- File Size: 1089 KB
- Print Length: 431 pages
- Publisher: MIRA Ink; 1 edition (February 1, 2013)
- Publication Date: February 1, 2013
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00B7LTDY0
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #545,517 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Poison Study (The Chronicles of Ixia, Book 1) (The Chronicles Of Ixia Series) Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
An Amazon Book with Buzz: "The Patient" by Jasper DeWitt
"The Patient is a fascinating and frightening read that comes at you like the monster under your bed." - Reed Farrel Coleman Learn more
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Locked in darkness that surrounded me like a coffin, I had nothing to distract me from my memories. Vivid recollections waited to ambush me whenever my mind wandered.
Encompassed by the blackness, I remembered white-hot flames stabbing at my face. Though my hands had been tied to a post that dug sharply into my back, I had recoiled from the onslaught. The fire had pulled away just before blistering my skin, but my eyebrows and eyelashes had long since been singed off.
"Put the flames out!" a man's rough voice had ordered. I blew at the blaze through cracked lips. Dried by fire and fear, the moisture in my mouth had gone and my teeth radiated heat as if they had been baked in an oven.
"Idiot," he cursed. "Not with your mouth. Use your mind. Put the flames out with your mind."
Closing my eyes, I attempted to focus my thoughts on making the inferno disappear. I was willing to do anything, no matter how irrational, to persuade the man to stop.
"Try harder." Once again the heat swung near my face, the bright light blinding me in spite of my closed eyelids.
"Set her hair on fire," a different voice instructed. He sounded younger and more eager than the other man.
"That should encourage her. Here, Father, let me."
My body jerked with intense fear as I recognized the voice. I twisted to loosen the bonds that held me as my thoughts scattered into a mindless buzzing. A droning noise had echoed from my throat and grew louder until it had pervaded the room and quenched the flames.
The loud metallic clank of the lock startled me from my nightmarish memory. A wedge of pale yellow light sliced the darkness, then traveled along the stone wall as the heavy cell door opened. Caught in the lantern's glow, my eyes were seared by the brightness. I squeezed them shut as I cowered in the corner.
"Move it, rat, or we'll get the whip!" Two dungeon guards attached a chain to the metal collar on my neck and hauled me to my feet. I stumbled forward, pain blazing around my throat. As I stood on trembling legs, the guards efficiently chained my hands behind me and manacled my feet.
I averted my eyes from the flickering light as they led me down the main corridor of the dungeon. Thick rancid air puffed in my face. My bare feet shuffled through puddles of unidentifiable muck.
Ignoring the calls and moans of the other prisoners, the guards never missed a step, but my heart lurched with every word.
"Ho, ho, ho...someone's gonna swing."
"Snap! Crack! Then your last meal slides down your legs!"
"One less rat to feed."
"Take me! Take me! I wanna die too!"
We stopped. Through squinted eyes I saw a staircase. In an effort to get my foot onto the first step, I tripped over the chains and fell. The guards dragged me up. The rough edges of the stone steps dug into my skin, peeling away exposed flesh on my arms and legs. After being pulled through two sets of thick metal doors, I was dumped onto the floor. Sunlight stabbed between my eyes. I shut them tight as tears spilled down my cheeks. It was the first time that I had seen daylight in seasons.
This is it, I thought, starting to panic. But the knowledge that my execution would end my miserable existence in the dungeon calmed me.
Yanked to my feet again, I followed the guards blindly. My body itched from insect bites and from sleeping on dirty straw. I stunk of rat. Given only a small ration of water, I didn't waste it on baths.
Once my eyes adjusted to the light, I looked around. The walls were bare, without the fabled gold sconces and elaborate tapestries I had been told once decorated the castle's main hallways. The cold stone floor was worn smooth in the middle. We were probably traveling along the hidden corridors used solely by the servants and guards. As we passed two open windows, I glanced out with a hunger that no food could satisfy.
The bright emerald of the grass made my eyes ache. Trees wore cloaks of leaves. Flowers laced the footpaths and overflowed from barrels. The fresh breeze smelled like an expensive perfume, and I breathed deeply. After the acidic smells of excrement and body odor, the taste of the air was like drinking a fine wine. Warmth caressed my skin. A soothing touch compared to the constantly damp and chilly dungeon.
