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Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder Audiobook {4.5 Stars}

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 Audiobook {4.5 Stars}

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Narrated by Gabra Zackman
(Study #1)
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...

4.5 Stars


  • 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!

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya


 Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. I don’t think I’ve read any of Snyder’s work yet, but this does sound interesting. Food tester with a bit of poison and magic thrown in? I’d be willing to give it a try if my library has it. Great review! :)
    Kel @ Booked til Tuesday recently posted…Updates: Operation TotepackMy Profile

  2. Yaaaaay! :D So glad to hear you enjoyed Poison Study. And yes, Magic Study does dive deeper into Ixia and Sitia’s magic system, with Fire Study and Shadow Study going even further. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on the later books – once you get to them, of course. ;)

  3. Well, considering all the excellent reviews I’ve read for this one (now including yours!) and the fact that I’ve owned a copy for years now, I’m sitting here wondering WHAT THE HELL IS THE HOLDUP on my end?! I MUST read this, like yesterday. I love books dealing with poisons (does that sound weird?) and I’m ALL FOR diversity in books as well as unique aspects like food tasters! The slow burn romance at this point truly is the icing on the cake and I love that it managed to surprise you in terms of where good and evil is concerned. YAY!
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…ARC Review: The Wrath & The DawnMy Profile

    • Hehe that’s how I was feeling until I got the audiobook, so hard to fit in the older books!

      Not at all weird to think poison is cool, it so is :D

  4. I read this rather than reading it, but I really enjoyed it too! I also liked the slow burn romance and felt like it was enjoyable without taking over the entire story. The complex world building was pretty great too :)
    Katie @ Doing Dewey recently posted…Dewey’s Read-a-thon ProgressMy Profile

  5. Dragana says:

    I loved Healer series by Maria V. Snyder and I am looking forward to reading this series. Hopefully soon. It’s nice to hear a great book waits for me. :)
    Dragana recently posted…Book Review: Dragons Are People, Too by Sarah NicolasMy Profile

  6. ANYA! I just finished reading this as well! I had no idea you had picked this one up. I feel really horrible that it took me this long to read it.

    The concept with this story was fascinating, and the execution was beautifully tackled. I really loved the logic of the world building, and the poisons was just AWESOME!

    I think the biggest struggle I faced was I didn’t like the romance, and some of the emotions was missing. When a major character dies and there is about 100 words spent on the grief, it really bothers me.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Nest N’ News: April Wrap UpMy Profile

    • Haha, book twins! Are you planning on jumping into the second?

      Oh yeah, if the romance didn’t work for you, that would definitely make the book less fun, sorry to hear that :(

  7. I LOVE THIS SERIES SO MUCH! So won’t bore you with my endless fangirling haha. I’m so glad you liked it and that the narration didn’t ruin it for you (like it has with some of my other favourite books).

  8. Wow, I really don’t think I’ve seen a fantasy focused around a food taster before… I’m curious to know more about this novel, especially because it’s from a series I’ve never heard of! Awesome! :)

  9. I first read this a few years ago then reread it earlier this year right before the new Study book released, and I loved it just as much, from the novelty of Yelena’s role as food taster to the wonderfully built-up romance. :)
    Lee @ Rally the Readers recently posted…April 2015 RecapMy Profile

  10. I really enjoyed this series but her Glass series which stems from this one was hard to get into :/… Glad you liked it! I heard at one point we might be getting another in the Study series…
    Steph recently posted…Interview w/ Shebly Morrison Author of From the AshesMy Profile

    • Good to know! I have the first book of the Glass series (found it used ages ago!) and it looks like cool magic so I’m intrigued, hehe.


  1. […] also takes reader recommendations; I was one of a few fans who put a bug or two in her ear about Maria V. Snyder’s Poison Study, so I was thrilled when she checked it out and loved […]

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