Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder is just as delightful a read as everyone promised it would be! I listened to Poison Study on audiobook and highly recommend it if you have been wanting to try an audio fantasy. I found myself making excuses to listen to more, including doing more cleaning :D. Yelena’s predicament and resulting adventure were refreshingly unique for this long time fantasy reader and I’m excited to see more of this magic in subsequent books!
Note: I listened to an audio version of Poison Study. This very much influences my reading experience.
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Narrated by Gabra Zackman
Published by Harlequin MIRA on March 1st, 2007
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 416 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison...
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...
- The narration for Poison Study is really darn excellent. I found her voice fit Yelena’s personality well, inflections added depth to the dialogue, and even the male characters sounded pretty convincing!
- I don’t think I’ve ever read a fantasy focused on a food taster before. The poisons described in Poison Study were convincing but original and I found myself kind of wishing they were real poisons so I was learning something about the real world instead of an imaginary one ;-). Just enough time was spent describing how to actually taste for poisons that I was intrigued without getting bored.
- I knew going into Poison Study that there was going to be a romance, but it was delightfully slow burn and if I didn’t already know who the romantic lead would be, I might not have seen it coming ;-). I was quite enamored with the relationship when it finally solidified *swoons*.
- I was really surprised to encounter a transsexual character! I won’t give away who though, ha.
- Beyond just tasting for poisons, there is also magic and scary magicians in Poison Study. I really liked how the magic was described and I’m looking forward to finding out a lot more about it later in the series.
- Poison Study is set in a military dictatorship that I expected to be very black and white in terms of dictator bad and evil, etc. However, I found the dynamics much more complex and interesting, and it really made me reconsider my assumptions about various characters. I love it when a book makes me think when I’m not expecting it :D.
- While I liked the presence of the trans person, I did not like how the pronouns were handled. I get that they were to try to differentiate this character looking like one sex or the other, but I’m a firm believer that a person should be called by the pronouns that they pick for themselves.
- The narration was quite enjoyable, as I said above, but there were times when I couldn’t quite tell one character from another because the narrator’s voice acting was inconsistent.
Poison Study is a YA fantasy very much worth going back to read and listening to it on audio is a great way to go. I can very much see why the Study series is so loved and I’m excited to continue it!
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
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