I guessed it was the beginning of the hot season, which meant that I had been locked in the cell for five seasons, one season shy of a full year. It seemed an excessively long time for someone scheduled for execution.
Winded from the effort of marching with my feet chained, I was led into a spacious office. Maps of the Territory of Ixia and the lands beyond covered the walls. Piles of books on the floor made walking a straight line difficult. Candles in various stages of use littered the room, singe marks evident on several papers that had gotten too close to the candle's flame. A large wooden table, strewn with documents and ringed by half a dozen chairs, occupied the center of the room. At the back of the office a man sat at a desk. Behind him a square window gaped open, permitting a breeze to blow through his shoulder-length hair.
I shuddered, causing the chains to clatter. From the whispered conversations between prison cells, I had determined that condemned prisoners were taken to an official to confess their crimes before being hanged.
Wearing black pants and a black shirt with two red diamonds stitched on the collar, the man at the desk wore the uniform of an adviser to the Commander. His pallid face held no expression. As his sapphire-blue eyes scanned me, they widened in surprise.
Suddenly conscious of my appearance, I glanced down at my tattered red prison gown and dirty bare feet roughened with yellow calluses. Dirt-streaked skin showed through the rips in the thin fabric. My long black hair hung in greasy clumps. Sweat-soaked, I swayed under the weight of the chains.
"A woman? The next prisoner to be executed is a woman?" His voice was icy. My body trembled on hearing the word executed aloud. The calm I'd established earlier fled me. I would have sunk sobbing to the floor if the guards weren't with me. The guards tormented anyone who showed any weakness.
The man tugged at the black ringlets of his hair. "I should have taken the time to reread your dossier." He shooed the guards away. "You're dismissed."
When they were gone, he motioned me to the chair in front of his desk. The chains clanged as I perched on the edge.
He opened a folder on his desk and scanned the pages. "Yelena, today may be your lucky day," he said.
I swallowed a sarcastic reply. An important lesson I had mastered during my dungeon stay was never to talk back. I bowed my head instead, avoiding eye contact.
The man was quiet for a while. "Well-behaved and respectful. You're starting to look like a good candidate."
Despite the clutter of the room, the desk was neat. In addition to my folder and some writing implements, the only other items on the desk were two small, black statues glittering with streaks of silver—a set of panthers carved to lifelike perfection.
"You've been tried and found guilty of murdering General Brazell's only son, Reyad." He paused, stroking his temple with his fingers. "That explains why Brazell's here this week, and why he has been unusually interested in the execution schedule." The man spoke more to himself than to me.
Upon hearing Brazell's name, fear coiled in my stomach. I steadied myself with a reminder that I was soon to be out of his reach forever.
The Territory of Ixia's military had come to power only a generation ago, but the rule had produced strict laws called the Code of Behavior. During peacetime—most of the time, strangely enough for the military—proper conduct didn't allow the taking of a human life. If someone committed murder, the punishment was execution. Self-preservation or an accidental death were not considered acceptable excuses. Once found guilty, the murderer was sent to the Commander's dungeon to await a public hanging.
"I suppose you're going to protest the conviction. Say you were framed or you killed out of self-defense." He leaned back in his chair, waiting with a weary patience.
"No, sir," I whispered, all I could manage from unused vocal cords. "I killed him."
The man in black straightened in his chair, shooting me a hard look. Then he laughed aloud. "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."
I gaped at him, my heart dancing. He had to be joking. He was probably amusing himself. Great way to get a laugh. Watch hope and joy shine on the prisoner's face, then smash it by sending the accused to the noose.
I played along. "A fool would refuse the job." My voice rasped louder this time.
"Well, it's a lifetime position. The training can be lethal. After all, how can you identify poisons in the Commander's food if you don't know what they taste like?" He tidied the papers in the folder.
"You'll get a room in the castle to sleep, but most of the day you'll be with the Commander. No days off. No husband or children. Some prisoners have chosen execution instead. At least then they know exactly when they're going to die, rather than guessing if it's going to come with the next bite." He clicked his teeth together, a feral grin on his face.
