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Poison Study (Study #1)

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  94,725 Ratings  ·  8,094 Reviews
Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison...

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's
Paperback, 409 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Mira (first published October 1st 2005)
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Kate I saw an interview with Maria V. Snyder, and she said that in poison study Yelena is 19 and Valek is 33.
DarkLady I have read a whole heap of books with a lot more romance, but I like to diversify. The romance starts off subtly and it grows just as subtly, but it…moreI have read a whole heap of books with a lot more romance, but I like to diversify. The romance starts off subtly and it grows just as subtly, but it crescendos, this crescendo would probably be considered as a lot of romance by many. The romance isn't very explicit though, or at least not compared to some of the books I've read.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sasha Alsberg
Oct 23, 2015 Sasha Alsberg rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
SO SO SO SO GOOD! Yelena was amazing and had such great character development in the story. The romance took the back seat in the book and instead focused a lot about the conflict at hand. So good and Valek....SWOON!!
I just got the second book in the trilogy Magic Study and cannot wait to read it!
I'll be talking about Poison Study in my March Wrap Up video!
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
I finished this book on Friday, and I took all weekend to decide what I wanted to say in my review. Let me start by saying that Poison Study is written in a very elemental fashion. If you are a reader who likes flowery, descriptive writing, this might throw you for a loop initially. The story is told inelaborately, and there is no hesitation in describing the ugliness of Yelena's situation. When I met Yelena, she was taken out of her prison cell, where she had languished for the better part of a ...more
Mar 25, 2016 Katerina rated it it was amazing
“Poisoned,pursued and living with a psychopath.Not what I would consider the good life.Death has its perks.”

Well living with a psychopath Valek is a perk in my humble opinion.

The story
Yelena is waiting to be executed and she's made peace with that,but then the Commander's right hand (who also happens to be an assassin) approaches her with an offer;she can either be executed as planned or she can become the Commander's new food taster.Yelena naturally picks the latest and she's introduced i
Oct 04, 2011 Jo rated it it was ok
Recommended to Jo by: Catie
"It's a dirty way to fight, but I'm late for lunch."

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
I think I’m broken… why didn’t I love this one?

High Points.
The premise. Poisons. The setting. The baddies. The magic. Valek. Close combat. Acrobatics. Fire festivals. Valek without his shirt on. Ari. Janco. Maren. Tree climbing. Chocolate. Delicious food. Kick ass ladies. Secret Valek without his shirt…in a pile of hay.

Low Points.
The narration. I know Yelena is supposed to be educated but I found it difficult to
Jessica ❁ Far Dareis Mai ❁ Rabid Reads
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

4.5 stars

I've been wanting to reread this series for like two years. No lie.

It's been 6 or 8 years since the last time I read it, and I remembered really liking it, but not much else. But guess what? NEW BOOK! So yeah, just prior to the release of Shadow Study seemed like an excellent time to get my reread on, and guys . . . it was even better than I remembered it.

That. Has. NEVER. Happened.

Yelena, a self-confessed murderer is spared from hanging when the Commander
Julie Kagawa
Jun 01, 2009 Julie Kagawa rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I loved the heroine; stubborn, tenacious, determined. I loved the world that Snyder created. I loved loved loved the main love interest, Valek. Dark, stoic assassin? Check. Me swooning throughout the whole book because I have a thing for assassins? Check. (Yeah, I know. I need to have my head examined.)

But, the relationship between Yelena and Valek was only part of this wonderful story. The detail put into the poisons was facinating. The entire world was facinating. I literall
Emily May
Mar 30, 2012 Emily May rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy, 2011

Poison Study is easily one of the best young adult books I have read this year. So far, the genre has become increasingly disappointing to me and I was beginning to lose faith in novels marketed at older teens. What I really don't understand, though, is why Snyder decided* to make Poison Study a young adult book. In my opinion, even though it was good, the book could have been even better if she'd allowed for Yelena/Valek smut and instead marketed the book to a more adult audience. It's not eve
I am torn on reviewing this book. On one hand it had the potential to be the best fantasy novel I have ever read. The world was intriguing, the characters endearing, the plot fascinating. Beyond that, the author managed to explore fascinating themes of mortality, right of choice, overcoming psychological demons, and tests of loyalty. I kept willing the writing to be better than it was. I would really love to see this author mature and develop her skill into something really worthwhile, because h ...more
Feb 26, 2016 Lainey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Oh wow, like, really. Wow. This was seriously everything I wanted and needed in a fantasy read. I'm just so damn happy that I have the other two books in the trilogy so I don't have to wait with ordering them.This will definitely be one of the my favorite series I've read all year.

