Posion Study Cover

Poison Study Review

By: Lauren Hake

“That sounds more like a poison than a person….”

—Maria V. Snyder

First of all, I would like to state how honored I am to be guest reviewer on A New Look on Books. For my inaugural post I have decided to review one of my favorite books, Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. Though this book was published in 2005, the author has recently returned to the world that she first gifted us with in Shadow Study. Since you cannot start reading book four without having read the first book, I thought I would introduce you to the first book in the Study Series.

When I first read Poison Study, I was in middle school, and even then I was an avid reader. It takes a lot for a book to really capture my soul and imagination, but Snyder accomplished it with Yelena’s story. Full of adventure, romance, and intrigue, it has something for every demographic.

Starting out in the dungeons of Military District 6, Yelena has been sentenced to death for the murder of Reyad. To her surprise, she is given a second chance at life by Valek, the head of Ixia’s intelligence network (and a major heartthrob in my opinion). Seizing upon any chance for life, Yelena accepts the position as the Commander of Ixia’s food taster, who tastes the Commander’s food for poisons. The training is dangerous though, for as Valek states, “How can you identify poisons in the Commander’s food if you don’t know what they taste like?”

As Yelena concentrates on surviving, she has to deal not only with the assassin, Valek, but also the General Brazell’s revenge (the father of the man she killed) and a mysterious band of southerners from Sitia who could be friend or foe. Along the way she learns a lot about herself and her ‘survival instincts’, meeting quite the cast of characters. Ari and Janco are the sort of friends that we all would love to have, and by far the funniest characters in the story. Master assassin, and loyal to a fault, Valek is also an interesting character, as you try to figure out Yelena’s feelings for him, and his feelings towards her, while they walk the line between a professional and personal relationship.

Full of wit and humor, along with darkness and action, Maria V. Snyder weaves a wonderful tapestry that sucks you in from page one to 400. Full of twists and turns, I can basically guarantee that you will be kept guessing and at the edge of your seat. By the end of the book you will be begging for more, but never worry, the Study series currently has four books, and a spin off trilogy, that will keep you busy until the next book comes out.

Check out what the critiques are saying –

“This impressive first novel weaves together adventure and suspense in a compelling fantasy.” –Locus, a 2005 recommended reading selection.

“A compelling look at a woman caught in an impossible situation, living each day on the edge of dying.” –Library Journal

Poison Study is both a riveting romance and a spellbinding fantasy.” — B&N Explorations

“Maria Snyder has created an engaging and entirely original new fantasy, fascinating in its rich detail.” — New York Times bestselling author Mercedes Lackey, author of The Fairy Godmother and the Valdemar series