He was serious. My whole body shook. A chance to live! Service to the Commander was better than the dungeon and infinitely better than the noose. Questions raced through my mind: I'm a convicted killer, how can they trust me? What would prevent me from killing the Commander or escaping?
"Who tastes the Commander's food now?" I asked instead, afraid if I asked the other questions he'd realize his mistake and send me to the gallows.
"I do. So I'm anxious to find a replacement. Also the Code of Behavior states that someone whose life is forfeit must be offered the job."
No longer able to sit still, I stood and paced around the room, dragging my chains with me. The maps on the walls showed strategic military positions. Book titles dealt with security and spying techniques. The condition and amount of candles suggested someone who worked late into the night.
I looked back at the man in the adviser's uniform. He had to be Valek, the Commander's personal security chief and leader of the vast intelligence network for the Territory of Ixia.
"What shall I tell the executioner?" Valek asked.
"I am not a fool."--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Overall, I'd say it's a solid book and an enjoyable read. There were things I really liked about it and things that really bothered me as I read it. I doubt anyone would pick up this book and be mad they read it, unless darker and heavier subject matter doesn't sit well with you, in which case I would not recommend. Snyder does not shy away from some really intense subject matter that includes such triggers as torture, murder, rape, and mind control. Generally speaking, I think she deals with these issues as well as could be expected in a short, relatively fast-paced book.
The story itself is really interesting, with a unique plot, an interesting world, and characters that are not necessarily very complex but are also certainly interesting and generally not cliche. The scope of the story does not leave room for all characters to be explored and developed, but where developing happens it was done well.
The biggest plus for this story is the way it deals with a transgender character, who is never identified as such given the setting of the story, but who, nonetheless, was born female and lives as a male. The author (and characters who discover the truth about the transgender character) handle this very well, always using the correct pronouns (he/him) even after the discovery and even, impressively, choose not to make a big deal out of it, but rather accept wholeheartedly that some people are just born in the wrong bodies. It was an interesting and wonderfully handled plot point that I applaud Snyder for.
The not so good:
The romance in this book was, at least at first, expertly handled as far as YA novels go. The build up of the attraction between the couple was slow and subtle, but obvious enough that the readers were aware that a relationship might be possible. However, once the book started towards its climax, this story line shifted into the far-too cliche, uninteresting world that most YA novels get stuck in where the main character needs to be told by other characters that her love interest has an obvious "thing" for her and then, at the least oppurtune moment when it barely makes sense for the plot and actually takes away from the action, the relationship begins and shifts from, "I have feelings for you" to sex to declarations of love in exctly two pages, which felt rushed and forced and was extremely disapppointing given how well the initial build up was orchestrated.
The dialogue also left far too much to be desired in this novel, with all characters speaking in generally the same manner, using the same vocabulary, and saying the same sorts of things, no matter their walk of life or purpose. Too much of the plot was delivered through dialogue, as almost every explanation about anything important came from a conversation and usually in a way that didn't make sense. Characters in this story were WAY too willing to answer the "why" with a super long and involved and way too real explanation that, more often than not, just felt forced and wrong. Why would a stranger tell someone they just met absolutely everything important that they know? It didn't work for me, and the preveleance of this kind of dialogue made it really hard to distinguish personalities among the more minor characters who don't get a lot of development. Anything unique about them was attached to them by the narrator, who had to add on personality descriptors to every chracter since the author failed to give them distincit personalities by their speech or actions.
Again, overall, an enjoyable read, but one that was certainly flawed and does not stand out to me as a particularly well-written piece. I will probably read the sequels, but I'm not dying to, which is always a sign to me than an author hasn't quite delivered.
Each of these questions draws the reader in and keeps the reader engaged. Each answer is incomplete and deepens the mystery. It's a great read.
