Title: Poison Study
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Series: The Study Series
Summary: Yelena has spent the last year in the Commander's dungeons awaiting execution for murder, and it looks like she is finally next in line, until the commander's food tester dies. The Code dictates the position goes to the next in the line for execution and she has two choice; either be executed or undertake training that might kill her. She will learn under Valek the most feared man in Ixia, a country that is set to stomp out any magic. Magic like the stuff that the General who's son she killed might be dabbling in as he tries to get revenge on Yelena.
Thoughts: Snyder's debut novel is at the height of excellence. The imaginary country, government and society is all well constructed. As are the characters with Yelena and Valek being both clever and interesting. Although Valek tends to pop up and save her a little too often for my liking, regardless Yelena manages to hold her own against some super-evil villains. The Commander also was interesting managing to set up a military dictatorship, a strict legal code, and having the determination to follow said code and live like all the civilians. He is an wonderful leader despite his shocking secret. The novel was a complete story yet also did a fabulous job setting up for the rest of the series. Readers will become truly invested in the fate of all the characters.
Cover: The original cover is nice, but the spiffy one pictured is the YA cover. The leaves are kind of transparently shiny, making it gorgeous!
Rating: 4.5 stars
PS: Look out for her lovely new book Sea Glass out this fall!