Book: Poison Study (Study Series Book 1 – A Yelena Zaltana Novel) Review

“Unfortunately, poison not included with book”

Author: Maria V Snyder

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Age: YA+

Released: 21st September 2007 (UK Version)

Maria V Snyder is apparently an author of some renown. I guess it would make sense for that to be the reason I picked up Poison Study, but no… I picked it up because I kept spotting the cover in my local Waterstones and it looked really, really interesting.

This is an easy-reading Young-Adult book with the premise that a young girl, who killed her former guardian’s son, spent a year in prison and now has the choice of facing a death-by-hanging or by becoming the new Poison taster.

Set a world where the older kingdom has been taken over by the military for 15 year, the new regime requires everyone to live under various military-controlled districts, most boringly named MD-1, MD-2, MD-3, etc. Everyone wears uniforms, and everyone has a job that is suited for their abilities. That all sounds fine, but the magicians in the south of the world, are plotting something…

Yelena, the protagonist, in her role as a poison taster for the Military’s Commander, comes across such magicians and realises that she has magic powers, which must be kept hidden from both the Commander and her assassin-ninja-boss Valek.

I’ve read this book TWICE (not in a row, mind you), and the first time it left with me feeling like I’d just wasted my money. The plot was forced, and the character interactions were typical and the world map was the most BORING and LAZY I’d ever come across.

(The colour-less version featured in the book is even less inspiring!)

However, on my second read, I was a bit more appreciative at how easy reading it was. The writing doesn’t require a lot of concentration. The fight scenes are still awkward to imagine, they don’t have as much flow as they should,  but I found myself actually caring for Yelena’s fate.

As a verdict, I would say that you should only read this book if you are a teenager  or not looking for heavy fantasy. Am I going to purchase the second book; Magic Study? Yes, I am.

It’s a very light series, but I feel that there’s worse out there. Plus, I’ve expected that this will be the most flawed novel since this is the author’s debut novel.

Rated – 2/5 Good for teenagers and a light read.

Some alternative covers:


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