Poison Study – By Maria V. Snyder


Goodreads Synopsis: 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…

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I had forgotten this book was on my TBR, and I am so glad I found it again!

Poison Study is a near perfect read, it has a sympathetic main character, a unique world and good plot twists.  Personally I wasn’t a fan of the romance, hence why I say nearly perfect, but I’ll get back to that later.

We are introduced to our main character, Yelena, while she’s in prison waiting to be hung for murder.  Valek, the chief of security offers her a reprieve, but only if she agrees to be come the food taster for the Commander.  She agrees and begins her new life. I really liked Yelena’s character. She’s smart, funny, and doesn’t have a hero complex. Unlike a lot of Fantasy heroes she isn’t set up as a chosen one, she’s simply a girl doing her best to survive.

Valek was an interesting character as well. I mistakenly thought he was much older for the first bit of the book, which honestly would have been more interesting. But as it was he was still well written.  He’s very smart and duty driven, and for most of the book didn’t let himself be distracted by anything else.  Like I said earlier, there is a romance subplot between Yelena and Valek. I honestly didn’t care for them as a couple, and didn’t think it added much to the story. But that’s just my personal preference. I also hate the scenes of women not being in their ”right mind” and wanting sex and then the man being all “chivalrous” and telling the woman the moment isn’t right. Like maybe having a sex drive isn’t a bad thing. Maybe letting a woman blow off some steam after some stressful times isn’t a bad thing either. That’s just me.

The world of the Poison Study is really well written. It was an interesting mix of fantasy and a sort of steampunk. Or at least that’s how it felt to me.  I liked the way the magic worked, and the magical candy was a very interesting subplot.

All in all I enjoyed this book, I read it in two days and I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book.  I gave it 4.5 stars on Goodreads.


  1. I’ve heard so many beautiful things about this series — thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, friend! It’s an incredibly fascinating premise & I’m so glad you enjoyed it (despite the… questionable sex scenes? Honestly, can we please get rid of the idea that the man must always be Chivalrous & Play The Martyr for a romance to be valid???).

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