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Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Poison Study (original 2005; edition 2008)

by Maria V. Snyder

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3,5912591,471 (4.1)2 / 225
Title:Poison Study
Authors:Maria V. Snyder
Info:Mira (2008), Edition: Original, Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:2012, Fantasy, YA, magic, ebook

Work details

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (Author) (2005)

  1. 140
    Graceling by Kristin Cashore (espertus)
    espertus: Both stories of strong but vulnerable young women struggling both for survival and to reconcile with their consciences what they've had to do to survive.
  2. 133
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (stephxsu, MyriadBooks)
    stephxsu: Similarly intelligent, courageous, and resourceful heroines struggling against a fully realized world. Excellent stuff!
  3. 60
    Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce (cecilypk)
    cecilypk: both have strong female leads with budding romance and great plots
  4. 40
    Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith (AmethystFaerie)
  5. 40
    The Decoy Princess by Dawn Cook (infiniteletters, CrochetDancer)
  6. 40
    The Magicians' Guild by Trudi Canavan (litaddictedbrit, lottpoet)
    litaddictedbrit: Similarly strong female lead and great magic twists
  7. 41
    Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier (FutureMrsJoshGroban)
  8. 30
    Archangel by Sharon Shinn (crazybatcow)
  9. 30
    Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn (aboulomania)
  10. 30
    Circle of Magic Quartet by Tamora Pierce (terriko)
  11. 30
    Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder (RoxieF)
  12. 42
    Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (joyfulgirl)
  13. 20
    A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer (infiniteletters)
  14. 20
    Sandry's Book by Tamora Pierce (terriko)
    terriko: Poison study reminded me of the whole Circle of Magic series, and the Circle Opens one.
  15. 21
    The Well of Shades by Juliet Marillier (Jen7waters)
    Jen7waters: Valek reminds me of Faolan.
  16. 10
    Angel-Seeker by Sharon Shinn (crazybatcow)
    crazybatcow: Very similar romantic fantasy themes. Mature but not graphic.
  17. 10
    The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey (infiniteletters)
  18. 10
    The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (FFortuna)
    FFortuna: Poison Study is more graphic.
  19. 00
    The Drowning City by Amanda Downum (ligature)
  20. 22
    A Discovery of Witches: A Novel by Deborah Harkness (mamaie)
    mamaie: I read A Discovery of Witches right after Poison Study; A Discovery of witches is more graphic.

(see all 24 recommendations)


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English (255)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (260)
Showing 1-5 of 255 (next | show all)
Too high a yuck factor for me.  I don't care if it is fantasy; child abuse is still something I will not read about.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
Poison Study
4 Stars

Sentenced to execution for murder, Yelena is granted a reprieve when she is offered a position as the Commander’s food taster. The book chronicles Yelena’s training in identifying poisons, her developing relationship with master assassin and security chief, Valek, and her discovery of a far-reaching conspiracy aimed at undermining the Commander’s rule and subjecting the people of Ixia to a sadistic and manipulative tyrant.

It should be noted that despite its classification as Young Adult by numerous readers, Poison Study contains adult themes and situations including death, rape, torture, and sex although none of these is described in graphic or vivid detail.

The book has all the right elements: Intrigue and danger, loyalty and betrayal, romance and magic. The world building is detailed and compelling, and the characterization is engaging with a strong and resourceful heroine and an intense and stoic hero.

Nevertheless, the writing style is somewhat simplistic and erratic at times, and the plot is quite predictable. Moreover, there are one or two facets that I found problematic but other readers might not such as the flowery descriptions of Valek and Yelena’s sexual encounters and the inclusion of a ghost, which is completely unnecessary and irrelevant both to the plot and Yelena’s characterization.

All in all, this is a fast-paced and entertaining read and I look forward to reading more about Yelena in the next book. ( )
  Lauren2013 | Jun 1, 2016 |
This was great! Yelena is a strong, feisty heroine who overcomes her past to save the day. But she does't do it single-handedly and the minor characters are fully developed and wonderfully realised. An action-packed read with an ambiguous but satisfying ending. ( )
  mmacd3814 | May 30, 2016 |
I picked this one up based on all the glowing reviews I saw here on Goodreads. Thanks, Goodreads friends! ;-)

This is a purely enjoyable fantasy. I'd classify it as a 'comfort read,' but I don't think that's a bad thing at all. There's room set aside for escapism in my library!