Then, suddenly, in the last few chapters the book, the author answers everything - neatly, conveniently, and unexcitingly. Major spoilers: the MC confesses everything to her mentor. He believes and accepts everything without qualm. The foreign magicians go from possible assassins to friends and helpers. The purpose of the candy is disclosed. The former overseer is brought to justice. Some friends are injured but they all heal. The ruler rewards the MC for her loyalty. The MC and her mentor declare their love for each other. The end. It's like a YA book. (Or like the author realized that she couldn't complete this book in the required length without hurrying things along.)
It's quite disappointing and ruined any interest I had in the sequel.
The first thing I noticed was there wasn't a map included. While I realize that's not necessarily a sign of a weak world building, it did make it hard for me to picture how these military districts and other lands were set up. Instead of a visual map, the descriptions of the world were awkwardly forced into the text which slowed or stopped the story in order to provide these details. Throughout the book, there was some evidence of creativity and thought, but then there were also things like a place named "Castletown" or military districts which were identified as "MD" with a number. I really struggled to immerse myself in this world and story as I had a hard time figuring how everything was supposed to look. Despite all of the descriptions given, I couldn't picture the people or locations. I think this was largely a result of the muddled combination of a traditional medieval fantasy world (castles, swords, etc.) and a modern setting (leotards, sequins, etc.). I suppose it's possible to blend these two into something more cohesive, but here it didn't work and just felt messy.
The characters were okay, but many came across as one-dimensional and I never felt a strong emotional connection with any of them. I really struggled to care about these characters and their story from the start and the further I read, the more I realized that my lack of connection wasn't improving. There was far too much telling and not even showing. At the end, I did come to appreciate Yelena and Valek and their relationship. To me, the way they supported each other and demonstrated respect was such a highlight of the book. I also liked how their relationship developed gradually and how they didn't give up their own personal goals simply to remain together.
All complaints aside, I will admit that there was some improvement during the last 25% which increased my interest in the story. Overall it wasn't bad, it just wasn't for me. While reading "Poison Study", I was frequently reminded of "Air Awakens" (which I also didn't care for). However, if you like that book/series, you may end up enjoying this one.
Top international reviews
First of all, Yelena is a great heroine. She isn't over powered, she isn't weak. She's been through a lot but Maria Snyder doesn't take every second line as an opportunity to remind us of this. Yelena is shaped by her past but she is very invested in forging ahead with her future as well. Her interactions with other characters felt real and consistent with her own characterisations. She was intensely likeable, without always being "good". Based on her alone this would have been given a high rating. Add in a romance which absolutely had me on the floor with the steady, subtle building that Valek and Yelena had and, Snyder, you had me at "food taster".
I also really, really liked the fact that the plot was important. This book had substance, with an over arching story of spying, deception and power grabbing throughout. Much is it is linked to Yelena herself, giving her good reason to be involved in big events which would usually be far outside of a simple food taster's realm of interest. Similarly I liked that the magical elements were woven skillfully into this. Yelena's discovery of her powers, as well as her uncovering of the good and bad around her not always being what they seem, created growth in the character as well as richness in the world.
Any supporting characters that Yelena interacted with for any significant length of time were all graduated with their own qualities and backstories. I loved the power pairing and Maren and the bad guys were sufficiently loathsome for me to detest. In fact the loathsomeness of them brings up my only small complaint; Snyder is very quick to be graphic when it comes to blood and gore, but her romance is much more coy, for want of a better word. There's a kiss here and there, but anything more is floridly described as "souls joining" or something equally ethereal in nature. Compared to the grounded nature of the rest of her writing, it seemed to stick out a little. But it's a small complaint and didn't impact on my enjoyment.
This is a must read - especially I feel for fans of Throne of Glass (I feel like this is better). I'm ploughing straight onto the sequel.
Addictive and action packed book after a slow start. Some plot holes, and awkward moments, there’s romance but it doesn’t take up a lot of the book but at the same time, because of this, there doesn’t really feel like there’s a good build up. There is sexual violence against the main character so if this is a trigger, don’t read it.
After a slow start, it does up the pace, with more action and fighting and interesting plots and turns. Definitely recommend reading this.
Valek in the beginning appears to be cold, cruel and selfish, with no apparent redeeming feature. However as the books progress he becomes a more likeable character. No he is not the perfect boyfriend for the heroine, rather we see his personality and that, while at times he remains a mysterious character he exudes a quiet confidence.
