Poison Study: Backlisted book review

Publication Date: October 1st, 2005
Publisher: Luna Books
Series: Study #1
Format: Kindle e-book
Source: Amazon

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...

Wow! I can't believe I had never heard of this series until this year. As sad as I am to have just now discovered it, I am also glad because it means I don't have to wait for a new book in the series. 

Yelena might just be my new favorite heroine in a Fantasy series. She has been through hell and back but she is still strong. She is also fiercely underestimated. Everyone initially mistakes her for a weak, fragile young woman who will break at any second, but she is so much more than that. Yelena definitely proved herself time and time again. 

Her dilemma with either dying by hanging or dying by ingesting poisoned food was really interesting. If it had been me, obviously I would have picked becoming a food taster so that I would have a chance to live longer, even if it meant dying because of a nasty poison. 

I really loved the cast of characters. Yelena was obviously my favorite, but after her the "Power twins" were a great addition. Valek was one of those that seem tough on the surface but deep down, he's quite lovable. I appreciated him being hard on Yelena because her job was not easy or to be taken lightly. The other side characters also added their own tension to the story, but I won't mention it because it could give too much away. I will say that the Commander's twist was very interesting and unexpected. I am eager to learn more about his character as I continue the series. 

I LOVED the romance, or lack thereof. It was such a slow burn that many times I found myself mentally saying,"Just kiss her already!" It was obvious that Yelena and her love interest had plenty of sexual tension but Snyder wrote it slow. 

I have to mention things I didn't really like about the book. For one, the world building was severely lacking and confusing. I skimmed over the long details about Ixia because there was a ton of info dumping and it got boring. A shortened, easy version would have been nice. Stronger world building and more informative information in a smaller dose would have solved that issue. 

Also, Yelena is taken in for murder but NOBODY goes to investigate why she might have done it. They ask her why and all she says is that she killed him. After that, nobody cares why she did it only that she admitted to it. To me, that was a little messed up. It was obvious that it was self defense. Why else would a woman of her size that had been in the care of Brazell and his son suddenly just kill someone one day? Ugh. 

I was also disappointed with the lack of poisoned meals. One would think that a book about a food taster would have at least one assassination plot in it. But, that's a minor complaint. 

The plot twists were also mostly predictable. I knew who was betraying the group from very early on but it still did not make anything less enjoyable. I have read enough YA to know that those usually closest to you are the ones you cannot trust. 

The ending of Poison Study was satisfying because it did not end on an annoying cliffhanger. It easily sets up for the next book so that readers do not have to wonder what the heck will happen. 

If the series continues to be great, this could be another favorite! I am really glad I got this on a Kindle Deal. 


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