Yelena has been sentenced to die for the crime of murder. At the last minute, she is dragged out of the dungeon and offered a reprieve: she can opt to avoid execution if she agrees to take the job of food taster to the king. In this chaotic kingdom, the post tends to have a high turnover rate as poisonings are quite common. Still, even a small chance at life seems better than no life at all, and Yelena (unsurprisingly) jumps at the opportunity.

The chief of security, Valek, takes her under his wing as he trains her to recognize the known poisons and identify them. But while he seems kind at times, he also has Yelena chained to his service by the threat of a slow-acting poison. Although she begins to grow comfortable and even to enjoy her new life, she is increasingly driven by the growing realization that she may be capable of magic - a magic that is strictly forbidden in this kingdom. This magic may also be related to Yelena's traumatic past - and the murder that she admits that she committed.

I've already got the sequel, and am about to start it! ( )
2 vote AltheaAnn | May 3, 2016 |
Maybe it's just me but I didn't really like this book. So those of you who did like it I'll advice you not to read this review. For those of you who want to know why I didnt really like this review :
Yelena is a young woman when she kills the son of a General and is scheduled for execution.
After almost a year in the dungeon she is summoned, only to be given an option. Either she could become the Commander's new food taster or she'll hang.
The General still wants her dead and while she's trying to avoid inevitable death, someone is plotting against the Commander. Gaining friends and skill, Yelena's life is getting more complicated by the hour. Will she survive the nightmares that haunt her?

"This may work out better than I'd planned. Yelena, I'm offering you a choice. You can either be executed, or you can be Commander Ambrose's new food taster. His last taster died recently, and we need to fill the position."

After killing the son of her old benefactor, Yelena is awaiting the moment she'll be executed. However her future is altered when someone close to the Commander, Valek, offers her another path; to be the new food taster of the Commander. Yelena is not foolish enough to let this pass and so she accepts the position, knowing that every day might be her last. Not only is she in danger of dying by tasting the possible poisoned food for the Commander, she's also poisoned so that she needs an antidote every morning, or else she'll die.
With escape being out of the question, Yelena sets to learning everything about every possible poison, Valek even lets her taste some particular poisons before she's appointed official food taster.
However this does not change the feeling of pure hatred of General Brazell, who still wants her death because she murdered his son. He keeps haunting her in every way he can and he even sends a magician after her. And the nasty housekeeper Margg is not being a great help either by acting so hostile towards Yelena. With death on her heels, Yelena needs all the help she can find and so, slowly, she makes friends and gains skill to defend herself. But will that be enough to keep her alive? To prevent her from being murdered even now?
Next to her own troubles, she's something else to deal with. When it becomes obvious that something is wrong with the Commander, she has to put everything she has to protect him and the future of her country.
But the ghost haunting her doesn't make her life any easier either. She needs to believe in herself and she has to keep herself together, otherwise it would definitely be the end of her life.

