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Poison Study

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Overview

ABout to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooma 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.

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Overview

ABout to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooma 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.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear...

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Like the deadly toxins sought out by the ill-fated food taster Yelena in Maria V. Snyder's debut novel, Poison Study is a powerfully compelling romantic fantasy that will slip under readers' skin, invade their bloodstreams, and seize their heartstrings.

Yelena, convicted of murdering the son of a powerful gneral, awaits execution. But with only a few hours left, she is offered an incredible reprieve -- and agrees to become the new food taster for Commander Ambrose, the military leader of Ixia. Living in a palace and eating only the best meals is a dramatic change for Yelena, who spent the last year locked up in a rat-infested dungeon, eating gruel. But she soon realizes that she has more to worry about than ingesting potentially lethal poisons in the commander's meals. The general whose son she murdered has vowed bloody vengeance, and everyone in the commander's retinue look at Yelena as an untrustworthy criminal. The longer she stays alive, however, the more she begins to understand her own perplexing abilities -- all of which will be put to the test when cunning rebels plot to take control of Ixia.

While many genre-blending novels seem to unintentionally dilute the literary domains involved, Poison Study is both a riveting romance and a spellbinding fantasy. The richly historied and vividly described realm that Snyder has created is completely convincing and large enough to encompass (hopefully) many more novels featuring Yelena, an enigmatic heroine with so many secrets and so much promise. Paul Goat Allen

Publishers Weekly
Shivers, obsession, sleepless nights-these are the results not of one of the milder poisons that novice food-taster Yelena must learn during her harrowing job training but of newcomer Snyder's riveting fantasy that unites the intelligent political focus of George R.R. Martin with a subtle yet potent romance. Through a stroke of luck, Yelena escapes execution in exchange for tasting the food of the Commander, ruler of Ixia. Though confined to a dank prison cell and doomed to a painful death, Yelena slowly blooms again, caught up in castle politics. But some people are too impatient to wait for poison to finish off Yelena. With the help of Valek, her steely-nerved, cool-eyed boss and the Commander's head of security, she soon discovers that she has a starring role to play in Ixia's future-a role that could lead to her being put to death as a budding magician even if she hits each cue perfectly. The first in a series, this is one of those rare books that will keep readers dreaming long after they've read it. Agent, Sally Wecksler and Joann Amparan-Close. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Convicted of murdering a general's son, Yelena faces death by hanging until she is offered a reprieve by Valek, the commander of Ixia's chief of security. He will spare her life if she will become his poison taster. As Yelena learns to discern the slightest hint of poison in food and drink, she also discovers that some people want her dead. As tensions mount in Ixia, from rebels within and enemies without, Yelena discovers a growing magical talent within her that she cannot control. Snyder's first novel, a series opener, provides a compelling look at a woman caught in an impossible situation, living each day on the edge of dying. The author's talent for storytelling bodes well for her continuing career as a strong contributor to the genre. For most fantasy collections. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"This is one of those rare books that will keep readers dreaming long after they've read it."
-Publishers Weekly on Poison Study, starred review

"Snyder delivers another excellent adventure."
-Publishers Weekly on Fire Study

"Snyder's clear, straightforward, yet beautifully descriptive style is refreshing, while the story itself is completely engrossing."
-RT Book Reviews on Magic Study

"Snyder deftly weaves information about glassblowing into her tale of magic and murder."
-Library Journal on Storm Glass

"A compelling new fantasy series."
-SFX magazine on Sea Glass

"Snyder's storytelling skills continue to build an involving story line with an engaging and resourceful heroine."
-Library Journal on Spy Glass

"Filled with Snyder's trademark sarcastic humor, fast-paced action and creepy villainy, Touch of Power is a spellbinding romantic adventure that will leave readers salivating for the next book in the series."
-USA TODAY

"The action in this book is non-stop, with many twists and turns to keep the reader guessing about what's in store on the next page."
-Examiner.com on Scent of Magic

"Snyder draws us in with her excellent, efficient storytelling, amusing dialogue and distinctive characters, all set within a well-crafted plot. A delight of a read!"
-RT Book Reviews on Taste of Darkness

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780778324331
  • Publisher: Mira
  • Publication date: 3/1/2007
  • Series: Study Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 75,601
  • Product dimensions: 5.13 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Maria Snyder

Maria V. Snyder is the New York Times bestselling author of the Study series, the Glass series, the Healer series, Inside Out, and Outside In. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Meteorology from Penn State and a Master of Arts degree in fiction writing from Seton Hill University. Unable to part ways with Seton Hill, Maria is currently a teacher and mentor for the MFA program. Find her on the Web at MariaVSnyder.com.

