Lexie's Reviews > Poison Study

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
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's review
Oct 13, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: review-blog-pr, books-owned-read, own-foreign-edition, own-multiple-editions

The cover I prefer the most is cover 3, the hardcover edition, with the first cover in a close second and I'm not overly fond of the YA cover (it pretty, but its not very good at engendering any sort of thoughts about the book). The UK covers (of which there are two--YA hardcover and YA softcover), are both very pretty, with the YA softcover winning out because it depicts Yelena with a bo-staff.

The brutality of what Yelena faced in a relatively short amount of time (before the start of the book) would probably have broken most people. There isn't an in depth description of prison life, but from her appearance and short clues she gives us it couldn't have been a particularly good year of living. I often wondered if she could have turned things back if she would have changed things and tried to live a less...riotous life. I don't honestly believe so though, because she doesn't have the character (the will) of a person who would change things for an easier life if it meant another had to suffer.

There are occasionally plot contrivances to keep the plot moving or propel character development (how they finally figure out where Criollo comes from is such a thing), but nothing as overt as 'Yelena found a book that told her exactly what was happening and how to stop it'. Yelena earns most things the hard way--her self-defense, the trust of practically the entire cast and even her victories come at a price.

I know from message boards and the like that Ixia, where Poison Study is located, isn't the ideal sort of set up for most. Its very much a military dictatorship--with all the paperwork, discipline and uniformity expected of such. You come to find out though that the two countries--Ixia and Sitia--are pretty much polar opposites on each ends of extreme beliefs.

Commander Ambrose believes that orderliness and properly channeling talents is the only way of keeping control and from what we are told of the past monarchy's rule there is something to what he says. He rewards hard work, but doesn't expect someone to toil away at a job because he has to. He wants the people of Ixia to want to work towards a better life. There isn't any poverty or unemployment (at least not in any measurable amount). Its kind of communist.

Sitia is described almost like a hippie commune but with magic. Something the Commander does not tolerate. We find out why eventually.

As far as romance goes, its not a focal point of the novel at all. It happens over the course of time--Yelena doesn't see Valek and go 'Wow give me some of that!', she's actually very distrustful and wary of him for a long time. Since this is a first person POV from Yelena, we can't know Valek's immediate feelings upon meeting Yelena, but we can guess (she's basically bones with a fine tissue paper skin stretched across, smells like a dung pile and is a confessed murderess, I can't imagine that's a turn on for him). When feelings are made to be known Yelena doesn't suddenly become worried about how she looks or acts or Valek's opinion--well she worries over Valek's opinion, but that has less to do with romance and more to do with staying on his continual good side as an employee of his. Doesn't do to piss off the foremost spy and assassin in the realm eh?


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Reading Progress

02/26/2014 marked as: books-owned
02/26/2014 marked as: books-owned-read
02/01/2015 marked as: read
03/06/2015 marked as: books-owned-read
06/02/2016 marked as: read

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