All the characters have been developed so that they have their own background and quirks. For example Janco rhymes when he fights. They is also Ari, Janco’s fighting partner, and co-mentor to Yelena. Janco and Ari’s scenes were always light-hearted and full of banter. It always made me smile when I saw their names on the page.
While there is a romance, it is not overwhelming nor does it feel like the plot is overridden by the love story, instead it stays nicely burning in the background.
The one thing that really bothered me about this book was the extreme violence and use of rape against Yelena, which was written in a causal style, which made me feel very uncomfortable.
Yelena’s story is a journey from being slated to be executed, to being given a second chance (even if there is still a chance of dying) and how to make the most of opportunities given to you and what you can achieve.
Overall this is a light-hearted fantasy (especially if you ignore the violence) that is easy to read and will appeal to a wide number of people.
In this first book we meet Yelena, an orphan, murderer and prisoner who is soon to be executed after almost a year long stay in the Commander of Ixia’s dungeons. But fate is on her side. When she is offered a chance to live in exchange for her lifelong service as the Commanders new food taster (a job with great benefits but a very low mortality rate) she jumps at the opportunity.
… But perhaps death would have been the easier option. Now with potential poison lurking in every meal, and a general determined to see her hanged for her crimes, Yelena must also contend with out of control magical powers that she must keep hidden from the Commanders spy master, Valek, at all costs. But when enemies from her past catch up with her, Yelena find herself a pawn in a much larger game where the future of the whole country rests in her hands. But can she escape death long enough to play her part...?
This a a really gripping read. The characters are amazing with intriguing personalities that range from jovial and warming to cryptic and secretive. Everyone has a hidden agenda and its often hard to know who to trust. Enemies become friends, while friends can turn into enemies, and through the whole book Yelena is constantly met with surprises of both the good and bad varieties.
Yelena is also a great heroine. She’s admits her fears and always tries her best to face them. She has a quick mind and steely determination, but often gets into trouble for her act first, think later attitude. Yet you can’t help but admire the resourcefulness and creativity she puts into overcoming each new obstacle that is thrown at her.
Valek makes for an unusual and unique love interest as his loyalty to the Commander often forces him to act in ways that go against Yelena’s ideals. However they overcome each threat together and I like that despite their uncertain beginnings, Valek and Yelena form a trusting bond in each other.
Ari and Janco however are also rated among my favourite characters. Their hard won loyalty and witty humour add something special to the story while other characters - such as the generals and magicians - aid in thickening the plot and add to Yelena’s already stressful life.
I also love Maria V Snyders use of foreshadowing too. She gives enough hints for the reader to make assumptions about the direction in which the story is heading, but only reveals that actual truth bit by bit through various backstories spread evenly throughout the whole book. All of which add to the stakes in Yelena’s ever increasing dilemmas.
This truly is a fantastic read and ends on a perfect note that makes it easy to slip immediately into the next book - although do look out for the short novella that follows this story, Assassin Study. Overall though Yelena’s story is just too good to put down! Rivetingly deadly, this delicious story is an easy five star read!
UGH I LOVE THIS BOOK!! The world building for Ixia is great. Yelena described the Commander's takeover really well and how the world works now with the different districts. I loved the small trans storyline which I had completely forgotten about, and works so well. Yelena is a great character. She starts off a very abused and nervous woman but with a hidden strength and time and time again she proves to be more than what people expect. She learns to become stronger physically and mentally. I like that Yelena is a 'normal' YA girl at 16 years of age but is a bit more mature at 19. I can definitely identify with her a bit more and she's more mature in her decisions and thought process.
And Valek. BAE!!!! I forgot how dreamy he is. And another age I love. When I read Throne of Glass, something about Chaol reminded me of Valek but with Valek he has his age to make his position in the government more logical. He's able to deal with the things he's suppose to do (unlike someone who was Captain of the Guard but apparently had never killed before?!?) and he's oh so sexy while doing it. Valek is logical, cool and calm. He sees a problem and faces it with intelligence. He doesn't run into things blind. He's not a boy. He's a man.
