My Thoughts On Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

12 February 2015


Maria V. Snyder is one of those authors whom everybody raves about, and after reading this novel, I can understand why. Her writing flows beautifully, and her descriptive style is mesmerizing. Not once did I feel overwhelmed by all the information she was thrusting my way, though there were several subplots throughout the entirety of this book. Snyder has created a world that I fell in love with, and I will definitely be reading the rest of this series immediately.

Yelena is a character who underwent a lot of personal development in this book. When I first started reading, I found that there was something strangely dislikable about her. I'm still not positive as to what it was, but as the novel progressed, I found myself admiring her more and more. My emotions were taken on a terrifying rollercoaster as disaster after disaster struck, and I kept praying that things would just fall into place for her. With Valek's help, she grows into her role as food taster pretty quickly, but there are still people out there who want her executed. General Brazell will stop at nothing to get revenge for his son's murder, and Yelena finds herself fighting for her life numerous times. 

When a novel is written based on events that happened before the book started, a lot of authors fail at giving us the backstory without taking focus off what's currently happening. Maria V. Snyder didn't have that problem. She incorporated Yelena and Reyed's history primarily with flashbacks, but they didn't bombard us with information. Rather, we had to piece together the story bit by bit. At the start of the book, Yelena struggled with the emotional pain of remembering her past at Brazell's orphanage, but as the story progressed, we discovered more about what happened to her, and I found it impossible not to sympathize with her. She experienced some pretty dark things, and for her to come through with her sanity in tact is amazing. Yelena is incredibly brave and strong-willed, and she manages to overcome every obstacle thrust her way. She's a true heroine, through and through.

There's a ton of other characters in this novel, but I'm only going to talk about Valek, otherwise this review will take days to write/read. I absolutely adored this guy right from the off. He has an air of mystery surrounding him and you can't help but want to get to know him better. Despite his blunt nature, he has a softer side that will make you go weak at the knees. Though it doesn't show very often, there are a few moments (further towards the end of the book) that make you wish he and Yelena had met under different circumstances. The romance is by no means the focal point of this novel, but I adored their relationship and can't wait to see how Snyder incorporates it into the next book.

The magic side of things didn't fully come into play until pretty late on in the novel. Despite there being signs and talk of magic, Snyder brought that aspect in slowly, letting us get used to the idea. I'm glad she did this, as I can imagine things would have gotten pretty overwhelming had she started this novel talking about magic as if we knew anything about her world. Irys, the Southern sorceress that can get into Yelena's head uninvited is a character whom I found intriguing. I didn't expect her to turn out the way she did, and I can't wait to read more about her in the sequel, Magic Study. 

Overall, this is an absolutely fantastic novel that fantasy and mystery fans alike will enjoy. The plot itself is interesting and surprising, and you never know what's going to happen next. Maria V. Snyder is a master of creating twists and turns you could never have guessed at, and I'm definitely going to check out her other works.