Poison Study follows a young woman named Yelena, who has been in the Commander's dungeons for almost a year upon killing a man. The day she is set for execution, she is given a choice. She could either go through with

2.5 to 3.0 stars. Let me begin this review by saying that I think I’m becoming much harder to please when it comes to fantasy stories so please keep that in mind. Having read quite a few, the standard fantasy plot elements just don’t produce the same warm and fuzzy feeling that I used to experience when reading these kinds of stories. I must have hit my tolerance threshold for the fantasy “drug” because I find that I am needing greater and greater amounts of awesomeness in order to get that "sp
One of these things does not belong here:

Well, one of these things does not belong in a fantasy novel. Hint - it is small, electronic, and blue!

More on that later. So this is another one of many books...

A story about an orphaned girl, whose been tortured and basically given a rotten hand that's full of all jokers, most likely dealt by some sort of sleight of hand magician or something. Rough life. Blada-blada-blah. After mysteries are introduced and back stories told, she encounters a mysterious
Feb 16, 2016 Navessa rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-fun, dnf
I was really looking forward to reading this book for a variety of reasons. One of those was that some normally sane/calm reviewers that I both follow and respect went completely fangirl over it. Another is that I needed a break from the paranormal genres I usually read.

It started out pretty strong with a main character, Yelena, that I was beginning to really like. She was believable in her role as a soon-to-be-executed prisoner. Bright colors made her squint, she was distracted by open spaces
Tamora Pierce
Apr 11, 2009 Tamora Pierce rated it really liked it
I'm not sure if this is supposed to be adult or teen fantasy, and I don't really care. It's just plain good. Yelena, sentenced to die, is offered the chance to live as the Commander's taster. She could be poisoned at any moment, and if she tries to escape, she could die of the poison given to her at her first meeting with the Commander's chief of intelligence (he gives her the antidote daily). When she accepts, she is pitchforked into a world where she cannot tell who is an ally and who is an en ...more
Wendy Darling
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 19, 2015 grace rated it really liked it
This was so addicting.

My favorite thing about Poison Study was Valek. He reminded me of Sherlock! He was so intelligent, and loved to challenge himself even under bad circumstances. (probably even more so then) I loved Yelena as a main character! If she wanted something, she worked for it hardcore, I admired that so much. I loved when she would build up enough confidence to stand up for herself. Those were some of my favorite moments.

The friendship between Yelena, Ari, and Janco was fantastic.
Jan 03, 2016 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"You've slipped under my skin, invaded my blood and seized my heart. You have poisoned me"~ Valek
 photo that was wicked gif_zpswbamfkec.gif

When I sit and read a book in one sitting it gives weight to the Awesomeness of the read. This jewel was brilliant from the very first line. I'm so glad I decided to give it a read. I can't wait to move unto book two. I loved every blinking thing about it. The storyline, The heroine, the side characters, Valek and lastly, but by no means least, Valek ; )) The storyline was fantastic, the characters
Dec 15, 2015 Anne rated it really liked it

Have you ever heard of books with charisma? Which ones make your list? I'll tell you now, this one's made mine.

Orphaned. Tortured. Poisoned. Cursed with magic.

Yelena is a convicted murderer who is condemned to an acquaintance with the noose. On the day of her execution, she gets an offer from Valek that allows her to keep her life. One thing you need to know about Yelena is though she's broken, bruised and battered, with a haunted past
Kat Kennedy
I find it really hard to give a book five stars these days. It really has to earn it and truthfully, Poison Study almost did.

The writing was surprisingly rich and colourful, the characters were great. Yelena was calculating and resourceful which I really liked. Valek was great. At some points he was your stock-standard superhero, protective saviour cliche but his loyalty, dedication and sneakyness really added some more dimensions to that.

The plot... oh, the plot! Okay, in some instances it was
Maria Snyder
Sep 16, 2012 Maria Snyder rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Poison Study just came out in Turkish as Zehir Ustasi (Poison Master)! Pretty cool - eh?
Katrin D
May 19, 2016 Katrin D rated it it was amazing
Following a streak of mediocre books, I finally read something, which completely blew my mind. Why is it always like that? The books I postpone reading, thinking they wouldn’t be interesting enough, in the end absolutely grab my heart. I, honestly, did not think I was going to like this book based on the premise.

…And then I was completely hooked from page 2.

The story is not complex; almost the whole action takes place in the castle; the characters are few and we don’t have an overly complicate
Althea Ann
Apr 22, 2016 Althea Ann rated it really liked it
I picked this one up based on all the glowing reviews I saw here on Goodreads. Thanks, Goodreads friends! ;-)

This is a purely enjoyable fantasy. I'd classify it as a 'comfort read,' but I don't think that's a bad thing at all. There's room set aside for escapism in my library!

Yelena has been sentenced to die for the crime of murder. At the last minute, she is dragged out of the dungeon and offered a reprieve: she can opt to avoid execution if she agrees to take the job of food taster to the king
May 29, 2015 Chloe rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this!
Now onto the next one!
Jan 26, 2016 Jennifer rated it really liked it
***EDIT: I just wanted to edit my review to mention that there is mental, physical and sexual abuse contained in this book which made some parts very difficult to read. Do not read if you're sensitive to these subjects.

