After hearing so many raving reviews about this book and the series itself, I decided to finally cave; picking up the book from my bookshelf, where it has resided for quite a few years. Though I knew vaguely what the premise of Poison Study was, I didn't expect to love it as much as I did, let alone class it as a new favourite.
Yelena is one of the most memorable main characters I've ever come across. Like, EVER. About to be hanged for murder, she's given the choice of becoming the food taster for the Commander, which she snaps up immediately, much to the chagrin of General Brazell, who's son she killed. Headstrong, fearless and highly adaptable, she's soon being pulled in to the political world of Ixia, where her friends and enemies mingle together and not all is as it seems.
The well written and highly detailed plot was one of my favourite aspects of Poison Study. The amount of action, romance and danger kept me engaged throughout and it's easy to see that Maria V. Snyder took her time writing this book, due to the details and description within her writing.
Now, on to the love interest; Valek. I must admit, I wasn't a huge fan of him when he was first introduced. However, as the story progressed and he began to fall for Yelena, I began to fall for him too. Though outwardly he's insensitive and hard, when he lets his guard down he becomes a giant teddy bear with a big heart. I'm hoping we see more of him in the next two Study books, so that I can see his relationship with Yelena progress.
To add to this, Yelena is gaining magical abilities, which are forbidden in Ixia; not to mention that she has no idea how to control them. In Poison Study, we only learn the bare minimum about magic but I'm sure we will learn much more in the second book, entitled Magic Study.
I can't believe how long it took me to finally pick Poison Study from my bookshelves, especially as I loved it so much once I'd finished it. The characters, plot and world make for a superb young adult fantasy story and I seriously can't wait for Magic Study!