Title: Poison Study
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Author's Website: http://www.mariavsnyder.com/
Series: Study, #1
Release Date: March 1, 2007
Goodreads Description: Choose: A quick death and hell or slow poison and hell.About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms 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.
I have to admit the description didn't perk my interest. A book about a food taster didn't appeal to me. I decided to give it a shot after several people kept recommending it. I'm so glad I did because I really enjoyed it! I was sucked in after the first chapter. The pace never slows throughout the rest of the book. There are constant twist and turns in the plot that grabs and demands your attention. Piece by piece we learn more about Yelena's complicated past, the demons that haunt her, and the skills she never knew she had. Through all of this, we come to care for her as she faces the possibility of death by the hour. Luckily, she is strong, has the will to survive, and a quick mind that helps her out of impossible situations.
Then there is Valek, the sexy assassin who gave Yelena the Butterfly's Dust poison to keep her from escaping. While he is the one who poisoned her, he is also constantly using his vast array of fighting skills to protect her from all of the dangers that lurk around the corner. He is very mysterious and it's almost impossible to not fall in love with him!
As for romance, there is a slight undercurrent throughout the book that erupts towards the end. I know many books that tend to do this, which I usually love. In this book's case, I felt it was a little too rushed at the end. It almost overpowers the story. This is the only negative mark I have against the book.
Overall, this is an adventuresome and captivating novel that is hard to put down. It definitely has a highly original plot! Now I understand why so many people recommended it!