I had almost forgotten how much I love Poison Study. It’s been out for 11 years now and was the debut novel by Maria V. Snyder. It is one of many fabulous books in her collection. I’ve read it a couple times, but decided it was time for a re-read and I devoured it in a couple days, along with the short story sequel, Assassin Study.

I cannot recommend this book more, it has everything you could possibly want in a book; mystery, romance, action, life altering and life threatening situations, all combined with a fascinating world and compelling characters.

The main character is Yelena, who is slated for execution, but is given a brief reprieve when she is offered the job of food taster for the Commander of Ixia. There’s a pretty good chance that she’s risking death three times a day as she’s there to prevent assassination attempts on the Commander. The one who is training her to detect poison is Valek, the Chief of Security for Ixia. He’s pretty ruthless, definitely deadly and can be a little bit terrifying, but he’s also just and compassionate. I adore these two characters and their relationship that develops over the course of the book. It is almost agonizingly slow in it’s development, but it is just so perfect and definitely worth the wait.

Snyder is amazing at creating memorable characters. I’ve read plenty of books where characters are forgettable, even if they’re given names and an attempt at a personality and backstory, but I feel like she mentions each character with strength and purpose. No one is around for no reason, and everyone has some part to play, even if it might seem small, it just works really well.

If you haven’t read Poison Study already, please go do so, there’s a gorgeous world awaiting you and so many more books to fuel the obsession.

Assassin Study is a short story tucked between Poison Study and its full sequel, Magic Study. It’s only 5 chapters, but we get an extra delightful look at Valek and his pursuit of justice. You can read it here: http://www.harlequin.com/articlepage.html?articleId=1257&chapter=1

I am woefully behind on the series in general, having only read the first six. This is partly why I wanted to re-read the Study series again, so I can remind myself of details and plot points before diving into the new ones. I would apologize for the flood of Snyder’s books you’ll see in my What I’m Reading blog posts, but you’ll thank me for the badgering when you get around to reading them too 😛

Magic Study is the sequel to Poison Study and it is just as fabulous. In this sequel we leave Ixia, the land of the military dictatorship in the north and venture into Sitia which is rampant with magic, color and fantastical characters. Yelena has come to Sitia to receive training to be sure her power doesn’t cause horrible repercussions, but old habits die hard and she quickly runs into trouble.

I love this book because it dives head first into this bright and dangerous world where magic is at play everywhere. In Ixia magic is illegal, so you’re not generally at risk with powerful people controlling your mind, body, using evil magic, etc. but in Sitia that is exactly what Yelena encounters and has to figure out how to deal with it despite her lack of magical training. We also get to keep uncovering hidden facets of Yelena’s life, which are all the more fun because she’s discovering things for the first time right alongside the reader.

There are snippets of the perfection that is Yelena and Valek, their relationship made all the more complicated with being in different countries. I can’t quite explain why I adore this pairing so much, but every flicker of it on the pages is worth the wait as the rest of the story moves along.

I’ll try to mix up a few different books so every single What I’m Reading isn’t all Snyder’s work, but I make no promises. Here’s her website if you want to check out her other works: http://www.mariavsnyder.com/

Thanks for stopping by!

-Erin