Poison Study – Maria V. Snyder.

Synopsis from Goodreads.

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…

“It’s a dirty way to fight, but I’m late for lunch.”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
I think I’m broken… why didn’t I love this one?

High Points.
The premise. Poisons. The setting. The baddies. The magic. Valek. Close combat. Acrobatics. Fire festivals. Valek without his shirt on. Ari. Janco. Maren. Tree climbing. Chocolate. Delicious food. Kick ass ladies. Secret Valek without his shirt…in a pile of hay.

Low Points.
The narration. I know Yelena is supposed to be educated but I found it difficult to believe she would casually throw words like “mucilaginous” into conversation… I don’t know. The found the dialogue jarring and inconsistent. One minute we’d be all britches and monarchy and then the next we’d be in “funks”.
Yelena… we’re not in AFP waters, not at all. But… well meh… see heroine.
Bad haircuts. Come on… there’s only so much my imagination can handle. Black, shoulder length ringlets? A shaved head… except the fringe? NOOOOO.

Oh Yelena, what am I going to do with you? I’m not sure what it was… because on paper you are brilliant. You have a past and you don’t go on and on about it. You can hold your own in a world run by men. You show restraint by not immediately disrobing when Valek glides into the room. You have a strong stomach. You can do acrobatics. You get your Katniss on while you’re scrambling around in trees.
But I just didn’t connect. I’m sorry. I wanted to be best friends and I thought we would be.
Maybe it’s just me.
And even though I know it didn’t work out between us, I want you to know that I care about your well-being. Which is why I’m suggesting you should go and get yourself checked out because, to my knowledge, girls should not buzz like a bumble bee.

Love Interest.
Now we’re talking.
A cheeky haircut and you would be perfect.
Strong and silent and artistic… oh and yeah, an assassin.
It’s like Ms Snyder read my diary or something.
I was tempted to place you in a ‘Hero’ section, Valek, but I stopped myself because at the moment you are still in the love interest zone.
I would like to have had more interactions between you and Yelena, because there was definitely more room for swooning. Yeah, you had some moments (flutterbies… aww) but other than that I was kind of underwhelmed.

I’m pretty sure the baddies in this were sponsored by Hamlet.
And would definitely be placed in Slytherin if they attended Hogwarts. They already have the uniform.

Theme Tune.
I always find it difficult to find songs for historical fiction… because they never seem to fit with the subject matter.

If you disagree… imagine it sung by an artist such as Agnes Obel or Laura Marling.
If you agree… rave on, my dears, rave on like it’s 1995. As I am doing right now.

Sadness Scale.
5/10. There were some sections that were extremely harrowing and I loved how Snyder dealt with these with subtlety because it really left a lasting impression, especially concerning Yelena’s past.
Sorry for the vagueness… spoilers ‘n’ all.

Recommended For.
People who love historical/fantasy fiction. People who would quite happily munch chocolate all day… even if there was a risk of dying an agonising death. People who wish Laura Marling would cover every Prodigy song.

2 thoughts on “Poison Study – Maria V. Snyder.

  1. I've been wanting to read this one for a while – sorry you didn't enjoy it as much as you'd hoped. Although this Valek seems reason enough to pick it up anyway! Have a grand weekend away!

    The girl who has not yet returned your books…. (but is keeping them safe and sound ;) )

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