REVIEW: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (Study Series Book 1)

Published:1st October 2005

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Pages: 409

Format: Paperback (Purchased)

RRP: $16.99

5/5 Stars

Choose: A quick death or slow poison …

On the eve of her execution for murder, Yelena Zaltana is offered an incredible reprieve – on the condition that she becomes the food taster for the military leader of Ixia, Commander Ambrose.

Avoiding poison is the least of her troubles, however … General Brazell, father of the man she killed, has vowed bloody revenge; she’s beginning to have feelings for her captor, Valek; and someone is plotting the downfall of the current regime.

In a desperate race against time, Yelena must learn to control the growing magical talent withinn her and master the demons of her past. The Commander’s life, the future of Ixia and all those she loves depend on it …

For years I’ve struggled to classify a particular type of book that I  love to read.  Set in similar circumstances to the Medieval Ages (one of my favourite times in history to explore), I thought at first that it was historical fiction that I adored. But I failed to find anything remotely close to the Middle Ages in historical fiction and so I sulked and still sought out ‘my type of book’. It wasn’t until discovering Poison Study some years ago that I learnt that I have a massive weakness for Fantasy, and that it is this genre that I find myself most drawn to time and time again.

As one might imagine, coming from that background, Poison Study was and still is one of my favourite types of books to read. Full of mystery and intrigue, set in a time period different to our own, and featuring amazing world building and some kick arse characters it’s a book, and series that I simply can not get enough of.

One of the things I admire most about Snyder’s writing is the way she makes you feel. Right from the books opening I was on tenterhooks with Yelena as she awaits to find out if her future includes the noose or not. I can remember feeling elated when she narrowly missed the noose (this isn’t a spoiler it happens in the first couple of pages) but I was oh-so-worried when she was reassigned as the Commander’s food taster with death-by-poison constantly hovering over her head and in her food daily. Within the space of a couple of pages I was totally and utterly invested in this strange and strong girl who defied odds at every turn. What’s more I was so caught up in Snyder’s effortless writing that within next to no time I found myself at the books end.

The one negative thing I will say, is that I felt that the romance element (not the slow burn, but the climax at the end) was kind of rushed. Having heard Snyder talk in 2016 at an event, I know this book was originally written as a stand alone and from that basis I get it. But as the series we all know and love today, I just want more from the point that we acknowledge feelings to the point that it’s all head over heels, I’ll-lay-down-and-die-for-you-Romero-and-Juliet-style.

With riveting characters, suspense and thriller aspects and a slow burn romance, there is not much this book doesn’t have. I personally adore the strength that the characters have and the world building was second to none.

Poison Study is so much more than meets the eye on first look. Here is a book that is written in simple and basic English, but it’s easy to understand and so engrossing that you don’t realise how much you’ve read until the book is finished. Thankfully for me, by the time I’d started this series, the first four books were out. I highly recommend this series for anyone who likes a bit of adventure, mystery, suspense, the odd murder and a good dash of romance. I promise you won’t be disappointed!


To learn more about Maria V. Snyder, visit the following social media pages:

Author Website Goodreads | Harlequin Australia |


To purchase a copy of Poison Study, visit the following online retailers:

Harlequin Australia | Booktopia | Angus & Robenrtson’s Bookworld | Ibooks | Google Play | Amazon AUS | Amazon US | Kobo



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