This was how I felt trying to read this book.
I wanted to like it, I really did and I really tried. But after a while, some things start to get old real quick. This book in the nutshell:
1. Everyone wants Yelena dead for one reason or another.
2. When things tend to go towards ok, something comes along to make it horrible again.
3. The last few years were hard and she is a really scarred person. Yes, that's something that gets very obvious after about... O I don't know... 500 times.
Let me explain why I was feeling like hitting someone while reading this.
Firstly there is a problem I encounter more often but one that doesn't always bother me as much as it did now: the first person way of writing. This time it really got to me because all she was thinking of, or at least so it seemed to me, was how hard her life had been and still was and how she wanted to escape but that it wasn't possible because she would die. Also instead of giving some information about, O I don't know, the surroundings or the castle or the way things were living in that country/kingdom, the only pieces of information you get are: the castle is not symmetrical and build in something that looks like building blocks, the country is divided into military districts, there is an enemy country on the southern border and there is some sort of hierarchy consisting of the commander, generals, advisers, soldiers, normal people/servants and magicians.
Another thing that bothered me was that Snyder could have done so much more with the history of that country and the border conflict! But all she did was tell a little about the point of the takeover when the Commander came to seize power and killed the old King. Now, I know that while reading this you'll only know what Yelena knows but at some point she gets to a library and the place where she's staying has a lot of books as well so why isn't there a moment of a little history? Or some sort environmental/orientation part in this story? That would make everything so much more alive! Instead all we know in the end is: There are trees/forests , the castle looks like it's been built by a three year old, the only animals in this country are probably dogs, rats, snow cats and sometimes there is an owl. Oh and there are five seasons instead of four. Nothing to go on really. There's even some point where Yelena finds a map and copies it into her diary, but information about the layout of the castle? Nope.
Now you may wonder: Was there anything you did like in this book? Anything at all?! Well... yes... there were some things that I could appreciate in this story. Snyder did depict how things are like when one power falls and another takes its place. I appreciate that because not in every Young Adult book this is obvious. Snyder did a good job in mentioning that the inside of the castle changed after the Commander took his residence there, she also mentioned the disappearance of some supplies when the borders closed between the two countries and also she did a good job in depicting the change in how the country was ruled.

So I fear that this is it. This is the conclusion of my review about Poison Study. I didn't like it much. There was too much missing for me to really enjoy this book and there were too many things that annoyed me from the very start. It's really hard to say but I'll give this book two starts because I don't know if I can handle this...
( )
  Mybookfile | Mar 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 255 (next | show all)
Shivers, obsession, sleepless nights—these are the results not of one of the milder poisons that novice food-taster Yelena must learn during her harrowing job training but of newcomer Snyder's riveting fantasy that unites the intelligent political focus of George R.R. Martin with a subtle yet potent romance. Through a stroke of luck, Yelena escapes execution in exchange for tasting the food of the Commander, ruler of Ixia. Though confined to a dank prison cell and doomed to a painful death, Yelena slowly blooms again, caught up in castle politics. But some people are too impatient to wait for poison to finish off Yelena. With the help of Valek, her steely-nerved, cool-eyed boss and the Commander's head of security, she soon discovers that she has a starring role to play in Ixia's future—a role that could lead to her being put to death as a budding magician even if she hits each cue perfectly. The first in a series, this is one of those rare books that will keep readers dreaming long after they've read it.

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Snyder, Maria V.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Zackman, GabraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Ze zaten vrolijk met je te praten terwijl ze je vergif toedienden. - Kathy Brandt, een goede vriendin die de strijd verloor, ondanks chemotherapie
To my husband, Rodney, for all the support he has given, is giving and will give. I'm spoiled rotten.

In loving memory of Frances Snyder, Jeanette and Joseph Scirrotto.

"They would talk to you and make jokes while they were feeding you poison."--Kathy Brandt on chemotherapy; a good friend who lost the battle
First words
Locked in darkness that surrounded me like a coffin, I had nothing to distract me from my memories.
"But you’ve slipped under my skin, invaded my blood and seized my heart.” “That sounds more like a poison than a person,” was all I could say. His confession had both shocked and thrilled me. “Exactly,” Valek replied. “You have poisoned me."
"What have I earned from you, Valek? Loyalty? Respect? Trust?" "You have my attention. But give me what I want, and you can have everything."
"Yelena, you've driven me crazy. You've caused me considerable trouble and I've contemplated ending your life twice since I've known you...but you slipped under my skin, invaded my blood and seized my heart."
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Book description
About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered a 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 dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and she develops magical powers she can't control. Her life’s at stake again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear!
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0778327116, Paperback)

Locked in a coffin-like darkness, there is nothing to distract me from my memories of killing Reyad. He deserved to die—but according to the law, so do I. Here in Ixia, the punishment for murder is death. And now I wait for the hangman's noose.

But the same law that condemns me may also save me. Ixia's food taster—chosen to ensure that the Commander's food is not poisoned—has died. And by law, the next prisoner who is scheduled to be executed—me—must be offered the position.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:07 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Yelena, about to be executed, is offered the job of food taster to the Commander of Ixia, but politics and magic keep threatening her life.

(summary from another edition)

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