Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

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Poison Study was the book that I borrowed ages ago and sat in my library book pile for weeks, long after I had finished everything else.  I don't know why, but it just sat there and I didn't want to read it.  That is, until yesterday because the loan date expires tomorrow and I need to return it.  I don't like returning a library book without reading it since you're wasting everyone who wants to read it's time, as well as space in your house.

Once I started reading, I was surprised at how quickly I became deeply absorbed.  After so much procrastination of not reading it, I half expected it to be horrible and distasteful, but it was quite the opposite!  Then I received a rather nice surprise, and decided to keep going full steam ahead.  I liked Poison Study in various aspects - the plot was rather original.  I remember reading about food tasters in books before, but they would play really minor roles and appear in about two sentences of the entire book.  For the main character to be the food taster, well, that's something new!

Yelena's training and her activity was fun to read about - she was active, her responses were interesting, and it reminded me of The Ranger's Apprentice and Will's training (which I much enjoyed in the past).  Since I can't ever get enough of action packed full of surprises in my reading, Poison Study was an exhilarating ride. The characters were really well built up and their personalities strong, you could really interact with them, truly!

I have to say though, I'm relatively unimpressed with the romance in this book.  The way that it's slow progressing leading up to a 'finale' isn't a new concept, but not only that is it unimpressive.  I just found that it wasn't very well written - and by this I'm not saying that I'd much rather read a full report on their romantic actions - but I think it could be a little more described.  I recall it says somewhere along the lines of "and we kissed" or something like that.  There were few words which I found was a bit too short, but some can argue that it's enough to get the idea across.

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The writing was pretty good - I could see the settings really clearly.  It's the type of book that while I read, the 'movie' would unwind in my head almost in high definition.  Some puzzles I cracked way earlier on, some I didn't fully understand.  I don't really mind that much, as long as it all made sense in the end (which it did) and without any obvious flaws that I could pick up.

As you got to the last few chapters, the book gave off a vibe that yelled cliffhanger, or sequel.  Because I really liked it all the way up to that point, I was glad that there would be more.  The first chapter preview from  the next series (as shown at the end of the book) was not as good as I had hoped.  It was different to what I had expected and didn't join up with the end of the first book very well.  It just didn't seem right, and so because of that I think I'd rather it be a standalone.  I would've been quite contempt with making up little parts of my own sequel ideas, but nope, it continues.  I'll have to wait and see how that will go.

Overall it was a good book with nice ideas and a fun plot.  You should definitely read this if you like action, or fantasy, or adventure, or pretty much anything else!  One more word though - I didn't realise it would be magic-related until about halfway through the book when it is revealed... no more spoilers now!  I rate this book four and a half out of five stars!
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