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Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Poison Study (original 2005; edition 2008)

by Maria V. Snyder

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,7102631,410 (4.11)2 / 231
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 (The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Book 1) 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 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 (259)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All (1)  All (264)
Showing 1-5 of 259 (next | show all)
My publisher, Stephanie Smith, recommended this to me and finally it's out on Kindle. Diving in!

I really enjoyed this book. The characters are rich and deep and the dynamics engaging. There are dark places in Mary Snyder's world that makes the kindnesses and compassion in the people shine all the brighter. Our protagonist is very engaging, resourceful, resilient . . . a true hero in her ability to face dire events and come out, not unscathed, but on top! ( )
  KimFalconer | Jan 29, 2017 |
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 | Nov 19, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this book. It's been a while since I've read the first book in a series and been dying to get onto book 2 - with Poison Study that's exactly how it went.

I loved all the characters in this book. Yelena is a strong heroine - the perfect main character. This book is also written in first person, which sometimes comes off as a bit awkward for me as a reader but really worked here.

The secondary characters are all well developed and intriguing in of themselves. While Yelena is definitely the focus of the book, the other characters are equally as believable and important to the tale.

The pacing in the book is also great. The plotline grabbed my attention from page one and I had to keep going and see where Snyder went with the tale. I love stories like this.

Reminiscent of Graceling for me, I highly recommend Poison Study! ( )
  cathishaw | Oct 27, 2016 |
This was a great book, I read it for the Young Adult book club month, I actually was a month behind. I am so glad that I picked it up.

The book is about a girl living the life of a criminal who has the choice between being executed and testing food for poisons. The book chronicles her time in the Commanders palace and her adventures in studying poisons, tasting them, and actually making more enemies than friends. Yelena is challenges with not only her new job but also the facet that she has a mysterious background and identity. Through finding out more about herself she also finds that she cares for the man in charge of her poison studies and their unspoken affection for one another is captivating.

Yelena is such a well formed character and her point of view in the book only makes it better. This was a great story and from here I look forward to reading the rest of the series. ( )
  sszkutak | Sep 28, 2016 |
OK... So I can't lie when I say that I really loved this book. Mostly. The world was a very different one, insofar that it was a sort of... Medieval Socialistic Fantasy? Something like that anyway. Very interesting elements. The court politics were fun to watch unravel, as was the different take on how magic works in this world. I liked that Yelena wasn't a total pushover but wasn't a "feisty heroine" either. She was a person struggling with some major drama in her past, all while being on the brink of death every day due to her "job". There was one particular plot device introduced near the beginning that I saw through, but the rest of the time I couldn't figure out what was going to happen next, which is always pleasant.

The thing I didn't get however, was the "romance". It took me forever to even figure out that there was supposed to be one, and then I was just confused for the rest of the book with regards to that plotline. Valek was so freaking one-dimensional. We barely learn anything about him, and most of that is at the end when there still seems to be some confusion over how much exactly they know about each other (so, how can there be trust when you don't know the other person, let alone love???). The rest of the time, he is just her boss and acts like it, hence my confusion. The confession of love, when it does come at the end, was absolutely out of left field. I actually had to set the book down and come back to it after I had a moment to digest it. Did I miss something? Like... a lot of somethings? Because, while I appreciate a slow romantic buildup throughout a book... There wasn't even that. Or at least, not to my eyes. If anything, it felt like Yelena had Stockholm-syndrome. I have no idea what excuse I can give Valek. Mostly, it felt heavy handed of the author.

Otherwise though, LOVED this story and plan on reading the other two books. I would start them right now (that's how much I want to continue this world) but I like to space out my series installments, so it'll be a few weeks at least.

Addendum - Just had a thought that is leading me to making this 4 stars, not 5... I realized that I liked this book in spite of the characters. Meaning... Yelena was hard to get a grasp on and I never felt like I knew much about Valek on a personal level. This mostly has to do with the writing style, I believe. This is not a flowery book. The prose is pretty sparse and takes you where you need to go but no further. The plot, the world, the details that were fleshed out... These were what made the story for me, not the two mains. Not saying that Yelena wasn't sympathetic or that I didn't understand her baggage... I did. I connected with her on a certain level, but it was a level so shallow that sometimes she take an action or say something that left me surprised, thinking that it felt out of character. Valek, as I've said before, I just never felt like I knew. The few details given about him mean nothing compared to how he treats Yelena. They always seem to be co-workers (if you can even call them that considering his hold over Yelenas life), nothing more. Even when he seems upset about her possible defection to Star, when Yelena cannot figure out what has gotten him into such a pissy mood for a week , I took it as anger due to having to train another taster, not any real partiality on his part. Like I said, took me a while to realize there was a romance going on, and it was mostly clues from Yelenas attraction to Valek that tipped me off, not the other way around. Grr... ( )
  GoldenDarter | Sep 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 259 (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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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
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)

» see all 6 descriptions

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