Great start to a series! Excellent character development and world building. I did have to dock it a star because I found some parts kind of boring. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed reading this and will definitely be continuing on with this series!
Dec 16, 2010 Tatiana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Tatiana by: Felicia, Albie
Shelves: 2009, fantasy
"Poison Study" is a story of Yelena, a murderer, who after a year in a filthy dungeon, is offered an opportunity to choose either a quick execution or a daily fear to be killed by a poison during her duties as a food taster.

I do not normally read fantasy. For me this genre is forever associated with Tolkien and "Lord of the Rings," and I am not really too keen on books about magic, goblins, etc. However this book pleasantly surprised me. It wasn't quite what I expected it to be. You'd think wha
Liz* Fashionably Late
Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

You know how it's too damn hard to write a positive review, right? I could say GO READ THIS BOOK IT'S AMAZING or I could write paragraphs and paragraphs of random details explaining why I love Poison Study.

The thing is, this book doesn't stand out with a perfect world building or amazing magic system, it's not the passionate romance or the different MC that amazes me... it's the balance what works here, the perfect amount of everything I love in a book.

Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤ (of BADGER and Snake)

Who better to have on my side? Rand, the cook, whose food I'd be eating on a daily basis, or Valek, the assassin, who had a nasty tendency of poisoning my meals?

Ahhh where do I even begin??? Is there even an adequate place to start? Wellll, first I'd like to give a shout out to my two vacant besties who did a wonderful horrible job of reading this with me-Hello, Bitches (you know who you are, my lovelies). They really missed out. While subtle in it's charm, this book sneaks up on you like po
Robin (Bridge Four)
Jun 04, 2015 Robin (Bridge Four) rated it liked it
Shelves: buddy-read
Buddy Read with a few friends at Buddies Books and Baubles

Naiveté and blind trust may have been driven out of me by Brazell and Reyad, but deep down in the small corners of my heart I still clung to the hope that I might find a true friend.
Even a rat needs other rats. I could empathize with the rats. I, too, scurried around, looked over my shoulder and sniffed for poisoned traps.

This kinda falls into the ‘If I’d read you last year’ category for me. What is that you might ask? Well it’s like
Oct 16, 2009 Felicia rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books in a while, made it to the "hardback" "Keeper" shelf in my bookcase!

This book is good for men and women, I really really enjoy it sooo much, the romance is fantastic but not exclusive to lady-enjoyment, so pick it up!
Anne Osterlund
Mar 28, 2010 Anne Osterlund rated it it was amazing
Poison Study: my absolute favorite read of the past five years!

Yelena is about to be executed. When Ixia’s number 1 assassin, Valek, makes her an offer. To become the Commander’s food taster and train to recognize poisons. A slightly dangerous vocation. But then, for a young woman haunted by the ghost of the man she killed, a past which no one will believe, and a gift that is considered a crime, well, really . . . what choice does she have?
“To Yelena, our newest food taster. May you last longer than your predecessor.”

This was an okay story, but the slow pace put me off.

I did like Yelena, but it took me a while to warm to her. I didn’t understand her reasons for killing the man she was supposed to have killed, and I found her quite a hard character to relate to. If anything, I liked Valek more! I suppose she did have her reasons for acting the way she did though.

“All my fantasies of friendship fled me as I realised that being fr
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YA Buddy Readers'...: Poison Study (Study #1) by Maria V Snyder - Restarting June 1st 2016 39 155 May 25, 2016 01:50PM  
YA Read Along and...: Poison Study Read-Along! 47 25 May 01, 2016 05:13AM  
Infatuated by Fic...: Poison Study 4 7 Apr 19, 2016 02:18PM  
Read-along: DT | Março Poison Study 55 41 Apr 04, 2016 03:44PM  
Addicted to YA: Poison Study 13 154 Apr 03, 2016 11:09AM  
"Forgotten Reads"...: January: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder 10 27 Feb 08, 2016 08:33AM  
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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 ...more
More about Maria V. Snyder...

Other Books in the Series

Study (6 books)
  • Magic Study (Study, #2)
  • Fire Study (Study, #3)
  • Shadow Study (Soulfinders #1)
  • Night Study (Soulfinders, #2)
  • Dawn Study (Soulfinders, #3)

Share This Book

“Yelena, you've driven me crazy. You've caused me considerable trouble and I've contemplated ending your life twice since I've known you." Valek's warm breath in my ear sent a shiver down my spine.

"But you’ve slipped under my skin, invaded my blood and seized my heart.”

“That sounds more like a poison than a person,” was all I could say. His confession had both shocked and thrilled me.

“Exactly,” Valek replied. “You have poisoned me.”
“Everyone makes choices in life. Some bad, some good. It's called living, and if you want to bow out, then go right ahead. But don't do it halfway. Don't linger in whiner's limbo.” 730 likes
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