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Read an Excerpt

L o c k e d i n d a r k n e s s that surrounded me like a coffin, I had nothing to distract me from my memories. Vivid recollections waited to ambush me whenever my mind wandered.

Encompassed by the blackness, I remembered white-hot f lames stabbing at my face. Though my hands had been tied to a post that dug sharply into my back, I had recoiled from the onslaught. The fire had pulled away just before blistering my skin, but my eyebrows and eyelashes had long since been singed off.

"Put the f lames out!" a man's rough voice had ordered. I blew at the blaze through cracked lips. Dried by fire and fear, the moisture in my mouth had gone and my teeth radiated heat as if they had been baked in an oven.

"Idiot," he cursed. "Not with your mouth. Use your mind. Put the f lames out with your mind."

Closing my eyes, I attempted to focus my thoughts on making the inferno disappear. I was willing to do anything, no matter how irrational, to persuade the man to stop.

"Try harder." Once again the heat swung near my face, the bright light blinding me in spite of my closed eyelids.

"Set her hair on fire," a different voice instructed. He sounded younger and more eager than the other man. "That should encourage her. Here, Father, let me."

I twisted to loosen the bonds that held me as my thoughts scat-tered into a mindless buzzing. A droning noise had echoed from my throat and grew louder until it had pervaded the room and quenched the f lames.

The loud metallic clank of the lock startled me from my nightmarish memory. A wedge of pale yellow light sliced the darkness, then traveled along the stone wall as the heavy cell door opened. Caught in the lantern's glow, my eyes were seared by the brightness. I squeezed them shut as I cowered in the corner.

"Move it, rat, or we'll get the whip!" Two dungeon guards attached a chain to the metal collar on my neck and hauled me to my feet. I stumbled forward, pain blazing around my throat. As I stood on trembling legs, the guards efficiently chained my hands behind me and manacled my feet.

I averted my eyes from the f lickering light as they led me down the main corridor of the dungeon. Thick rancid air puffed in my face. My bare feet shuff led through puddles of unidentifiable muck.

Ignoring the calls and moans of the other prisoners, the guards never missed a step, but my heart lurched with every word.

"Ho, ho, ho, someone's gonna swing."

"Snap! Crack! Then your last meal slides down your legs!"

"One less rat to feed."

"Take me! Take me! I wanna die too!"

We stopped. Through squinted eyes I saw a staircase. In an effort to get my foot onto the first step, I tripped over the chains and fell. The guards dragged me up. The rough edges of the stone steps dug into my skin, peeling away exposed f lesh on my arms and legs. After being pulled through two sets of thick metal doors, I was dumped onto the f loor. Sunlight stabbed between my eyes. I shut them tight as tears spilled down my cheeks. It was the first time that I had seen daylight in seasons.

This is it, I thought, starting to panic. But the knowledge that my execution would end my miserable existence in the dungeon calmed me.

Yanked to my feet again, I followed the guards blindly. My I stunk of rat. Given only a small ration of water, I didn't waste it on baths.

Once my eyes adjusted to the light, I looked around. The walls were bare, without the fabled gold sconces and elaborate tapestries I had been told once decorated the castle's main hallways. The cold stone f loor was worn smooth in the middle. We were probably traveling along the hidden corridors used solely by the servants and guards. As we passed two open windows, I glanced out with a hunger that no food could satisfy.

The bright emerald of the grass made my eyes ache. Trees wore cloaks of leaves. Flowers laced the footpaths and over-f lowed from barrels. The fresh breeze smelled like an expen-sive perfume, and I breathed deeply. After the acidic smells of a fine wine. Warmth caressed my skin. A soothing touch compared to the constantly damp and chilly dungeon.

I guessed it was the beginning of the hot season, which meant that I had been locked in the cell for five seasons, one season shy of a full year. It seemed an excessively long time for someone scheduled for execution.

