Poison Study

poison_study_coverI read this book after receiving a recommendation from my friend. I’m glad I read it as it’s one of the best books I’ve read in some time.

First of all, it’s very well-written. Maria V. Snyder draws her characters out and describes their personalities so that the reader feels that he/she knows them. The main character, Yelena, is a very appealing character. She’s strong, smart, and stubborn – and refuses to give up,  no matter what. The stone-faced Valek was equally appealing. Both characters are complex, with many sides to their personalities. I like complex characters. However, I could have used a more detailed description of Valek’s looks. The author likes to reveal things little by little. It’s just her style but I prefer the other way when it comes to describing appearances.

The story flowed well and was quite engaging. I had trouble putting it down. (Not a good thing if you take into consideration my huge chemistry exam which was coming up at the time. I failed it. Not because of this book, though.) I especially liked the self defense moves (the author has a brown belt in karate) and … the romance. The romance progressed neither too fast or too slow and was NOT too gushy.

Although there is language, violence, and sex (a rape scene flashback comes to mind), I would say that these three factors are in much less frequency than a typical young adult novel you’d find today. The sex is not described in any of much detail except to say that it was fun. The violence is rather brutal and the main character kills several times. However, this violence is not shown to be fun or good, but as a necessary evil. Language is limited for a few s***s and d***s.

There isn’t a huge moral to this story, but I love how it portrays a girl being able to find out who she is and continue living life in spite of her past and uncertain future. I believe that the author meant to subtly put a message like, “Never give up, no matter how hard things are.”

Everyone makes choices in life. Some bad, some good. It’s called living, and if you want to bow out, then go right ahead. –Valek to Yelena

Living can be something beautiful as well.

Cover design: The girl on the cover doesn’t match the description of Yelena. She looks pregnant as well (the cover girl, not Yelena). They did use the same model for the subsequent books. I give it a 2 out of 5 stars.

I’m looking forward to her sequels: Magic Study and Fire Study. She has another new series coming out in April and I will be reading that as well. Considering that Poison Study was the author’s first published novel, Snyder shows much promise.

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