Saturday, March 7, 2015

Saturday Pages: Poison Study by Maria V Snyder!!!

I'm working this weekend, but at least I'm doing so with very awesome co-workers, and today we've decided to have lunch together before work!

As the first Saturday Pages entry of the week, I have the first book of a series that has been sitting in my Kindle library for probably over 2 years and that I wish I had read before! But better later than never, I guess! And it is exactly what I needed with my fantasy reading binge!

Poison Study (Study, #1)Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another series I had postponed reading and that I should have started long ago! Truth be told I am now in a fantasy reading binge since the end of last year, so it really was the right time for me to start this series.

In Poison Study we meet Yelena in prison, awaiting the day her death sentence will be executed, but she gets a rather unusual offer made to her instead. She'll learn to be the food taster of the Commander and if she wants to stay alive she'll have to stay put to get the antidote to the first venom she was given to identify. Valek will be her teacher, the one that will have her life on his hands and he's the Commander Advisor (and occasionally assassin).

Yelena is a very interesting character. She is not an innocent wrongly jailed, because she did kill a man, but the more we get to know her, the more we agree with her reasons for it. Ixia's law doesn't have any room for self defence, and killing someone is pusnished by death. She finds a way to save her life and grabs it with both hands, and she needs to be extremely strong to get through her training, the palace gossip and intrigues, the family of the man she killed since his father is a General of Ixia and dealing with Valek and his power over her life and death.

The world building in this book is phenomenal! We are given so much detail here and there about the society of Ixia, its goverment, leader and the most recent history. The Commander is a most interesting character, that seems both a reformer and a dictator and that you end up feeling a bit torn about whether to support him or dislike him. And we even get some really interesting revelations about it that truly surprised me. Unexpected & really well done diversity right there!

As fantasy it does have the middle ages/medieval feel to it, but Ixia is actually rather modernized after the take over by the Commander. There was a revolution and now there's a strong point on equality, from opportunities, to uniforms, to the equal application of the law to everyone. But there's also the choking control of movement for the citizens and probably a growing bureocracy to take care of it. I'm sure I'm not the only one reminded of a communist dictatorship.

The main characters were fantastic and I loved every interaction between Valek and Yelena! From rebelling against the man that has her life in his hands, to becoming teacher and apprentice, to becoming friends and allies and eventually... well, more! There's so much to them both and their pasts that what we see at first and we discover very much about them both together and apart.

Yelena is a great character, there's so much about her we don't know, that she even doesn't know! Raised as an orphan for charity and then suffering horribly, she has plenty of scars to heal. And she does that not only by making friends, trying to stay alive, but also trying to learn how to defend herself. She starts training with two soldiers and they become the brothers she never had. Ari and Janco added a support line for Yelena completely platonic and helped her get stronger and better, and they do have some wonderful humour added to the story, the banter between them and with Yelena was simply fantastic!

You might be wondering is there's any magic in this book, and yes there is, but magic is forbidden in Ixia, so that's an added complication! The plot is weaved between Yelena's survival and a threat to the government and the Commander himself and it's done in a very intricate way, one that we wouldn't have imagined at first!

The romance was quite unusual but I don't want to talk about why much, in case I end up spoiling something, but let's say I'm very happy to see how both of them can still attend to their duty and what they feel like they need to do, even if that means putting their relationship second for some time and not mean that they love each other any less!

Very much deserving of 4 to 4.5 stars and fantastic first book in a fantasy series that I'd recommend to any fantasy lover!

View all my reviews


  1. YAY you read Poison Study!! I read this a few years ago so my memory's a little vague but I really loved Yelena and Valek~ They're such a great pair! Hope you'll love the rest of the series. I have yet to read the spinoff but maybe we can buddy read if you're interested :D Beautiful review!

    1. YESSS!! I'm so happy I finally got to read it! Such great fantasy! And I'd love to buddy read the spin-off with you!!
      Thank you, Eileen!

  2. I definitely want to give this series - and all of this author's books - a try one day. I LOVEEE fantasy (as you know), and this author has been on my radar for quite some. So glad that you enjoyed this one, Pili!

    Awesome review!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. I highly recommend this, so much as to put it on your Pili Pushed list!! Check to see if the books might be on offer on the Kindle!

  3. Wow, a super intriguing plot. It does sound like something I would love, but again the reading time factor. Are all the books for this series out? Thanks for the review. Btw, I think I am going to start power reading The Sin Eater's Daughter later tonight. I hope you had a fun and delicious lunch! :)

    1. Thank you La, we did! =D I love my co-workers!! =D

      And yes, it was a trilogy but now the author has started another spin-off series but I think with the same characters! I have the ARC of Shadow Study and I hope I'll get to read it soon!

  4. Awesome review Pili. <3 I'm so glad you enjoyed this book. I have heard a lot about it. And I have owned the three books for many years now, hah :D ONE DAY I shall read it too. <3 And yay for reading more fantasy books ;) They are the best. Thank you for sharing your thoughts sweetie. <3

    1. I think you ought to start this series sweetie, because I feel like you'd love it to bits! *hugs*


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