Winded from the effort of marching with my feet chained, I was led into a spacious office. Maps of the Territory of Ixia and the lands beyond covered the walls. Piles of books on the f loor made walking a straight line difficult. Candles in various stages of use littered the room, singe marks evident on several papers that had gotten too close to the candle's f lame. A large wooden table, strewn with documents and ringed by half a dozen chairs, occupied the center of the room. At the back of the office a man sat at a desk. Behind him a square window gaped open, permitting a breeze to blow through his shoulder-length hair.

I shuddered, causing the chains to clatter. From the whis-pered conversations between prison cells, I had determined that condemned prisoners were taken to an official to confess their crimes before being hanged.

Wearing black pants and a black shirt with two red diamonds stitched on the collar, the man at the desk wore the uniform of an adviser to the Commander. His pallid face held no ex-pression. As his sapphire-blue eyes scanned me, they widened in surprise.

Suddenly conscious of my appearance, I glanced down at my tattered red prison gown and dirty bare feet roughened with yellow calluses. Dirt-streaked skin showed through the rips in the thin fabric. My long black hair hung in greasy clumps. Sweat-soaked, I swayed under the weight of the chains.

"A woman? The next prisoner to be executed is a woman?" executed aloud. The calm I'd established earlier f led me. I would have sunk sobbing to the f loor if the guards weren't with me. The guards tormented anyone who showed any weakness.

The man tugged at the black ringlets of his hair. "I should have taken the time to reread your dossier." He shooed the guards away. "You're dismissed."

When they were gone, he motioned me to the chair in front of his desk. The chains clanged as I perched on the edge.

He opened a folder on his desk and scanned the pages. "Yelena, today may be your lucky day," he said.

I swallowed a sarcastic reply. An important lesson I had mastered during my dungeon stay was never to talk back. I bowed my head instead, avoiding eye contact.

The man was quiet for a while. "Well-behaved and respect-ful. You're starting to look like a good candidate."

Despite the clutter of the room, the desk was neat. In addition to my folder and some writing implements, the only other items on the desk were two small, black statues glitter-ing with streaks of silver—a set of panthers carved to lifelike perfection.

"You've been tried and found guilty of murdering General Brazell's only son, Reyad." He paused, stroking his temple with his fingers. "That explains why Brazell's here this week, and why he has been unusually interested in the execution schedule." The man spoke more to himself than to me.

Upon hearing Brazell's name, fear coiled in my stomach. I steadied myself with a reminder that I was soon to be out of his reach forever.

The Territory of Ixia's military had come to power only a gen-eration ago, but the rule had produced strict laws called the Code of Behavior. During peacetime—most of the time, strangely enough for the military—proper conduct didn't allow the taking of a human life. If someone committed murder, the punishment was execution. Self-preservation or an accidental death were not considered acceptable excuses. Once found guilty, the murderer was sent to the Commander's dungeon to await a public hanging.

"I suppose you're going to protest the conviction. Say you were framed or you killed out of self-defense." He leaned back in his chair, waiting with a weary patience.

"No, sir," I whispered, all I could manage from unused vocal cords. "I killed him."

The man in black straightened in his chair, shooting me a hard look. Then he laughed aloud. "This may work out better than I'd planned. Yelena, I'm offering you a choice. You can either be executed, or you can be Commander Ambrose's new food taster. His last taster died recently, and we need to fill the position."

I gaped at him, my heart dancing. He had to be joking. He was probably amusing himself. Great way to get a laugh. Watch hope and joy shine on the prisoner's face, then smash it by sending the accused to the noose.

I played along. "A fool would refuse the job." My voice rasped louder this time.

"Well, it's a lifetime position. The training can be lethal. After all, how can you identify poisons in the Commander's food if you don't know what they taste like?" He tidied the papers in the folder.

"You'll get a room in the castle to sleep, but most of the day you'll be with the Commander. No days off. No husband or children. Some prisoners have chosen execution instead. At least then they know exactly when they're going to die, rather than guessing if it's going to come with the next bite." He clicked his teeth together, a feral grin on his face.

Service to the Commander was better than the dungeon and infinitely better than the noose. Questions raced through my mind: I'm a convicted killer, how can they trust me? What would prevent me from killing the Commander or escaping?

"Who tastes the Commander's food now?" I asked instead, afraid if I asked the other questions he'd realize his mistake and send me to the gallows.

"I do. So I'm anxious to find a replacement. Also the Code of Behavior states that someone whose life is forfeit must be offered the job."

No longer able to sit still, I stood and paced around the room, dragging my chains with me. The maps on the walls showed strategic military positions. Book titles dealt with security and spying techniques. The condition and amount of candles suggested someone who worked late into the night.

