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Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
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Poison Study (original 2005; edition 2008)

by Maria V. Snyder

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,2242321,720 (4.12)1 / 220
Member:HunyBadger
Title:Poison Study
Authors:Maria V. Snyder
Info:Mira (2008), Edition: Original, Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:2012, Fantasy, YA, magic, ebook

Work details

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (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
    The Magicians' Guild by Trudi Canavan (litaddictedbrit, lottpoet)
    litaddictedbrit: Similarly strong female lead and great magic twists
  5. 40
    Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith (AmethystFaerie)
  6. 40
    The Decoy Princess by Dawn Cook (infiniteletters, CrochetDancer)
  7. 30
    Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn (aboulomania)
  8. 52
    Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (joyfulgirl)
  9. 30
    Archangel by Sharon Shinn (crazybatcow)
  10. 30
    Circle of Magic Quartet by Tamora Pierce (terriko)
  11. 30
    Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder (RoxieF)
  12. 41
    Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier (FutureMrsJoshGroban)
  13. 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.
  14. 20
    A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer (infiniteletters)
  15. 21
    The Well of Shades by Juliet Marillier (Jen7waters)
    Jen7waters: Valek reminds me of Faolan.
  16. 21
    A Discovery of Witches: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness (mamaie)
    mamaie: I read A Discovery of Witches right after Poison Study; A Discovery of witches is more graphic.
  17. 10
    Angel-Seeker by Sharon Shinn (crazybatcow)
    crazybatcow: Very similar romantic fantasy themes. Mature but not graphic.
  18. 10
    The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (FFortuna)
    FFortuna: Poison Study is more graphic.
  19. 10
    The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey (infiniteletters)
  20. 00
    Scent of Magic by Andre Norton (infiniteletters)

(see all 23 recommendations)

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English (229)  French (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (233)
Showing 1-5 of 229 (next | show all)
Saw everything coming, hardly original. ( )
  Xleptodactylous | Apr 7, 2015 |
I solemnly swear that I will try my hardest not to gush over this book like a rabid fan girl, but I have to say that I loved this book. Poison Study was a unique read and the characters and world Snyder builds up in this are absolutely amazing.

After rooming with the rats in the dungeons for a year, Yelena’s execution date has finally arrived. And she’s escorted upstairs to be read her last rights and have a chance to confess her sins before execution. Only the man she’s taken to offers her a choice, she can either swing in the breeze or become the food taster for the Commander of Ixia. -who is pretty much like the king of the kingdom.- Yelena’s not an idiot and knows that either way she’s choosing death, the only difference is how and when she’s going to die. Fast and now, by a noose or slowly and who knows when by poison. After a bit of consideration Yelena decides that with the poison at least she might have a chance of escaping.

Yelena’s lessons on poisons start immediately and this job is anything but easy. She not only has to deal with the fact that some assassin may try to slip the Commander poisoned food and end up poisoning her, but also that Valek, her teacher and the Commander’s right hand man, is known to test the food tasters by slipping them poisons every once in a while as well. Her plans of escaping have pretty much been squashed too, because Valek slipped a little insurance into her drink and now she has to get an antidote from him every morning or die a slow and painful death. And things just keep on getting better and better for Yelena, because the owner of the orphanage is pissed that she isn’t being executed for killing his son. So his cronies are running around the castle trying to kill her and there’s a rat in the servants quarter who is feeding her enemies information. There’s also the fact that something strange is happening to the Commander and she’s starting to develop a bit of a crush on Valek. Which shouldn’t be happening since the guy is likely to kill her if he ever gets even the slightest notion that she’s not working out as food taster.

I loved the world Snyder is building here. You get the sense that this place is kind of medieval, but then they have some modern conveniences as well. There’s a feud going on between the south and north countries that is really interesting as well. When Ixia was taken over by the Commander he banished all magic people and they went to the south. Now anyone who’s born with magic in Ixia is executed unless they can make it to the south before anyone reports them to the authorities. This is another problem Yelena faces when her magic powers start to emerge.

