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Friday, August 13, 2010

Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Book Description:
Locked in a coffin-like darkness, there is nothing to distract me from my memories of killing Reyad. He deserved to die—but according to the law, so do I. Here in Ixia, the punishment for murder is death. And now I wait for the hangman's noose.

But the same law that condemns me may also save me. Ixia's food taster—chosen to ensure that the Commander’s food is not poisoned—has died. And by law, the next prisoner who is scheduled to be executed—me—must be offered the position.

So now I must choose: a quick death… or slow poison…

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 dilemma deepens. Rebels plot to seize Ixia while she develops magical powers she cannot control. Her life is at stake again and choices must be made, but this time the outcomes are not so clear!

About the Author:
Maria V. Snyder changed careers in 1995 from being a Meteorologist to a Novelist when she began working on her first novel, Poison Study. Published in October 2005, Poison Study won the 2006 Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel, won the Salt Lake Co. Library's Reader's Choice award, was a 2005 Booksense pick, was nominated for four other awards, and received a Starred Review from Publisher’s Weekly. She has also published numerous freelance articles in regional magazines and in local newspapers. Teaching fiction writing classes at the local college gives her the enjoyable opportunity to encourage novice writers and to keep improving her craft.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria attended 12 years of catholic school before going to Penn State University to study Meteorology. Earning a Bachelors of Science degree in Meteorology, Maria discovered, much to her chagrin, that forecasting the weather wasn't one of her skills. She found employment in the environmental field as an air quality scientist, and it was during those years that she began writing. After writing many science fiction short stories, Maria started Poison Study, her first novel about a food taster.

Her research on food tasting methods with an expert chocolate taster, her husband, turned out to be a delicious bonus while writing Poison Study. Maria has a brown belt in Issinryu Karate, and has enjoyed "acting out" the complex fight scenes in her books. Playing volleyball, scrapbooking, and reading are her other hobbies.

Maria's second book, Magic Study was published in October 2006 and was a 2006 Booksense pick. Magic Study also finaled for the RITA Award. While researching for Magic Study, Maria made a few interesting discoveries. One is that if you’re going to learn how to ride a horse, it’s best to do it when you’re young and fearless. The other is that no matter who is holding the reins, the horse still has control.

Maria's third book, Fire Study was published in March 2008 and spent two weeks on the NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERS LIST!. To research for Fire Study, Maria took a glass blowing class to learn how to work with molten glass. If you ever see a glass artist at work, know that it is considerably harder to sculpt glass than it looks. Maria now has an extensive collection of misshapened paperweights, tumblers, and bowls.

Traveling with her family is another wonderful distraction from writing. Maria loves cruising in general and the Caribbean in particular, and is planning a Caribbean trip in February 09. She has also been to Europe, Canada, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, and spent a week in Beijing, China.

Though still a weather nut at heart, Maria also wrote a middle grade reader titled, Storm Watcher, about a 13-year-old boy who is both fascinated and terrified of storms. Storm Watcher is tentatively scheduled for a fall 2009 release. Writing for young adults is another passion, and Maria's young adult science fiction thriller titled Inside Out is scheduled for a 2010 release. Adults will also enjoy reading Inside Out.

Maria lives with her family in Pennsylvania where she is at work on the third book in the Glass series. She has also earned a Master of Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Maria would highly recommend this writing program to anyone interested in publishing a novel.
You can contact Maria at

Here's What I Think:

I have found another great trilogy. I don't normally like to compare books to other authors' works. Mainly because then you spend the whole time expecting something different. Having said this - I would be willing to bet that most fans of the Hunger Games Trilogy would love the Study series. This book was selected by my IRL book club and I was a little leery of reading it. I seem to have a real hit and miss luck with YA books. However, the reason this book is considered YA is because it lacks language and sexual situation. Other than that, the characters are mostly adults, the concepts is very adult and it was a truly intriguing read. There were several twists that I did not see coming at all. And I literally had to order the second in the series on my kindle for my phone within the hour of finishing the first book. It is one of those stories that grabs you and takes you to a different world, where you HAVE to know what happens next!

Hey if you already read this series and what to get some more Valek, Ari and/or Janco time, Maria has posted two short stories on her website: Assassin Study and Power Study

Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated to write this review. I purchased this title with my own money and this is my honest opionion of this title.


I love love love love to hear what other people think - share your thoughts so we can start a dialogue!