Series: Yelena Zaltana
Yelena kills General Brazell's only son, Reyad, and she is thrown into the Commander's prison, awaiting execution. One year later, she is called by the Commander's second-in-command, Valek, who gives her the job of the Commander's food taster. She learns the different poisons by taste and smell, yet a misstep could send her immediately to her death. Not only that, but General Brazell is intent on vengeance for his son. Everywhere she turns, Yelena sees only death, yet she learns that her only chance at life lies in her hands.
Normally, I don't like reading books in the first person POV, but the Kushiel series has cured me of that. If written well, the first person POV is a joy to read, as is the case with this book. I was also drawn to read this book due to good reviews it has garnered from other review sites.
Yelena is a complex character, and she is in turns scared yet defiant, hopeless yet courageous enough to go on living. She is also quick and resourceful and loyal to those who have earned her respect.
Poison Study is a fast-paced and interesting read, because I couldn't stop turning the pages. And it is more than about Yelena studying about the poisons, because this story goes beyond that. There are hints to Yelena's origin and background, which we'll learn more about in the second book, Magic Study. And her romance with her hero (no, I won't tell, since it's taken me several chapters before I realized who it is) is rather sweet, although the hero wasn't really featured that much, this being a book that has Yelena and her predicaments square in the center.
The worldbuilding is also quite unique, with Ixia abolishing magic and dividing the country into military districts, while to the south, Sitia is the home of the magicians.
What I didn't like about the book though, was the events that happened toward the end. I feel that some events were resolved rather in a simplistic manner, such as the death of one of the villains, as Yelena tapped on a friend's magic to disable him. I feel that the resolution would have a greater impact on me if Yelena and her hero had been able to kill the villain by themselves. Still, this didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the story, and I'm looking forward to the next book to discover all about Yelena's origins and her continuing romance with her hero.
Book Rating: 4.0