Yelena is probably one of the most tortured heroines I’ve read about in a long time and I absolutely loved her character. She had crappy life before she was imprisoned and things just keep getting more awful for her every day, but she handles everything that’s thrown at her really well. She knows how to think things through and instead of being broken by all that has happened to her, it’s only managed to make her stronger. She’s someone who can make it on her own and is smart enough and resourceful enough to survive pretty much anything.

Valek was another great character even though I think I made his character sound a bit darker than he is in the book. Throughout the story you’re a little leery of him and his motives because you can tell he’d do anything to keep the Commander safe and he isn’t exactly Mr. Trusting when it comes to other people. Both Valek and Yelena are really layered characters and I loved watching their relationship grow and watching their interactions together. And the minor characters in the story are great. The Commander was surprisingly a really interesting character and I would’ve liked to have seen more of him.

When I finished this book I was a little annoyed that it kind of ended on a cliff hanger. It wasn’t a huge one or anything. All the problems that were introduced in the story at the beginning were resolved and I felt content the story ended for the time being. Snyder just introduced a few small problems at the end in hopes of leaving us wanting more and kind of giving us a taste of what's going to happen in the next book. And it worked. I highly recommend this book to anyone who's listening. ( )
  Book_Minx | Jan 24, 2015 |
Trigger warning for rape and abuse.

Maybe I was expecting to much? I’d heard a lot of good things about Poison Study, but it wasn’t anything more than okay. It was certainly very readable. I stuck with and got through it pretty fast, and the pacing stayed fairly consistent. In general, it was very easy to read.

From the back blurb: “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.”

I liked Yelena okay. While I didn’t adore her or anything, she was interesting to read about and I emphasized with her well. I liked her drive to survive.

The idea behind the world building was really interesting. The country used to be a monarchy until about fifteen years ago when the Commander led a revolution that killed the king. Now, the Commander is the supreme authority and the country is divided into districts, each headed by a military general. Strict laws called the Code of Behavior govern the citizens, and no exception is ever made.

Unfortunately, the world’s development was never more than cursory. There was no sense of place, and the world came off as rather bland, despite the interesting set up. Yelena herself never thinks much about the Code of Behavior, the government system, or anything. Basically, this felt like a fantasy version of a mediocre YA dystopian.

The focus of the book was on Yelena’s character. There was a plot outside that, but it was never enthralling. In fact, it was rather ludicrous.

This being a YA novel there is of course, romance. I didn’t like this one. Yelena’s nineteen, but she ends up with a man significantly older than her… like, he has to be over thirty. I just find this creepy, especially given their initial relationship. Besides, the relationship didn’t seem to fit with the rest of his character and just ended up feeling forced.

Lastly, the trigger warning. While this stuff is not described graphically, it’s there as flashbacks. The plot involves the villains torturing teenage girls (and some boys too, but more girls) to break their minds. Yelena was one of these girls. One of the men doing this was a psychopath/possible serial killer who eventually rapes her. It’s pretty dark, especially for a young adult book.

I would recommend this one to fans of young adult dystopians looking to try out a fantasy book. I won’t be hanging onto my copy, and I am unlikely to read the sequel either.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | Jan 13, 2015 |
2.5 ( )
  Gorthalon | Dec 7, 2014 |
I can't even tell you how many times I have read this book. There is a strong hero and heroines, wonderful plot, twists and turns, also the promise of something more. I read this one upon hearing the news there will be a 4th book (this is the 1st) and I just couldn't wait to dive back into this realm and characters. This is one of my all time favorite fantasy series. ( )
  mojo09226 | Nov 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 229 (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
Maria V. Snyderprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Snyder, Maria V.main authorall 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
Dedication
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.
Quotations
"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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Wikipedia in English (1)

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:15 -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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