Saturday, October 1

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

The noose waits for Yelena but she has been given a way out: the opportunity to become Commander Ambrose's food taster. If she doesn't survive the poison training, she's dead. If the Commander's food is poisoned, she's dead. If she tries to escape, she's dead. If her ex-foster father's guards catch her, she's dead. If her captor, Valek, discovers her magical powers, she's dead. Yelena must do anything she can to survive...but will she ever escape?

I haven’t been addicted to a book in a long time. It’s something I have experiences in the past and I’m always striving for that sensation. The sad thing is, it is only the rare occasion that it grasps me.

I was introduced to Poison Study by my friend Becs, who put in motion the most powerful tool (in my opinion) to get anyone to read a book. She read me the first chapter. In turn, I read her the first chapter of Howl’s Moving Castle. This was all done on video chat.

It took me a while to get my hands on a copy as it was always out from the Wellington Central Library and never sold in stores but I managed to find the trilogy on my way out of New Zealand, on my way to NYC. I finally decided to pick up the book and dig in.

Reading the first chapter, I remembered how I had been captured when Becs read it to me and I recalled her Aussie accent in the narrative. The book is very well constructed. Told in first person, I was drawn into Yelena’s world and was gripped by tension in every situation she faced. The characters were very well written.

When I wasn’t reading the book, I thought about it: the characters, the information I knew. I played out pretend scenarios in my head as to what might happen. I was surprised, even in areas where something might have seemed obvious, the author twisted everything so that there was always doubt and nothing was straight-forward or easy.

I would recommend Poison Study sooner than most novels I have read this year and I have had the pleasure of reading some good ones. Once I was done, I plucked the sequel, ‘Magic Study,’ off of my shelf and read the back cover (something I didn’t allow myself to do before hand) and I look forward to reading it when I know that I will have nothing to distract me from the pull of Maria’s writing.

Trigger Warnings: Physical and sexual abuse.

In accordance with the FTC, Quill Café would like to disclose that the reviewer purchased this book. The opinions expressed are hers alone and no monetary compensation was offered to her by the author or publisher. Cover art is copyright of Mira and is used solely as an aide to the review.

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