Ari and Janco. I forgot these adorable two. I loved them so much, I can't believe I forgot about them. Their friendship with Yelena is lovely and so heartwarming! I know they make some appearances in the next two so I can't wait to see them again.
I loved reading this book almost completely blind. I knew I loved the story but i had forgotten so much of the little things, it was great reading them again and rediscovering my love for this series. Poison Study gets 5 stars every time.
Once she begins her new job she has many obstacles to overcome including making friends (being a convicted murderer isn't easy!), dealing with death threats and attempts on her life, and also coming to terms with what happened to her and the other orphans at her old master's house, where she commited the murder. There are plots and mysteries and various threads to the story that kept my attention quite well. I liked Yelena. She was a solid protagonist. I also liked the characters she meets in her new role. I thought there was a decent amount of action, suspense and magic and a nice little romance that didn't swamp the main storyline.
So why havent I given 5 stars? There's nothing wrong with it per say. Like I said, its good. It just didn't blow me away. I've read other high fantasy books with similar storylines which doesn't help. And I actually figured out a huge twist in the story way before the twist was revealed. Although triumphant at being a clever-cloggs, I was also disappointed that this left no 'shock factor' for me.
But... I am definitely going to read the other two books in the series whenever I get my hands on them because I do want to know what happens next!
Much of it I believe to be due to `debut novel syndrome'. Even brilliant authors such as Terry Pratchett suffered from this, and quite often there is just a certain indefinable quality to a book that marks it as someone's debut novel. This isn't a bad thing, it just means that you have to give the author another chance and see how well they've come into their voice. So I'll make this clear quite early on: I liked this book well enough to want to see how the series continues.
The plot of the book is quite light to Fantasy standards. It is written from the 1st person point of view of Yelena, a young woman who has been locked up in the dungeon of Ixia for over a year because she murdered the only son of her benefactor. On the day before her execution she is offered a choice: rather than die she can become the food taster for the Commander, Ixia's highest ruler. She is taught the peculiarities and flavours of the various poisons by Valek, the Commander's chief of security. As Yelena gets used to her new position in life, it becomes clear that there are certain forces who wish to depose the Commander, and she unwittingly becomes involved in this. She also has latent magical talent, something which in Ixia is outlawed and punishable by death, and in all she spends most of her days simply trying to stay alive.
If that sounds exciting it kind of is, but in a bland way. The book is well written, but I did not find the prose as gripping as some other books I've read. Competent but not riveting. I also found the development between Yelena and her love interest to be lacking a certain level of believability. Again, it wasn't that I couldn't believe they were into each other, it's just that there could have been much more to it.
A decent debut effort, and on the whole I'm definitely intrigued enough to see where this will end.
Yelena always accepted her fate following the murder of General Brazell's son who had abused her and ruined her life - no matter what the reason was behind the murder the punishment was always death unless during wartime. Her role as the food-taster to the commander exposes her to the inner workings of the government and the plots to change it, and this political system is far from perfect.
The characters of Yelena and Valek are developed throughout the book and it covers the burgeoning love that is developing between them.
The fight scenes are well-written and the danger to Yelena is always evident - Brazell wants her dead for the murder of his son, however she develops skills of self-defense and has the protection of Valek.
I loved Poison Study and I love following Yelena's development from a demotivated prisoner of the state to a person capable of fighting for herself and the story of her and Valek's growing love.
Yelena is an incredible female protagonist; she's tough, witty and strong minded. I loved everything about her character, especially her emotional strength and how well she deals with the hand she has been dealt. I loved how you don't find out what lead Yelena to murder all at once; you gain snippets of information about her past throughout the book as she tries to allow her mind to process it once more. I can't seem to state enough how much I loved Yelena's character, she is by far one of the most interesting, smart and wonderful characters I've had the privilege to read about.
Valek acts as Yelena's mentor of sorts and is the person who trains her to be the Poison taster. I love Valek; he's a dark, brooding and composed character - he's just my type! From the first moment Yelena meets Valek, I adored him - he's quiet and reserved but loyal and caring underneath all the pretence and I really wish I could have him for myself... I don't know whether it was by chance or just because they seemed drawn together - but a friendship bloomed between the two - and I loved reading the scenes where they were together. I was rooting for the two to get together from the beginning of the book and could barely contain my love for their relationship.
