Book Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder



I have been meaning to read this series forever and a half! I was so excited to buy the first novel and begin reading, especially after working at Maria’s author panels throughout one particular convention last year.


Poison Study is the story of a girl who is sentenced to death after murdering the son of a Military Official, but is then offered another chance at life — if she becomes the new food tester.

[What I liked…]

  • Characters
    -I liked the initial set up of characters; a girl who tastes food for poison, guards, castle staff, and an ex-assassin
  • Pace/Flow
    -I felt that the pace was consistent all the way through the story, and as such it was easy to pick up and read quickly
  • The World
    -The world in which this series is set began to give off a very classic-fantasy-YA vibe that felt comfortingly familiar at times

[What I didn’t like…]

  • Writing style
    -Right from page one I noticed that the writing  style was giving me issues. For my personal taste I felt that immersing myself in the story was quite difficult to begin with initially, purely due to the fact that descriptions of environments were just so drawn out. Everything felt over-described, and I just wanted the story to move forward without having to read about the full workings of one particular room that the plot might not even be plot-essential.
  • Character Development
    -Another biggie for me. Character relationships felt forced and the only growth that I as the reader could pinpoint was that which the characters proclaimed to have experienced themselves.
    -Bad guys were just that– bad guys, for the sake of being bad/evil. I guess what I’m trying to convey is that the antagonists felt two dimensional, and when their plots played out (for this novel at least), I felt that crucial elements fell flat or weren’t really elaborated on.
    -I guess this also carries across to the “romance” element. I honestly didn’t observe ANY chemistry happening, and then suddenly it would just get THROWN IN THERE. I couldn’t even tell you what the love interest looked like, so little time was spent by the protagonist actually looking at him. And yet there was a moment where the characters are professing their love madly as though it all just happened. Just. Well. Call me a cynic but that insta-love stuff could really be handled better in a series that I can see has many instalments ahead of me.

[In Conclusion]

I know that soooo many people recommend this book (and this series) very highly, but I guess this is one of those times where I’m just the odd one out. It just didn’t click with my reading brain.

Poison Study intrigued me, enough so that I stuck with it and explored the world a little bit deeper. However, what I really needed to keep me there was some good ole character development and to form emotional attachments with the protagonist. I didn’t really feel that any of the characters warranted that though. Interesting premise, but it’s just not enough for me.

{Final Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars}




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