Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Poison Study (Yelena Zaltana Book 1) by Maria V. Snyder

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Mira Books; Young adult edition (22 Dec 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848451164
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848451162
  • Choose:
    A quick death
    Or slow poison...

    Yelena has a choice – be executed for murder, or become food taster to the Commander of Ixia. She leaps at the chance for survival, but her relief may be short-lived.

    Life in the palace is full of hazards and secrets. Wily and smart, Yelena must learn to identify poisons before they kill her, recognise whom she can trust and how to spy on those she can’t. And who is the mysterious Southern sorceress who can reach into her head?

    When Yelena realises she has extraordinary powers of her own, she faces a whole new problem, for using magic in Ixia is punishable by death...
  • Cover:  I love the purple cover, as well as all of the relevant images incorporated- the poison bottles, the castle, the bow that Yelena learns to fight with and a girl that matches Yelena's description really well.
I first read a Maria V. Snyder book back in January.  I read A Touch of Power, and I fell in love with it.  Not even a third of the way through I knew I had to get all her other books - which I've done bar one.
When my best friend bought me the Yelena Zaltana Trilogy for my birthday I was over the moon!  She is so awesome!
Anyway...that was back in March and I've been putting off starting them because I wanted to save them.  But I decided I couldn't resist anymore. 
I was worried I'd created the bench mark for this book so high after reading A Touch Of Power and that I'd be disappointed.  My worries were unfounded. 
I enjoyed Poison Study just as much, giving it 5/5 stars. 
I loved the premise of this book - Yelena is given the choice of a quick execution or the chance to become the Commander's food taster, having to learn how to identify a series of poisons and having to face the possibility of death.  Immediately I wanted to know what had made her kill a man, what drove this character who actually came across as genuine and nice to murder, knowing she'd face death as punishment.
A lot is going on in this book, and even more is set up for the next books!
There''s mystery, danger, action and intrigue.  People want Yelena dead...who can she trust?  You really feel for Yelena, she wants a friend after everything she has endured but betrayal seems constant and inevitable.
However, she does develop s friendship with Ari and Janco.  Two soldiers that become steadfast and loyal friends, even going so far as to help teach her self defence.  They were two funny, light hearted characters that gave this book some light relief that was needed.
There is a romance but it's definitely slow building, no insta-love here.  While I think this book needed some form of romance to lighten it up a bit and give it another dimension, I don't know if I 100% bought into their romance.  Would you fall for a guy that's poisoned you?
Valek for most of the book is too cold and distant, I don't fesl that I really got to know him as a character very well, and his love for Yelena seemingly comes out of nowhere.  On the rare occasions he jokes and smiles we see a different side to him and I liked him more, but I didn't feel there was enough of that kind of interaction between them.  I look forward to seeing his character develop in the next two books.
I definitely recommend Poison Study for fantasy fans!  I loved the world building, characterisation and the overall feel of the book.  If you're a reluctant fantasy reader I would still say give this one a try.


  1. oooh, ive never heard of this book but it sounds awesome! Off to goodreads to add it to my TBR list!

    1. This one is definitely worth checking out :)