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Monday, April 2, 2012

Written Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Overall: 3.5
Spoiler Alert: Heavy
Summary 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…
My Review
This could have been the perfect romantic fantasy book. And until about the end I did absolutely love it. I had planned on giving it a 4.5 or 5 rating and adding it to my favorites. But things really started to bug me in the end. It just didn't feel the same as the rest of the novel. The tone and story was perfect until the end.  I guess, rushed, is the best way to describe it.

I'll start with the writing. The writing style reminds me a bit of J.K. Rowling's style. This can be good or bad depending on if you like that style. I however do not. The flowery and overworded detail about the stupidest shit really gets to you after a while. Much like with the some of the Harry Potter books, I found myself skimming parts and skipping paragraphs at a time. But unlike JKR, Snyder skips over important parts of the story that should be detailed. Spoiler (Two examples come to mind: Rand's death and when Yelena told Valek what Reyad did to her. Rand's death was over so quickly and then Yelana just forgets about him. The curtains and hallway can get a page but Rand dying gets a few short paragraphs. What? And then when Yelena can finally tell Valek what happened to her, it's over in half a paragraph. We don't get to see what exactly she said either, it goes something like this "then I told Valek about my past.") Really bitch, really? That's all I get? Thank you for all that suspense. 
Spoiler (Another thing that bugged me was how the Commander was actually born in a woman's body. It reads like it was just an after thought.) Maybe with the other books it develops more in the other books and has a greater purpose. But for this book it just didn't seem to belong.

Next the story was great. But Yelena is such a Mary Sue, except she kills people (they do deserve it though). Spoilers ahead. Spoiler (In one part the more expericed magician couldn't help the Commander out of a mind controlled state. But somehow Yelena could, "Oh I've never used purposely used magic before let me do it better than you woman who has done it her whole life." And EVERYTHING just comes so easily for her. The ghost of Reyad haunts her and she can't get rid of him. Until she literally says "Be gone" at the end of the story.) You have to be shitting me! But I do like her. She's very strong willed, a survivor, and totally kicks ass. 

Besides that stuff, I still enjoyed it and still really like it. I give it a 4 because it is totally buy worthy. There is no love triangle or a insta-love aspect. The relationship between Valek and develops more slowly. We see them meet, flirt, simmer down, heat up, fight, and watch as they fall for each other. And Yelena struggles with her feelings for him. After all the man she was previously "with" was a total sadistic dick wad. Oh and Valek. Swoon. He's strong, smart, silent, and carves beautiful little statues. 

I liked the adventure and action in this fantasy world. (Although it is a bit repetitive.) There was always something going on. Whether it was the multiple assignation attempts on her life, the fugitive exercise, the many training meetings, or the plans and attacks of General Brazell attempted take over. 

Finally I liked how the author showed us flashbacks of Yelena's past. It wasn't too much or too gruesome. She allowed your mind to decipher exactly what happened to Yelena without giving too much or too little. 

But after reading the reviews of the rest of the series I think I'm going to skip the other two. I like the way this ended. There's no huge cliffhanger and I can accept this a stand alone book. Previously I have ignored advice to drop a series and have regretted it. This time I'm going to save myself the disappointment and finish it with Yelena in Valek's arms. *Happy love sigh.

I would totally recommend this first novel. It's a great read. The writing is wordy and the book needs a little polishing. And it had a great plot and characters. I was hooked right away. And until the not as spectacular ending, I adored it. 


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