The only issues I had with this book, was the ending. I felt like it was really rushed, like Maria just wanted the book to be over and done with. Throughout the majority of Poison Study, it is incredibly detailed and beautifully written. However, when the book reaches the confrontation and the ending of the book, the details are far and few between and I found this really annoying and I wished it was done differently.
Overall though, I really enjoyed Poison Study - it was a fantastic book, with wonderful characters and a world you can't help but love. I believe it well and truly earned the 4/5 star rating I've given it, and I think it would have been perfect if it hadn't been rushed at the ending. Maria V. Snyder's writing is beautiful, intricate and such a pleasure to read - I highly recommend you to read her books if you haven't yet. I can't wait to read even more from Maria V. Snyder in the future and can't wait to continue this series and find out where all the characters end up!
Am I glad I didn’t give in to those doubts because I am well and truly hooked to Maria V. Snyder’s Ixia and her characters. When I say hooked I mean hooked. I blazed through the book in a day and was seriously contemplating staying up (this was at 7 in the morning) just so I could finish reading.
Wow, wow and triple wow. What a book! Murder, mystery, intrigue, magic and romance all made an appearance in this book and whilst I’m not a huge fan of the first three normally, I absolutely loved the way the author wove it all together. No one element was heavy over the others, they were equally balanced and that I think worked perfectly for this plot and helped keep the reader not just interested but actually on the edge of their seat waiting to find out what would happen.
Yelena, Oh Yelena… Could you actually be any better? It’s no secret that I love me a good, strong female character but couple that with unexpected instances of vulnerability and you’ve got yourself not just a winner character wise but a fan of your work as well. I adore complex characters and Yelena was one of the best ones I’ve had the delight of reading.
I had trouble figuring out how old Valek was at the start of the book but by the time I finished reading that had worked itself out. The confusion of the Commander though? Now that was harder to figure out.
I have never been as glad as I am right now for having bought all the books because I won’t have to wait to delve right back in to Ixia and carry on the adventure and all I can say is bring it on I can’t wait!
This is a brilliant fantasy novel set in a world that is different from most others in this genre. The pacing of this book is really good and makes you want to stay up all night just to find out what happens next.
Yelena is a really interesting character who grows in confidence throughout the book and as you learn more about her past the more you realise how strong a person she is. Valek is also a really fascinating character who you would not want to get on the wrong side of, and whilst cunning and intelligent is also a very loyal.
I also like Ari and Janco's character's as they add humour to the book and they also help Yelena out of her shell and become a bit surer of herself.
The romance is perfect in this book as it was not obvious from the beginning if there was going to be any, and if so with whom, but as the story went on it was there just enough to keep you rooting for them but not too much to overtake the story.
This is an excellent book which is perfect if you are looking to read a fantasy book that is in-between a YA and an adult novel. I would recommend this book to anybody who likes Trudi Canavan or Kristin Cashore.
This book is written in the 1st person, through the eyes of Yelena - a fairly likeable character - and it details her life as she rises from dungeon prisoner about to be executed, to food-taster to the Commander. The story trots along nicely and each chapter ends on a mild cliff-hanger, (not turning to the next page is a nice bit of fun for yourself if you are reading in bed and want to wait until the next day!). There was a subtle love-story running through the book and I found myself more interested in that than the actual main plot. As a result, I skip-read the last third of the book, which I felt was turning out to be a bit run-of-the-mill, to find out if she got her man. I also thought that the tone of the writing was too modern. Medieval style, castle-dwellers aren't commonly portrayed as saying "lab-rat", "medic" or "pudding", (the way it is used in America to mean a custardy, blancmangey, dessert).
Ultimately, I would recommend this to someone who likes fantasy that is clearly written by a woman and has that feminine stamp. If you are looking for an action-packed, sword and sorcery romp, then the emotion, friendship issues and self-doubt from the main character will get on your nerves.