Choose: A quick death...or a 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, ...
Choose: A quick death...or a 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 agonising 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...
I never give a book a "5" but if I could give this book and the other two in the series a 4-3/4 I would. Very easy read. Very well written. Keeps the reader's attention and moves along extremely well. I was sorry when the series ended--or has it really!
Dec 14, 2007
Poison Study: a gourmet fantasy reading experience
The debut fantasy novel Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder has it all --- adventure, suspense, vivid fantasy setting and romance --- to make this book a reading delight across genres. Poison Study is a gourmet reading experience worth savoring and a book likely to be included in many top reads lists from a variety of readers.
From the dungeon in Ixia, a world under new leadership, Yelena receives a reprieve from her nearing execution. She is offered a choice of execution or the position of food taster for the Commander of Ixia. One choice means knowing the means and time of her death and the other could lead to a slow, excruciating death from poison at any moment. Valek teaches Yelena the study of poisons, becoming her mentor, protector and captor all in one. As Yelena lives in the new order created for Ixia, both an outsider and the ultimate insider in her position as food taster, protecting the leader's life with her very own life. Just when Yelena thinks she had settled into her new role, new tensions and threats arrive at each corner she turns. Rebels plot to take over Ixia. Now living in a world that executes magicians, Yelena discovers powers with herself she cannot control. Memories and ghosts from her past haunt her at the same time as new threats emerge. With a rebels and spies inside and outside Ixia, can Yelena discover who supports her and who plots her downfall? Forced to defend herself at every corner, can Yelena gain the skills and knowledge to keep herself alive?
Poison Study is a powerful read. From the very beginning, Maria V. Snyder draws the reader into Yelena's character, creating an emotionally investment in the outcome and the relationships forged within the world of Ixia. Suspense emerges from each situation, indeed from each page. Maria V. Snyder's elegant use of description makes this alien come alive so that even the food entices with its smells and colors. Each moment is fraught with danger. Like the food, each scene has the possibility of an exquisite new taste or intense danger where the end is unknown. Adventure, suspense, fantasy and romance all combine into a beautifully written tapestry of the Ixian world and its struggles to survive. Maria V. Snyder places the reader right at the heart of the battle between Ixia and Sitia with the vivid worlds she has created. Her look at the various values underpinning each society gives the reader insights into one's own world with a vision that is both imaginative and expansive.
Poison Study is one of those rare keeper books for the permanent bookshelf that readers will enjoy rereading in order to experience its pure delight again.
Dec 7, 2007
This is the book you don't see coming
Magic Study is the book that you see in the store and you think ...hmmm cool name way better cover art than the rest of my SF/Fantasy collection...I wonder. You pick it up, flip through the pages, don?t really read any and decide it is probably a gimmick. Then you buy it anyway because the cover is Sooo pretty (and maybe hate yourself a little for being so shallow). You go home, sit on the sofa then read the first page. After than you can't possibly move for the next few hours and finally come up for air with a horrible neck cramp and the utter satisfaction that comes with being in the middle of a great story. You decide that it was your amazing subconscious book-radar that led you to your purchase, not a pretty cover. It has enough of the regular markers of the genre to make it a comfortable read but it is told in such a fresh way with very original twists that make it completely new and enjoyable. Yelena's is a world you will not want to leave. The story continues at full speed through the sequel Magic Study which tells a very new tale but still upholds the quality of the first. The third book Fire Study should prove to continue this tradition upon its release.
Nov 24, 2007
Maria Snyder is an amazing author. She had me captured in from cover to cover in her books, never wanting to put them down. Her characters are realistic with flaws while the setting and plot are fantasical. Both Poison Study and Magic Study are filled with action and excitement. With every turn of the page new magic is revealed. Maria Snyder is a captivating author. You wont want to miss these books nor will you want to miss out on the excitement of her upcoming novel Fire Study.
Nov 24, 2007
A must Read
Poison Study is the first of the three book Study Series. The life of a woman sentenced to death is hard. But even harder is the life of a woman saved from the hangman's noose. In the land of Ixia where protecting herself from harm landed Yelena in prison. Just when she thought her life was about to end Valek, Ixia's Master Spy/Assassin to the rescue. But like every thing else in life there is a catch. The noose might have been a kinder death. Valek only saved her in order for her to become the Commander's food tester. A job that could be a death sentence itself. If someone tried to kill the Commander by poisoning his food she would be the first to go. Yelena's plan to except the food tasters job and then escape to a better life is soon foiled by Valek. When Yelena is poisoned by a substance known only to Valek, she is forced to stay in order to get the daily antiote, that with out would mean her death. Yelena is soon caught up in the intrigue of palace life. With an enemy around every corner. As life wasn't hard enough Yelena begins to show tell tale signs of being able to use magic. Which in Ixia is a death sentence in itself. She is forced to trust Valek in order to survive. Yelena and Vaelk fall in love. But can there be a happy ever after. A magic using food taster and the spy of Ixia, death could be around the corner for either of them. A climatic set of events unfold that shows to the world that Yelena is able to use magic. The Commander then sentences her to death, and then gives her time to escape. With Irys the forth magician of Sitia she escapes to Sitia to find out about herself, and her life before she was kidnapped fourteen years ago. Can love survive magic and a death sentence. With a standing order of death for Yelena in Ixia and and order of death for Valek in Sitia can their love survive. Check out Magic Study and Fire Study (coming March 2008) to find out.
Publishers Weekly, 2005-09-12 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. Agent, Sally Wecksler and Joann Amparan-Close. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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