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Poison Study
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
by Maria V. Snyder       

A gourmet fantasy reading experience

The debut fantasy novel Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder has it all --- adventure, suspense, vivid fantasy setting and romance --- to make this book a reading delight across genres. Poison Study is a gourmet reading experience worth savoring and a book likely to be included in many top reads lists from a variety of readers.

From the dungeon in Ixia, a world under new leadership, Yelena receives a reprieve from her nearing execution. She is offered a choice of execution or the position of food taster for the Commander of Ixia. One choice means knowing the means and time of her death and the other could lead to a slow, excruciating death from poison at any moment. Valek teaches Yelena the study of poisons, becoming her mentor, protector and captor all in one. As Yelena lives in the new order created for Ixia, both an outsider and the ultimate insider in her position as food taster, protecting the leader's life with her very own life. Just when Yelena thinks she had settled into her new role, new tensions and threats arrive at each corner she turns. Rebels plot to take over Ixia. Now living in a world that executes magicians, Yelena discovers powers with herself she cannot control. Memories and ghosts from her past haunt her at the same time as new threats emerge. With a rebels and spies inside and outside Ixia, can Yelena discover who supports her and who plots her downfall? Forced to defend herself at every corner, can Yelena gain the skills and knowledge to keep herself alive?

Poison Study is a powerful fantasy novel. From the very beginning, Maria V. Snyder draws the reader into Yelena's character, creating an emotionally investment in the outcome and the relationships forged within the world of Ixia. Suspense emerges from each situation, indeed from each page. Maria V. Snyder's elegant use of description makes this alien come alive so that even the food entices with its smells and colors. Each moment is fraught with danger. Like the food, each scene has the possibility of an exquisite new taste or intense danger where the end is unknown. Adventure, suspense, fantasy and romance all combine into a beautifully written tapestry of the Ixian world and its struggles to survive. Maria V. Snyder places the reader right at the heart of the battle between Ixia and Sitia with the vivid worlds she has created. Her look at the various values underpinning each society gives the reader insights into one's own world with a vision that is both imaginative and expansive.

Shopping advice on versions
Poison Study was published under LUNA as a hardcover in October 2005 and as a mass market paperback in September 2006. The publisher Mira has now reissued this book as a trade paperback under its name. The second book is available in only trade paperback and hardcover and the 2008 release of the third book will be under Mira. If you are the type of book lover who likes to have a series be in the same format through the entire series, I highly recommend going with the Mira trade paperback from the beginning so you don't have to buy duplicate copies like I did when I discovered how much I adored the first book. If you want something more offbeat, look for the other formats.

Publisher: Luna (Spetember 2006).  Currently published by Mira

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
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