Poison Study

Poison Study  - Maria V. Snyder So I want to start by saying this book starts off pretty slow, you have to really get through a sea of explanations, and background information. But believe me the last 40% of the this book make up of the bore of the beginning. know that usually in a series, the first book will be a lot more character driven than the others. And I have to say that these characters were not ones that I immediately liked or disliked (except for the obvious option of Brazell). But by the end, I now have a vested interest in several of the characters and I am dying to know what will happen next!

Our protagonist is a 19 year old who has spent her last year in prison on death row, and the years before that, in hell in my opinion. She is so broken when she first arrives at the castle, after being given a chance to live again, or at least as I understand it, die at an unknown time. Yelena is the kind of person who could survive on water for a year in a dungeon, and come out, and see an opportunity and grab onto it for dear life. She murdered the only child of the owner of the orphanage where she was raised, and refused to speak about why, she did it, only that she had committed the crime and was ready to die as a consequence. When given the option of becoming the Commander’s food taster instead, she readily accepts the job. She moves into the Castle, and begins work under Valek who is the Commander’s most trusted advisor. Learning poisons is not something that anyone would choose to do, but I think that given the option, Yelana is more than happy to complete her task. She quickly develops relationships (both good and bad) with the workers in the castle, and the story starts to pick up. She is devoted to her job, and clearly is happy that she chose to live instead of die. However, she quickly begins to learn more and more about the life outside her tormentor’s walls, and she is quickly sucked into a world that she never expected.

Valek was not who I thought would the lead for the majority of the book, for several reasons, that I don’t want to bring up for fear that people won’t read. I believe that he was very brave, and so sweet and kind. But I thought that the chemistry between the two of them, just wasn’t there. It was clear that Valek cared for Yelena, and he wanted to keep her safe, at least from Brazell, but I never felt anything else from him until the very last 2 chapters of the book. I really hope that there is more of them in the next book. Valek is such a hero, so many wonderful adn magical attributes, but the one thing I want to know is, how is he unaffected by magic? How is that possible? Unless he is also a magician. Hmmmmm......

The secondary characters who are still somewhat a mystery to me even after reading the book, were for the most part really fun. I think that Janco and Ari will definitely become increasingly important in the series. And the unveiling of the Commander’s deep dark secret will also be a major plotline in the future. I also really liked some of the other castle workers, and I want to know what will happen to Delina now.

I thought this was not the kind of book I would pick up on my own, but I really enjoyed it. If you decide to read it, just remember the first half is slow, but the second, is lightening fast ;)