Choose: A quick death and hell or slow poison and hell.
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 Dust and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.
As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear.
Oh how I love Maria V. Snyder's books, her writing, basically all things Maria V. Snyder. I totally and completely fell in love with the world she's created in the Study series and I just can't get enough of the whole kit and kaboodle. Yelena acts as our tour guide in this first novel and introduced readers to the territories of Ixia and the background of the turmoil between Ixia and Sitia, the neighboring territory. As a victim of bad circumstances its impossible to not immediately be on Yelena's team. Kidnapped as a child, held prisoner for the killing of said kidnapper/torturer, and that's only the highlights reel version.
We meet her as she's about to be executed and Ixia's chief of security, Valek offers her an out, of sorts. She takes the position of the commander of Ixia's food taster. Sounds great until you realize she's tasting for poisons and will be dead before she knows it if she isn't a quick learner. But I guess any chance is better than no chance at all, right? And she's got Valek, the best of the best as her personal tutor. So as she studies with Valek she still has to fend off anyone who could possibly detect her secret. Well one of them at least. She has magical powers developing and the penalty for magic users in Ixia is death. Like this girl doesn't have enough to stress her out!
But can we please now focus on Valek!!! I don't even know where to begin. I didn't expect to like him and ended up loving him and I don't know when or how that happened. He's talented, smarter than just about everyone and is fiercely loyal to the commander. He's definitely someone you want on your side and someone you don't double cross...unless you want to wind up killed. Let's not forget that when he sets his mind to something you can pretty much assume that he won't let it slip from his grasp. So is he determined to protect Yelena? Ixia? Or both? So after being introduced to these fantastic characters in this amazing world I was thrilled that there would be two more books in their story.
I gave Poison Study (Study, #1) 4 shamrocks!!!!