I looked back at the man in the adviser's uniform. He had to be Valek, the Commander's personal security chief and leader of the vast intelligence network for the Territory of Ixia.

"What shall I tell the executioner?" Valek asked.

"I am not a fool."

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 468 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(346)

4 Star

(91)

3 Star

(20)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(6)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 468 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2007

    The book you don't see coming

    Magic Study is the book that you see in the store and you think ...hmmm cool name way better cover art than the rest of my SF/Fantasy collection...I wonder. You pick it up, flip through the pages, don¿t really read any and decide it is probably a gimmick. Then you buy it anyway because the cover is Sooo pretty (and maybe hate yourself a little for being so shallow). You go home, sit on the sofa then read the first page. After than you can't possibly move for the next few hours and finally come up for air with a horrible neck cramp and the utter satisfaction that comes with being in the middle of a great story. You decide that it was your amazing subconscious book-radar that led you to your purchase, not a pretty cover. It has enough of the regular markers of the genre to make it a comfortable read but it is told in such a fresh way with very original twists that make it completely new and enjoyable. Yelena's is a world you will not want to leave. The story continues at full speed through the sequel Magic Study which tells a very new tale but still upholds the quality of the first. The third book Fire Study should prove to continue this tradition upon its release.

    16 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2010

    How do authors come up with this stuff??

    This is still, since I read it last year, one of my favorite stories. I read a review on it and gave it a go, with trepidation. "ANOTHER magic book...well, okay," is what I opened the book thinking. The next few hours went by without my knowledge. I eventually had to apologize to my family for neglecting them, and again, when I was grumpy because I didn't get a wink of sleep that night. When people tell me something is THAT fantastic, I am almost always disappointed, because I build it up as something amazing in my head. So I say this hoping that doesn't happen to you, "Read this book. You'll be better for it. I was not disappointed." If you need to fall in love with an idea, a character, a thought, a rather hot hero, then this series is it. It will inspire you to be more brave and take chances in your own life.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2007

    A Must Read

    Poison Study is the first of the three book Study Series. The life of a woman sentenced to death is hard. But even harder is the life of a woman saved from the hangman's noose. In the land of Ixia where protecting herself from harm landed Yelena in prison. Just when she thought her life was about to end Valek, Ixia's Master Spy/Assassin to the rescue. But like every thing else in life there is a catch. The noose might have been a kinder death. Valek only saved her in order for her to become the Commander's food tester. A job that could be a death sentence itself. If someone tried to kill the Commander by poisoning his food she would be the first to go. Yelena's plan to except the food tasters job and then escape to a better life is soon foiled by Valek. When Yelena is poisoned by a substance known only to Valek, she is forced to stay in order to get the daily antiote, that with out would mean her death. Yelena is soon caught up in the intrigue of palace life. With an enemy around every corner. As life wasn't hard enough Yelena begins to show tell tale signs of being able to use magic. Which in Ixia is a death sentence in itself. She is forced to trust Valek in order to survive. Yelena and Vaelk fall in love. But can there be a happy ever after. A magic using food taster and the spy of Ixia, death could be around the corner for either of them. A climatic set of events unfold that shows to the world that Yelena is able to use magic. The Commander then sentences her to death, and then gives her time to escape. With Irys the forth magician of Sitia she escapes to Sitia to find out about herself, and her life before she was kidnapped fourteen years ago. Can love survive magic and a death sentence. With a standing order of death for Yelena in Ixia and and order of death for Valek in Sitia can their love survive. Check out Magic Study and Fire Study 'coming March 2008' to find out.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Poison Study was a book that completely enthralled me in its uni

    Poison Study was a book that completely enthralled me in its uniqueness. The premise was absolutely intriguing: the idea of a woman being saved from certain death by execution. The catch? She has to serve as a poison taste-tester for the Commander of her country, a job that puts her life in danger on a daily basis. Furthermore, to prevent her from reneging on her deal, each day she is fed a poison called Butterfly’s Dust, ensuring that she must appear for her antidote in order to live.

