Thursday, August 1, 2013

Poison Study - Maria V. Snyder

Poison Study - Maria V. Snyder
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study #1
Publisher: Mira
Publication Date: August 15, 2012
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library || e-book

About 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 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 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. (from Goodreads)

I really liked Poison Study. But after reading a couple of fantasy novels back to back, it was the unfortunate victim of “same genre syndrome” and failed to impress me. It’s a solid fantasy, as it possesses a kick-ass heroine, a swoony love interest, some corrupt officials and underhanded politics and, of course, magic. But it not only took time for me to get invested in this story, I finished it feeling a lack of connection to the characters. The bright points of this novel – dealing with poisons, Yelena, her new friends, Valek – did manage to keep a hold on my attention until the end. So, even though it wasn’t a five star read for me, it was pretty darn good.

Yelena is a well-written character. I say that because she’s very complex, which is always interesting to read about. She’s still very young, and still possesses some semblance of her idealism and innocence. It’s surprising to come across moments where we see her as soft, vulnerable, gentle. But she’s also hardened against the world after the suffering and consequential torment that she’s had to endure. This is where her strength, grit, determination and need to survive come into play and readers get to see that she’s a warrior. I certainly admired many of the traits that she possesses, particularly her duress under great strain. 

Yelena is great, but she’s not my favorite character in this novel. That honor is bestowed upon Valek, who is the chief of security for the commander. Initially, he seems hard, tough and completely unfeeling. But gradually, in bits and pieces, Yelena (and subsequently, the readers) realizes that there’s more to him. He’s good at what he does, and takes his position very seriously. He’s also extremely crafty and intelligent. But more than that, Valek has a surprising amount of compassion and gentleness. AND above all that, he has a creative soul. He’s obviously very much my type, so it’s no surprise that I really enjoyed his every appearance in this book.

Snyder definitely added her own spin on common fantasy plots with this story. The most fascinating parts of this book were Yelena’s history before she committed that major crime that landed her in the dungeon and the crazy corruption that threatens to bring down the entire chain of command in Ixia. While I was able to guess at most of the twists, it was still a highly enjoyable book. There were equal amounts of danger and romance, and the combination was positively intoxicating. The first half dragged the teensiest bit for me, but the latter half definitely picked up and had me eagerly flipping the pages.

Poison Study is thoughtful, well-done and interesting. It’s also got a main character that will appeal to readers, and a love interest that may cause some swoons. While it didn’t quite leave a lasting impression on me, I did enjoy it and would gladly recommend it to other readers.

More info here!

19 comments:

  1. I loved Valek and I think this is a great series. I'm sorry it's suffering from same genre symptom for you :/ Hopefully you'll like the rest too if you decide to continue :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have heard alot about this series, yet haven't picked it up soon! I really dislike when I read too much of the same genre all in a row, because after a few books, even a good book can suffer because of the same genre syndrome. Anyways though, the characters sound pretty complex, especially Valek! Even though you were able to guess a lot of the plot twists, the plot does seem interesting.

    Lovely review, Alexa! <3

    ReplyDelete
  3. Poison Study sounds really good! Both Valek and Yelena sound like great characters and I love fantasy. (Sorry that you were going through a case of same-genre syndrome when you read it.)

    Sara at The Page Sage

    ReplyDelete
  4. This book has been siting on my TBR shelf for ever. I have always heard really good things about it but have never got round to picking it up. Will have to get round to it soon.

    Jo from http://alittlereadingtherapy.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
  5. Awww, I'm sad you didn't love it! I read this back in 2008 or 2009 I think and absolutely fell in love with Snyder's writing!
    And Valek is very much my type as well ;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I read Poison Study awhile back,(I think when it first came out)and remember really enjoying the storyline, and I especially enjoyed Yelena's and Valek's characters. Glad you enjoyed the book- and sorry you “same genre syndrome” with it. Thanks for sharing! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've been meaning to read Poison Study for ages now, but I haven't gotten to it. This looks like a high fantasy novel, and they usually aren't my favorite. But I have heard mostly great things about it.

    I know that feeling though, where you've read too many books in the same genre and it affects how much you enjoy a book.

    ReplyDelete
  8. VALEK! He's just awesome. I really liked this book, but perhaps that's because it was my first fantasy since a long time. It really surprised me and I loved the poison factor :D

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm sorry that you didn't love this book as much as I did when I initially read it years ago. I will admit: I can see where this book would fail to impress a person after numerous other fantasy books. Valek was fantastic and I loved him too!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh I loved this book soo much when I read it! And of course ya gotta love Valek. Yeah...oh Valek you wonderful thing you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I know exactly what you mean about "same genre syndrome." That's the main reason why I ever branch out from fantasies every once in a while. I hate it when books bleed together or just don't seem as unique or interesting simply because I've just read a ton like them. I'm sorry that this book managed to fall into that rut for you! Regardless of that, it sounds as though you found a lot worth enjoying. I really loved Poison Study and thought it is a unique offering in the YA fantasy genre - I can't say the same for its sequels, unfortunately.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh, another book on my shelf. I seriously need to read this one soon bc I've heard great things about it. I'll def tackle this after a few more contemps so I get overloaded w/fantasy, lol. Thanks for the tip! Great review!

    Vi
    Confessions of a Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island

    ReplyDelete
  13. I really liked this one! When it comes to the series, this one definitely stands out for me. I think it was the strong female main character that I liked the best -- and it was just a very cool premise!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I really enjoyed this one when reading it, but I totally understand how reading a bunch of books in the same genre can get monotonous and affect your reading experience of certain books. I fell in love with Poison Study for many reasons, but I especially loved Yelena's characterization throughout the book, learning new things about her and seeing her react to certain situations. Great review! :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oooh yeah I really liked this one, but I see what you mean about how it doesn't totally stand out. Still...POISON! I love that in books.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Funny how I read this review now because I have been thinking lately about how so many different factors affect how I experience a book - particularly timing. I wonder what I would think now of books I once read and loved (or alternatively, read and didn't love). I've even considered doing some re-reads for the first time ever because of this. I adored this book, but I read it early and before I really immersed myself in YA, or became more critical. I'm not saying I wouldn't still love it, but I totally get what you are saying about this one not standing out to you because a lot of the same. At least that frees up some competition for Valek ;)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Man I adore this book so I'm bummed it didn't quite work for you but at least you swooned for Valek-isn't he fab? The only thing is sometimes I think I like Kerrick from her latest series more but I waffle on that.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I totally get that sometimes a book can be good but maybe you just read it at the wrong time so now it's not AS good as you thought. But this one really does sound awesome! I haven't read any of Snyder's books but there are a few that are high on my TBR list! I'll have to check this one out ASAP! :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I actually really liked this book and then was completely disappointed in the next two books. This is one of those series that I wished hadn't been a series, which is rare for me. I wanted to love the characters more - get to know them better, etc. - but I just more disconnected from the story. The story went from something that was interesting to something that was way too complicated and confusing. I'll be really interested in your thoughts if you keep going with these!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...