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Poison Study (MIRA) Paperback – 1 Oct 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: MIRA; Young adult ed edition (1 Oct. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778301923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778301929
  • Product Dimensions: 0.1 x 0.1 x 0.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 254,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Meteorologist turned novelist, Maria's been writing fantasy and science fiction since she was bored at work and needed something creative to do. A dozen novels and numerous short stories later, Maria's learned a thing or three about writing. She's been on the New York Times bestseller list, won a half-dozen awards, and has earned her MA degree in Writing from Seton Hill University where she's been happily sharing her knowledge with the current crop of MFA students. She also enjoys creating new worlds where horses and swords rule, 'cause let's face it, they're cool, although she's been known to trap her poor characters in a giant metal cube and let them figure out how to get out. Readers are welcome to check out her website for book excerpts, free short stories, maps, blog, and her schedule at http://www.MariaVSnyder.com.

Product Description

Review

'Overall, this is an impressive debut and a strong start to what should prove to be a compelling new fantasy series.' --Rhianna Pratchett, SFX

'This is an excellent first novel, full of atmosphere, intrigue, and adventure with some interesting twists and a strong heroine determined to rise above her many problems.' --Locus Magazine

'Poison Study is an action-packed debut to a new fantasy series, involving intriguingly different forms of magic.' --Book Loons

'This is an excellent first novel, full of atmosphere, intrigue, and adventure with some interesting twists and a strong heroine determined to rise above her many problems.' --Locus Magazine

'Poison Study is an action-packed debut to a new fantasy series, involving intriguingly different forms of magic.' --Book Loons

About the Author

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria attended 12 years of catholic school before going to Penn State University to study Meteorology. Earning a Bachelors of Science degree in Meteorology, Maria discovered, much to her chagrin, that forecasting the weather wasn't one of her skills. She found employment in the environmental field as an air quality scientist, and it was during those years that she began writing. After writing many science fiction short stories, Maria started Poison Study, her first novel, about a food taster. Her research on food tasting methods with an expert chocolate taster, her husband, turned out to be a delicious bonus while writing Poison Study. Maria has a brown belt in Issinryu Karate, and has enjoyed acting out the complex fight scenes in her books. Playing volleyball, scrapbooking, and reading are her other hobbies.

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Locked in darkness that surrounded me like a coffin, I had nothing to distract me from my memories. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 108 people found the following review helpful By Helen Hancox TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 23 Mar. 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
So what would it be like to be a food taster for a man of importance? Yelena, about to be executed for murdering the son of a General, is offered a reprieve - if she becomes poison tester for the Commander. Her training is hard and immediate - she herself is poisoned and has to receive the antidote daily, thus imprisoning her without cells and chains. Constantly in danger of revenge for the murder that she committed, with the risk of ingesting poison from the Commander's food, she tries to find her position in the castle, to be good at her job, to make friends, to experience a little of life and to try to come to terms with the murder and some other strange things that have been happening to her.

We learn gradually about Yelena's former life at the hands of General Brazell and his evil son Reyad throughout the book. We also see her learning to become stronger, both mentally and physically, and to take some responsibility for her safety and future. Her poison testing master, Valek, is an enigmatic man, a former assassin who leaves her in no doubt of her likely fate in her current role, and yet is he really as cold-blooded as he seems? Even the Commander has more to him than people initially see.

The society in which events are taking place is similar to communism, having overthrown a corrupt monarchy, but there isn't any annoying political subtext to this book - it just makes for a different setting than the traditional monarchy in a castle like so many other quasi-mediaeval fantasies. There's also an amusing appearance of a type of food which sounded suspiciously like chocolate to me!

This book is billed as a romance and there is a gentle love story in it but that's a minor part of the story - there is far more to Poison Study than girl meets boy.
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136 of 144 people found the following review helpful By Fury Magpie on 17 Nov. 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I discovered this book quite by accident whilst out shopping in a bookshop with my mum, like you do. Sadly she was looking at the romance section, which is so not my thing, and the attractive coloured cover of this book caught my eye. When I saw the title 'Poison Study,' I thought that doesn't sound like a romance book and I became even more convinced of this theory when I read the blurb on the jacket.

Our heroine of the story, Yelena, is about to be executed for murder (which she does commit) when she is offered a reprieve as the food taster to the Commander. What follows is the simple but engaging story of why she committed the murder, and her subsequent fight for survival against enemies.

By this point I'm convinced the book has been filed on the wrong shelf and I buy it on a whim to see if my theories are correct. Worth every penny! So much so that after finishing it, I couldn't get it out of my head, and had to go back and read it again a week later.

Maybe I'm over-reacting because this book is no great literary masterpiece and is unlikely to win awards, but it's an easy read, the characters are engaging to the extent that you care what happens to them, and the love story, thankfully, develops slowly and doesn't overwhelm the main plot. It's also set in an interesting society which feels like the cuddly side of communism - but still not a perfect world. There is a sequel (Magic Study), which I have read and enjoyed, and now I'm eagerly awaiting the third in the series (Fire Study).

If you're female and you like Fantasy Fiction, then the chances are you'll love this. Fantasy Fiction especially for women? - It's about time.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By clairefromwales VINE VOICE on 3 Jun. 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Poison Study is a genuinely different fantasy novel, which manages to create a fresh setting, give the heroine a novel occupation and have a compelling, emotionally charged plot.

The action takes place in Ixia, a country ruled by a fairly benign military dictatorship - headed by Commander Ambrose. The command structure and regimented approach to managing the lives of its citizens with uniforms and pre-determined job roles is well described and make an interesting change from all those books where the monarchy or aristocrats rule.

One of the features of the Commander's rule is a Code of Behaviour with specifies strictly applied punishments for every crime. Causing a death is rewarded with execution and self-defence or an accident are not permissible defences.

Yelena is an intriguing heroine, she's a condemned murderer who is saved from execution (or at least puts it off) by agreeing to become the food taster the the Commander, a risky position as many people would like to kill the Commander.

Yelena did kill someone, but her very good reasons for doing so are slowly revealed through the book. The book is written from her first person perspective and she has a very strong personality that really jumps out from the book. Her capacity for action and intelligence make her a very engaging lead character.

Yelena has a fascinating relationship with her immediate boss, Valek, the Commander's spy master. It's Valek who offers her the chance to be the food taster and as the threats on her life continue he becomes a sort of protector, but he is also the man who has to give her a daily antidote to a poison he dosed her with to stop her running away.

Valek is a curious character.
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