Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder - Book Review

by Nikk A
(Philly, PA)

The book Poison Study by Maria Snyder is the first book, in a series of three. Unfortunately, they're not hugely popular, and I've no clue why.


Poison Study, the first in the series, is one of the most original works I've read. It is about a young girl, Yelena, who instead of being executed for murder is given the choice to become a food taster for the Commander, to make sure his food has not been poisoned.

Very early on she learns what poison smells like and tastes like. Valek is the Commander's right-hand man and starts Yelena's poison training. As the book goes on you see Yelena, starting to get romantic feelings for Valek.

That's all I am going to say as to not spoil anything, but it is definitely a must-read if you are interested in fantasy, especially magical fantasy.

The book, to me, is more fantasy than romance. However, if you look for the book in any of your local book stores, it is under romance: I think this is definitely the wrong section for the book to be in.

While the story is about Yelena falling for Valek, the surrounding story is much larger. My husband first read these series, and then started me on them. So, I don't think romance is the correct classification for this book.

Note from Megan, Editor of the Book Club Guide

Thanks so much for submitting this review, Nikk. You've hit on a very hot topic hear talking about classification (and mis-classification) of books. So many great books cannot be placed into any one genre, so it's up to the publishers to decide how to market it in a way that makes the most money. Unfortunately, stereotypes about book genres then discourage many readers from reading books they would otherwise enjoy. I encourage all readers to look beyond genres (as you have done) and read books that are interesting to them, no matter how they're classified.

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