    Like most female protagonists of a fantasy series, Yelena is no ordinary girl. Her resilience and quick thinking on her feet is not the only thing that gets her out of several life-or-death situations; it is also the fact that she is unknowingly one of the last possessors of magic in Ixia, a place which forbids the use of any magical abilities on punishment of death. I really liked this element of the story, especially the fact that the neighboring country to Ixia is a magic-using country, which causes all kinds of problems politically. Another thing I really appreciated about Yelena as a character was that she didn’t stand by and let others do the fighting for her. Once she was freed from prison, she began learning how to defend herself from those who wanted to harm her. She took charge of her situation as best she could and that, combined with her intelligence, ended up saving not only her life on several occasions but also the lives of her countrymen. You know me; I love my strong female characters! Yelena is no exception, and that made this book all the more enjoyable to read.

    Poison Study was a quick, fun read that kept me eagerly turning the pages. You can read this book in one sitting, and it contains all the elements necessary for a good read: action, romance, a strong heroine, a compelling love interest, and a rich world in which the plot takes place. Snyder has created something quite special here, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 3, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I've heard so much about this book and have had it in my to-read

    I've heard so much about this book and have had it in my to-read pile forever. What I found out was this was one of those books for me that after you read it, you berate yourself for putting it off for so long. I absolutely loved it! Yelena is an awesome lead. Throughout the entire book she is unassuming and humble, yet she has an inner strength that is matched by few. Through the course of the story she is able to prove to the people who matter, those close to her, her worth as a person and an ally. All of the characters were well developed and easy to fall in love with, or hate if that was the intent. I really look forward to reading more about them.

    The author's writing style was fabulous. I love the world she created for her story; my only wish is we would have gotten more of it. What we got was an introduction/overview of the different areas but no real explanation. It worked for the story; it is just my personal preference to have more background.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2012

    Refreshing

    What a fresh take on the typical boy meets girl story. I loved it

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2012

    i love this story! full of adventure, some romance, death, magic

    i love this story! full of adventure, some romance, death, magic, mystery....just wonderful! its easy to read, smooth, you want to keep turning the page to see whats going to happen next.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2012

    Decent beginning to a terrible series

    I read through this book rather quickly, however when I moved on to magic and fire study the series tapered off rather quickly. This book was the best of the three, however I do not recommend the series.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012

    Definitely Recommend

    This was a very intriguing story about a young woman who was sentenced to death for a murder which happened in self defense. She was sentenced to death because the sentence for any murder in Ixia is death. On her way to her execution, she gets the opportunity to work as a food taster, taster of poisons, for the Commander of Ixia instead of death.
    As Yelena, our young heroine, learns and studies poison, her character develops into a strong, smart, confident, women. It is amazing how she develops such heroic qualities throughout the story.
    I would recommend reading this book. It contains action, adventure, mystery and romance. I look forward to reading the second book Magic Study!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    WOW!!!!

    This book is amazing!!!!! When i first saw it at B&B, i was like 'eh, i'll give it a try i guess', but WOW! This book is about a girl named Yelena and how she is origanlly sent to be hanged, because she killed MD-5 General's son, Reyad, but is given a chance to live as being the food taster for the Commander. When she decides to take this opportunity, she is given lessons by Valek, to learn all the different poisons so in any case if the commander's food is poisoned she would know what type of poison it is. But as the story goes along, she gains enemy's that is out to get her, inculding the General. And during this whole time she starts getting feeling's for Valek. This story has many twist that you will never see coming, and you would want to read this story over and over again. Plus seeing the romantic twined of Valek and Yelena come is extremely sweet. Trust me you will love this series!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2007

    A reviewer

    Poison Study is an entrancing novel by budding author Maria V. Snyder. The fantasy setting and charismatic characters capture the reader as the plot follows the adventures of Yelena, a criminal who barely escapes execution and becomes poison taster for the Commander, ruler of the country of Ixia. The story is a wonderful brew of action, magic, and romance as Yelena struggles to come to terms with her past and the growing attraction to her employer, the notorious assassin Valek. Every reader of young adult fiction and fantasy should read this exciting novel, as well as the sequel, Magic Study. Magic Study is a wonderful follow up to the first book, with its complex plot that keeps you on your toes and hungry for more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2014

    Great read!

    This book completely took over my life, I couldn't put it down. A lot of books are filled with angsty girls who are desperate for a guy, nice to see a character who can think and save herself!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 8, 2014

    Kids loved the audio! *Book source ~ Purchased from Audible Ye

    Kids loved the audio!

