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Poison Study Paperback – 21 Sep 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 266 customer reviews

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Paperback, 21 Sep 2007
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Product details

  • Paperback: 409 pages
  • Publisher: Mira Books; Reprint edition (21 Sept. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778324338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778324331
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (266 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,757,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"This is one of those rare books that will keep readers dreaming long after they've read it." - Publisher's Weekly (Starred review)" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Maria V. Snyder is the New York Times bestselling author of the Study series, the Glass series, the Healer series, Inside Out, and Outside In. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Meteorology from Penn State and a Master of Arts degree in fiction writing from Seton Hill University. Unable to part ways with Seton Hill, Maria is currently a teacher and mentor for the MFA program. Find her on the Web at

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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