Sunday, July 25, 2010

Regarding Jana and "Poison Study"

Title and Author: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (Book one of the Study series)

Publishing Info: Published by MIRA Books, 2005

How I got this book: I got it for my birthday June 2010.

Why I read this book: I've heard a lot of raving reviews about this book and felt it was about time I sink my teeth into a new series! Oh, and the cover is really pretty!

Much like Suzanne Collins’s
The Hunger Games, I was really worried about this book. I don’t usually like books where the main character(s) are violently mistreated. In both instances, I read the back of each book and skeptically thought, “Who on Earth could enjoy such a violent and tragic storyline?” However, I’d heard AMAZING things from friends and fellow book-a-holics that I trusted. I loved The Hunger Games, so I dove right into this book with the same expectations. I loved this one too! Let me explain.

This book is about Yelena, a young girl living in the land of Ixia. She has been convicted of murder, and is therefore sentenced to death by hanging. While lying in her dark, grimy, rat-infested dungeon cell she awaits the noose made especially for her. After living in that cell for just under a year, a guard comes and scrapes her emaciated body off the floor and takes her away. She can only assume it’s her turn to die. However, she is presented with a way to live—a new life. There’s a catch, though. If she’s going to live, she has to do it as a servant in the Commander’s home as his food taster. The previous food taster has died, and since the favorable method of assassination is by poison, the commander needs a new food taster immediately. The code states that the next person in line for the noose has to be offered the position. She accepts, thinking that surely there will be opportunity for escape in the future. Valek, her new handler, takes her through an extensive training curriculum, even poisoning her in the process. She comes through with a complete knowledge of all the poisons and begins her job.

Brazell, the father of the man Yelena murdered wants her dead. Her life becomes an obsession of his and she has to fight him and his guards off along the way. Not only is he after her, but so are some of the other servants she lives with. On top of that, someone has noticed some special powers she possesses and insists on either killing her or training her. If she does not learn to control these powers, she could cause major trouble for not only herself, but the world she lives in. This makes life difficult, obviously, and Valek, takes her into his suite so he can protect her. Along with Valek, she finds a few friends in the castle who help her and teach her new things.

When a conspiracy arises against the Commander, Yelena is forced into the middle of all of it. She has to face the man who drove her to kill, the demons of her past, and the man who just might ruin her future. She also has to quickly discover her true potential in order to help protect those she is bound to by vow and bound to by love. Throw in a ton of suspenseful scenes, some menacing characters, and a love interest or two, Yelena is in for a bumpy ride on the road to self-discovery, love, loyalty, and friendship.

I really loved this book! Yelena is so spunky. You’d think that with the crappy past she had and the dismal life she ends up surrendering to, she’d be all whiny and woe-is-me all the time. She’s a fighter! She takes no crap and she kicks butt a few times! It’s really entertaining and refreshing to see such a strong female character. Here’s this skinny, weak little thing fighting off some of the strongest and most evil people ever. There’s a few lessons I think I need to learn from her. I loved Valek from the beginning. He’s got that hardened, cold, stand-offish persona but you just know there’s a teddy bear in there somewhere. That kind of man is very appealing and you’ll know what I mean if you’ve read about a man like him. The other characters were also likable. Really, the only ones I did not like were the villains (go figure). The storyline was so unique to me that it really pulled me in. I was constantly turning pages wondering how the author would treat the subject matter. It took me way too long to read, since I was on vacation, but it kept calling to me from my carry-on bag or my suitcase. I forsook sleep for it! I do that a lot with books, but not usually on vacation.

I’m really excited for the sequel and am SO excited that I discovered this series late enough to not have to wait for it! I’ll be at Border’s in the morning with the gift card I’ve got stashed away for such an emergency.

Stars: 4. I could not give the book 5 stars, just because I really hated how horrible some of the people in this book were treated. I had a hard time hearing about the sad life of Yelena, as well as the people from her past. I loved the suspense, the little bit of romance, and the unique storyline. I’m so excited to grab book #2!

Hello to everyone coming from Radiant Reviews over at Chrissie's Corner!


  1. Great review. I really liked this book too! The rest of the series was a bit disappointing to me, as they didn't live up to the first one. I did like them, but definitely less than Poison Study. There's also a new series about one of the characters you'll meet in one of the next books: Storm Glass, which is already on me to-read list.

  2. great post! I read every word :D
    While I haven't read POISON STUDY yet, I did just finish THE HUNGER GAMES, and I know how you feel about being weirded out by a society that is so comfortable with violence. I particularly thought the idea of Hunger Games was so weird, like who exactly would find that entertaining? Then I thought of all the violent movies out there - KILL BILL and SAW and stuff like that, and then I thought well maybe it's not that much of a stretch after all ;P
    But yeah, I like how you gave POISON STUDY an honest rating. 4/5 is still good, but I'm glad you stuck to your opinion and didn't just do the easy thing and smack a 5/5 on there

  3. This book is part of a series no? I seen it around. I need to read this. Great review

  4. I've heard good things about this series! I think I'm going to have to check it out! Great review!

  5. Daisy, I've heard from several other people that the rest of this series is not as good as the first. I'm a little worried about it! I had no idea her glass series spins off from this one! I'm even more intrigued about it now!

    Amelia, good point about the violent movies! I hadn't thought of that. Maybe reading violence is so much harder for me than seeing it because of my vivid imagination! Thanks for reading my review and liking it! :)

    Savannah, it is the first part of a trilogy. Apparently they've been out long enough now that Borders doesn't even have it in the store! I went in asking about it and the lady had never even heard of it. Crazy. So now I'm awaiting books 1 and 2 scheduled to arrive sometime this week from Amazon.

  6. I am glad you read The Hunger Games and Poision Study, I loved them both! I think the last two books are just as good. Happy reading!

    Danielle @

  7. I have been wanting this book, and I just recently won it and received it in the mail. I am really looking forward to finally getting into it. Thank you for the great review and so glad you loved it so much!

  8. Great review! I haven't read this one yet, or The Hunger Games *hangs head in shame*, but they are both series that I would like to start soon.

    Thanks for taking part in Radiant Reviews :)

  9. Wonderful review! I adored Poison Study too. Valek & Yelena quickly joined my Favorite Literary Couples list! :) And how awesome were Ari and Janco? I enjoyed Magic Study too, but missed Valek a bit in that one. Fire Study is still on my TBR list.


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