is the first book in Maria V. Snyder’s Study series/ trilogy or called Yelena Zvetlana
I must say in the beginning itself that the concept is very differently interesting. The setting is is in some place else, where there are only two lands- Lands of Ixia and Sitia. Ixia’s commander discourages magic and orders to kill a magician at sight and that is why every magician flees to Sitia.
However, the story is about a girl Yelena who is on her sentence because she murdered a man. In Ixia, reason of a treachery is never heard; the person is executed on the basis of a Code of Behaviour. So, the day starts with Yelena being led to be hanged but seeing that she is already in her deathbed, she is offered the role of a food taster for commander. The job of a food taster is to taste and identify the food for poison where there is no guarantee of life. If the food contained poison then the taster could die at the same instant, but Yelena takes the job for a shot at life keeping escape plans in mind.
It is a bit exhaustive read, in my opinion. It took me almost two days to finish it and after that I did not have muscle to begin the next book in the series named Magic Study
The story will start out as a little complicated but everything will unwind towards the end. The thrill is again, good but...complicated. There is a certain amount of unnecessary bickering and we are actually able to figure things out by ourselves before it is done in the book but overall, when every thing clicks together, it brings satisfaction.
And about the girl Yelena. Thankfully, she is not a girl who gets obsessed about ‘cute guys’ and spends days and nights dreaming about ‘em, wait for just one look or crave to share a kiss like most Young-Adult books. Yelena is a very witty girl. She is shown as a very capable person who keeps caliber to learn almost anything. Even though she is bone thin, she learns self-defense and makes nasty kills. She has the ability to trick others but somehow gain their trust. Yelena is also very good at planning escapades; she thinks quickly and avoids uncanny situations. One of the best female characters I've read till date.
The only disappointing thing about the book was the unnecessary romance. I hate it when authors include a soulless love story just to get a check mark for being a YA novel. If authors don’t know how to incorporate love story in an action-packed book then I suggest, drop it. There is no need for a ‘love eternal’ kind of story. There was not even a moment in the book where Yelena seemed distracted because she had a crush on some guy, but in between the battle for life and death she and the dude were making out because they loved each other from the beginning. There have been a few Paranormal books which were written solely for the purpose of romance, like Fallen, Immortals, Firelight
etc. Their main theme was romance in a non-normal situation but Poison Study
did not need a love story to complete itself.
Finally, when I finished the book I did not have “‘OMG! The best book EVER!” expression but I did have a light smile because it certainly was impressive. A very strange plot with a lot of twists and turns but a terrific book at the end.
I’d recommend this to every YA Fantasy fan who fancies a kick-ass heroine, hot and badass hero and a good story.
One of the best ones out there!
UPDATE : The author should be whacked because she got entirely derailed from the major plot and totally ruined the next two books. They are not even worth the little of your time.