Title: Poison Study (Study #1)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | Romance
Publication Date: March 1, 2007
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... (goodreads)
Poison Study is a fun ride with memorable characters and (actually) surprising twists!
Plot: I don't know why it took me so long to read this book. I mean, it's been on my nook for years and I've seen nothing but positive reviews for it. And now, I get it, guys. I finally get it. Poison Study starts off as a girl trying to avoid the noose and slowly unravels into a grand rebellion in which she must choose sides. Fair warning, Poison Study is a slower paced book (which I loved). Snyder takes a lot of time to set the scene and each scene does play a bigger role along the line. I will admit that some scenes were a bit melodramatic, but overall, I couldn't wait to find out what happened next!
Characters: The most remarkable thing about Poison Study is how Snyder writes her characters. They are deep, complex with dark pasts and loads of distrust. Yelena's background is extremely heartbreaking and Snyder did a wonderful job detailing how her fears and distrust stemmed from her past, and how she was able to grow from it.
The romance in Poison Study is also delicious because both characters have to learn to trust each other. The chemistry burned bright with these two and I would have given anything to see them share their undying love.
World Building: Ixia is so real to me that I can put it on a map. Poison Study deals a lot with the nation's history and how it put Ixia in a precarious situation. I was pretty invested in the characters and their political alliances so I can't wait to see how things unfold in future installments.
Short N Sweet: Poison Study exceeds in building tension, but don't worry, it all pays off.