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Poison Study (Study #1)

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  86,623 ratings  ·  7,302 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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Sparkles I think Yelena is 19 or 20. Valek is in his early 30s (like 32 or 33).

(Yeah, a bit of age difference between the couple. :P)
Addy It never really said. It's a fictional world, so like most fantasy books it's kind of a medieval time period. It's definitely not modern and has…moreIt never really said. It's a fictional world, so like most fantasy books it's kind of a medieval time period. It's definitely not modern and has mentions of things that remind of what life would be like during that time period.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sasha Alsberg
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
"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
Julie Kagawa
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
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
Emily May

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
Jessica ❁ Far Dareis Mai ❁ Rabid Reads
4.5 stars

Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

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

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
“Poisoned,pursued and living with a psychopath.Not what I would consider the good life.Death has its perks.”

Well living with a psychopathValek 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 in
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
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
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
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.
Wendy Darling
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Poison Study just came out in Turkish as Zehir Ustasi (Poison Master)! Pretty cool - eh?
Really enjoyed this!
Now onto the next one!
Dec 16, 2010 Tatiana rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤

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)
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
Anne Osterlund
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?
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!
“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
Rachel ♥Reads Ravenously♥
4 'My Love' stars

“Trusting is hard. Knowing who to trust, even harder.”

Set in a harsh world where death is the punishment for murder, no matter if it's manslaughter or self-defense, Poison Study is the story of Yelena, a young woman who was sentenced to death for murder. After spending months in prison, she is yanked out and informed that since the Commander's taster has died, she will take his place as a food tester, to help detect poison in the Commander's food.

“Poisoned, pursued and

I picked up this book last night.
It was late and I couldn't sleep.
I didn't intend to read it all, but just a bit, just a chapter or two, to clear my mind.

Oh, what a terrible mistake :D

What I didn't know is that you can't read just a bit of it. This book is like glue - you hold it in your hands and you can't put it down.

There is not much I could say right now about it because I'm literally at a loss for words.. but let me tell you this:
- It's addictive, it's beautiful, it's an amazing story
Ash Wednesday

Well somebody sneezed.

Not reblurbing because I really don't want to remember this book again.

This was a very strange reading experience for me. It ticks a lot of the things I like in fantasy but at the same time they are the very things that made this such a chore to finish. I've set myself to finish at least half of a book before chucking it to the DNF pile (call it my post-Real resolution) but I read the first 50% of Poison Study in two days. That's an eternity for me, Christmas no
Yesy (The Book Vagrant)
This is just what I needed to get out of this dreadful slump! Great characters, amazing character development (Yelena is a new favorite), excellent world building, and just a generally solid high fantasy novel! I really enjoyed it!

(view spoiler)
I went into Poison Study fairly enthusiastic about my first book club read: Yelena, a convicted murderer, is spared execution to become the latest food taster for the Commander, the unquestioned leader of Ixia since he led a successful coup on the king years ago. Unfortunately, Poison Study doesn’t appear to have been thought out much further than this.

An important part of any fantasy novel is world-building. Here, Snyder never creates a political environment or cultural specificity that is nec
This one was okay and definitely a 3 star book.

The Gist

POISON STUDY is about a girl who, after being sentenced to death, is instead given the opportunity to be the military leader's food taster. Valek, the military leader's chief of security, teaches Yelena to identify poisons by their smell and taste. To ensure her loyalty, Valek poisons Yelena with Butterfly Dust, a poison that will kill her if she is not administered a daily antidote. This entire setup becomes complicated when Yelena start
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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.” 693 likes
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