    *Book source ~ Purchased from Audible

    Yelena has been in the dungeon a very long time waiting to be hung for committing murder. It doesn’t matter that she was defending herself, the Commander of Ixia’s law is clear: there is no excuse for killing. However, when her time comes she is instead taken to Valek who is head of the Spy Network and the Security Forces. There is a rule: the first person due to be executed after Commander Ambrose’s Food Taster has died is given the option of becoming the new taster instead of hanging. Yelena is surprised to be given the option, but she takes it and begins studying with Valek all about poisons. Yelena’s only trouble now should be avoiding being poisoned. However, there is more going on than she is aware of and she ends up in the middle of it all.

    Guest reviewers today:
    My 16-yr-old daughter A
    My 14-yr-old son T
    My 13-yr-old son K

    Plot:
    This story was a hit with all three of them. A said she liked it a lot then changed her answer to stupendous when T & K said it was awesome. There followed a discussion on whether awesome was better than stupendous. They liked the plot and the fact there was magic, but T kept expressing his disappointment in the fact the story was dragonless. The world is pretty cool, magic is pretty cool and they didn’t like what happened to Yelena or her foster siblings at the hands of Reyad who they said was an asshat (my word) and deserved to be killed. They really liked the fighting and training scenes.

    Characters:
    A like Yelena more than the boys did though they didn’t have any objection to her in a general sense. Everyone thought Valek was the most awesome character and Ari & Janco followed close behind as favorites. A liked Rand, but was disappointed in him and no one liked Marge though I don’t think she was meant to be liked. They thought the Commander was tough but fair except when it came to executing people for having killed in self-defense. They thought that was grossly unfair.

    Other points:
    A thought criollo sounds like it would be pretty tasty and would love to figure out a way to try some. T said he thought the book would make an awesome movie even though they’d probably just screw it up. Um, I wonder where he gets that from? *whistles innocently* K likes all the fighting that happened and wants to learn how to do it. 

    Narration:
    Everyone liked the narration.

    All-in-all they were very happy with the story and look forward to moving on to the next in the trilogy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2014

    Awesome

    Caught my attention and introduced me to this author. I haven't been disappointed in any of her books yet. Fast paced and fun to read.

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  • Posted October 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The first in a series, Snyder has created a world filled with li

    The first in a series, Snyder has created a world filled with lies, betrayal, murder, and magic. It's a place where an eye for an eye is law, and trials don't exist. At the start of the story, Yelena is waiting to be executed for the murder of the only son of a general. Naturally, when she's offered the chance to live, she takes it despite the fact that she has to become the food taster (to check for poison) for the Commander of Ixia. She's escaped being hanged, but she could die at any time....

    It was nice to read a story with a strong female heroine. She doesn't need to be rescued, and she makes her own decisions (within the limitations that have been put on her by her handler). Her life hasn't been easy, but she never uses that as an excuse. I also liked that Snyder waited to reveal why Yelena commited murder. I won't give anything away, but it really made me understand and empathize with her character. I also loved the cast of supporting characters! Yes, I used an exclamation mark...I was always suspicious of them (which was, in my opinion, the point). I never knew who was trustworthy, or who would could be leaking information to the rebels.

    I'm on my way to go pick up the sequel, and I'm sure I won't be able to put it down.

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  • Posted September 24, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Awesome Book!!!

    I highly enjoyed reading this book. It was the first book I ever read from this author and now I am hooked. Yelena is a unique heroine who starts out in a dungeon and then becomes a food taster. Not only that it has magic, romance, adventure, and a heroine that becomes kick axx. There are two other volumes after this book which are magic study and fire study. Also if anyone is interested the author has short stories on their webpage too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Good start.

    About a girl who is set to be hanged the next day for her crimes, but is selected to be the King's food taster. The first book goes through her training as poison detector and the mystery of her imprisonment and magical abilities. There is also hint of romance that is explored later. First of series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2013

    Loved it

    The characters and writing make you yearn for more. When you sit to read just a chapter you find yourself saying , " just one more" until you find you've read the whole book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2013

    Wonderful!

    Wonderful series that I have read over twice (and I am not normally a rereader!). She is one of my favorite writers and she has not disappointed!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2013

    This novel was a fun read.  Set during a time when the land was

    This novel was a fun read.  Set during a time when the land was split into two and led by generals and fraught with magic and deceit.  This was an exciting story with a fast moving and  interesting plot.  This is the first novel in the trilogy, and it is a definite must read.

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