to lose faith in novels marketed at older teens What I really don t understand, though, is why Snyder decided to make Poison Study a young adult book In my opinion, even though it was good, the book could have been even better if she d allowed for Yelena Valek smut and instead marketed the book to aadult audience It s not even as if the subject matter was child friendly, torture and rape loving villains aren t exactly what comes to mind when you re writing for a young audience It could have been sexier, grittier and just all round better as an adult novel.As a welcome addition the fantasy genre, I was also surprised at how much I enjoyed the story Fantasy tends to conjure up unwelcome memories of Tolkien and Pratchett, not to mention the elves, goblins and dwarves that often feature in the genre Never did it for me, I m afraid The only fantasy books that have ever really impressed me are those by J.K Rowling and Paul Stewart, and they werefocused on characters at least resembling humans for the most part, as was Poison Study.I have to say that I loved Valek as a character and was pleasantly surprised to see how well the romance between him and Yelena worked It didn t even remotely occur to me at first that he would be the love interest of the novel because he was seemingly selfish, violent and cruel And also coldly devoid of any redeeming emotion The way that turned around, through the humour that came out in him as the novel progressed to the multiple times he risked himself to help Yelena and yet still didn t make her come across as the damsel in distress , was told really well The rest of the novel aside, he himself is one of the best parts of any book I ve read lately.What I didn t much care for was the drawn out plot with the Criollo , it seemed to take too long to get around to something that wasn t particularly interesting but don t get me wrong, plenty of other stuff is going on with Yelena overcoming her past trauma and the blooming attraction between her and Valek so that the story never really drags This is usually the part where I say So I will definitely be reading the next book in the series , but I actually think I m going to leave Magic Study and Fire Study after acquiring advice from Tatiana s review and, strangely, a small lilac haired old woman at the library EDIT Tatiana has informed me that it wasn t Snyder s idea but her publishers my apologies, Snyder I am torn on reviewing this book On one hand it had the potential to be the best fantasy novel I have ever read The world was intriguing, the characters endearing, the plot fascinating Beyond that, the author managed to explore fascinating themes of mortality, right of choice, overcoming psychological demons, and tests of loyalty I kept willing the writing to be better than it was I would really love to see this author mature and develop her skill into something really worthwhile, because her story is definitely unique Unfortunately her writing is elementary and ofttimes very awkward. Poisoned, pursued and living with a psychopath Not what I would consider the good life Death has its perksHaving Throne of Glass vibes since reading page 1 up to page 18, I knew I would enjoy this book quite a lot Even though this was written long before ToG, I knew it would be a little similar since the beginning it started off like in ToG Yelena was in chains and she was taken to the General, where she was also made an offer as to being the food taster for the Commander of Ixia or being killed Make a choice.Yelena was a different heroine than others that I ve read about She started off weak and like a stumble person, but she faced her challenges and tried to not get in the way of other peoples lives, taking care of her business and trying to make sure she needs to accomplish what she needs to finish She turned out to be someone not knowing how to be a poison taster into becoming a badass woman, still learning from her mistakes and being trained and actually accepting them She was being trained as a food taster but also training in general as in physical She was someone who didn t just want to be able to defend herself from not dying by tasting something but at least also from not dying by being killed or stabbed by someone She wanted to know physical training and wanted to learn how to fight Somehow, she kept both trainings balanced and was able to keep her mind on both.Janco and Ari are definitely friendship goals I wish I had friends like them They were respectful, caring, positive and were able to teach Yelena the basics of fighting and how to handle it They showed sighs of respect since the beginning and didn t show any kind of hatred towards Yelena even though she embarrassed them a little They were shown to care about themselves but also about Yelena and were there to help her in any way that she needed it As to one of our favorites, Valek Everyone is literally in love with Valek He s a man in his 30 s that is completely loyal to the Commander and never fails to disappoint him He sure didn t disappoint me as well He showed care as well to Yelena and got frustrated at times but gave her patience and had patience with himself as well He showed Yelena the different kinds of poisons and how to be the taster and how everything s done, only ending up falling in love with her as she did with him He was honestly in the perfect age and perfect rank to become the captain of the guard or the most trusted man by the Commander, being an adult and knowing what he is doing The different thing about this book is how we really find out about Valek, his past and his swoon worthy appearance towards the end I was actually glad of that In most YA novels, we find out about the characters apperance and past in the beginning, not really finding out anything about the present since it s not really taken as an interest any But Valek is different and he expresses his feelings and emotions towards the end Or I guesstowards the middle, but everything is actually different It s told in ways it isn t told in other novels Maria did not disappoint with this one and I d like to thank her one day for blessing me with ValekYelena, you ve driven me crazy You ve caused me considerable trouble and I ve contemplated ending your life twice since I ve known you Valek s warm breath in my ear sent a shiver down my spine But you ve slipped under my skin, invaded my blood and seized my heart That soundslike a poison than a person, was all I could say His confession had both shocked and thrilled me Exactly, Valek replied You have poisoned meAs to talking about the plot, everything was honestly written perfectly and beautifully The beginning, the middle, the ending Everything made sense and came to and end where it s kind of a cliff hanger but it s not at the same time I had heard so much about this one and I don t blame my friends for giving out such great and positive reviews about this one, only ending up devouring the next books and talking about their love and feels about it I m excited to start Magic Study and then Fire Study, moving on to the Glass Series and then Soulfinders series I m excited to see how Valek and Yelena s relationship takes a step forward, I m excited to find out how Yelena becomes a stronger yet lovable heroine, and I m excited to see what else Maria has hidden out there in those other booksThank you Ashley for recommending me this series (EBOOK) ⚶ Poison Study ⚢ Choose A Quick Death Or Slow PoisonAbout To Be Executed For Murder, Yelena Is Offered An Extraordinary Reprieve She Ll Eat The Best Meals, Have Rooms In The Palace And Risk Assassination By Anyone Trying To Kill The Commander Of IxiaAnd 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 PoisonAs Yelena Tries To Escape Her New Dilemma, Disasters Keep Mounting Rebels Plot To Seize Ixia And Yelena Develops Magical Powers She Can T Control Her Life Is Threatened Again And Choices Must Be Made But This Time The Outcomes Aren T So Clear This was just as good the second time