Poison Study is the first book in the Study trilogy by Maria V. Snyder (between Goodreads and Amazon I found conflicting series titles but it seems like Maria V. Snyder is in the process of publishing a total of six books set in the same world. The first three are referred to as the Study trilogy and the second trilogy is named the Soulfinders trilogy) and my interest was initially sparked when I heard fellow BookTubers comparing the book to Throne of Glass. And boy, there sure are a lot of similarities. Poison Study was published seven years prior to Throne of Glass so I did my best not to compare during my read since it wouldn’t make sense to to judge a book based on another book that didn’t even exist when it was first published. I really got into Poison Study and I’m absolutely continuing the series because it is a truly incredible and original epic fantasy (especially considering the publication date).
Yelena is one book character that I would not want to mess with. Within the first chapter we find out that Yelena is a prisoner sentenced to death for killing a man and she is scheduled for execution. She is given the choice to go through with her execution or become the new poison tester / food taster for the Commander. Obviously, she accepts the latter. Yelena is a fascinating character and I loved that the story is told completely from her point of view. The reader is not immediately clued in to her past but as the story progresses we gradually learn the truth, and Yelena even learns a few things about herself. I really admire her for being such a go-getter and a serious badass. Her actions and clever mind are constantly tested with every curve-ball situation that’s thrown at her and she continues to prove herself time and time again. She’s loyal, quick-witted, strong and compassionate. I especially love the relationship she forms with Valek, the Commander’s head of security. Valek is also intelligent and compassionate but he never throws it in people’s faces. He takes his job very seriously and it’s obvious that he is most concerned with protecting the Commander and could care less about advancing in the politics of Ixea. And speaking of the Commander, his backstory is pretty epic.
The story takes place in Ixea, a kingdom that’s been divided into sections, each with a General in command of the area who reports to the Commander. Ixea had severed their connection with the land to the South because it’s ripe with magic which is something that’s not tolerated in Ixea. I don’t want to spoil anything so all I’ll say is that there are so many incredible fantasy elements that appear throughout the book and as I’m sure you can imagine, things become complicated between Ixea and the South for reasons and it’s up to Yelena and Valek to figure out what’s going on. Snyder completely nailed the pacing of the plot and she reveals just enough information in each chapter to keep the reader hooked and needing the next one. I’m really looking forward to reading the next book, entitled Magic Study, because the taste of magic Poison Study exposes the reader too will left me with a strong craving for more.
Final Thoughts: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder is a very strong introduction to the Study trilogy. The plot is paced perfectly and it’ll grip you from the beginning until the very last page. The story follows a girl named Yelena who’s offered an ultimatum on the day her execution is scheduled. The book is narrated from her perspective and the reader quickly learns that Yelena is a force that’s not to be reckoned with. There’s a ton of intricate groundwork laid in Poison Study and I couldn’t be more eager to read the next installment and find out more about the world and Yelena’s place in it.
Choose: A quick death…Or 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 agonizing 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… (via Goodreads)