Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder


Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 409
Series: Study #1

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.



DNF (30%)

Quick Question: Did I read the wrong book? Because everyone seems to be going on and on about how great it is and I don’t see it.

The book has an interesting plot with Yelena being a food taster for the Commander. I could see myself being interesting in that. But I’m not. Because I just can’t seem to bring myself to care.

Do you know what makes you care about what happens in a book? The writing, the characters and the plot. But the latter two depend upon how well the book is written so, ultimately, just the writing.

And the writing in this book was pretty bad. If I had to use a word to describe it, I would say… Incomplete

Let me explain…

We’re told, at one point, that Yelena turns a corner and tried to enter the first room whose door turns out to be jammed. But how big/long is the corridor? Are there other doors? What’s the door made of? Why, and in what way, is it jammed?

When she gets in, there’s a window on the far side of the vast room. How vast is the room? What else is there in the room? How big is the window?

None of these questions are answered. It feels like Yelena got shit-faced, did a bunch of stuff and then in the morning tried to write it down. But she couldn’t remember all the details because she was drunk off her ass. See what I mean by “incomplete”?

Then there are the characters. We don’t know anything about them because of the bad writing. Except Yelena, who’s inconsistent.


  • She’s been locked up in a dungeon for almost a year. She’s weak, heading to her execution, chained up and terrified. She’s sitting on the edge of her seat in front of a scary guy. And then scary guys makes an offer and, all of a sudden, she starts pacing on front of said scary guy. In chains. Does that not strike anyone as strange?
  • A sensible girl who’s been traumatized by physical abuse (Yelena) suddenly decides to get snappy at a guy famous for his assassinations? What are you doing, author?

Finally, 14-year-old age different in a couple may not bother other people but it’s not something I’m comfortable with. I draw the line at 10, especially with a 19-year-old.

Overall, I didn’t like the book.

Sorry for the really long review. I just had some stuff I needed to get off my chest. Obviously, I don’t recommend the book so… I’m off to read something better. Hopefully.


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