25 January 2010

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Choose: A quick death and hell or slow poison and hell.

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.
I was skeptical when I first started into Poison Study.  Maria V Snyder's writing style is choppier, and I had been grown with a healthy diet of longer sentences; the big mouthful kind.  But while Snyder's style is shorter, it is sturdy.  It easily portrayed the alluring world, the dynamic characters, and the thrilling plot.  So when I surfaced from the swift pace, a day had already gone by and I was nearly at the last page.  And as I finished, I thought, "This series is well on its way to becoming a favorite of mine."

Right off the bat, what captured me was this grand idea.  The originality of the world, the plot, the way the descriptions just popped up and danced in my head: it was intoxicating.  These elements made conversations alive and more graphic, more sensitive scenes chilling.

My only complaint is the ambiguity of some of the language.  Sometimes a character would say something and the "modernness" would throw me a bit, so that I was distracted from the story.  Perhaps this is Snyder's style.  It didn't detract me from the reading so much that I put it down.  To me, I simply acknowledged that this language was what was acceptable in that world, but I put it down to an oddity.

For those of you searching desperately for a grand, heart-thumping romance tied with an original idea (and spies), here is a book for you.  What this boils down to is a basic fact:  Maria V. Snyder books are intoxicating.  She doesn't just hand you the romance just the way you want it.  She makes it difficult and complicated, yet exquisitely sweet, too.  She develops her characters in such a way that they're the kind you want to root for.  

Poison Study has made itself a favorite of mine, a classic from this debut author.

Book Info
  • pages - paperback, 416
  • publisher - Luna
  • genre - fantasy
  • rating - 5/5
  • series - Study series
    • Poison Study
    • Magic Study
    • Fire Study