This review is a bit reflective of my experience with this book – fragmented and maybe incomplete. I started Poison Study years ago on audio book and for whatever reason, didn’t finish until just a few days ago. Excuses aside, the story didn’t invest me enough to overcome them.
So what follows will be a really bare-bones review of what this book is about. Poison study is a fantasy novel (and the author’s first!) that takes place in Ixia – a society that seems like it’s from days past, but might actually be a vision of a future possibility. Yelena is sentenced to death for killing someone, which is illegal regardless of the reason. And I’m sure Yelena had a good reason, I just don’t remember what it was.
But after being imprisoned for a year, Yelena is offered a choice: she can be executed or become the Commander’s food taster. From what I can surmise, the Commander is like a governor (or mayor? king? dictator?) of a region that is basically under martial law. Yelena accepts the offer and gets to work learning how to detect the slightest trace of poison in food. In order to keep her from trying to escape, she is administered butterfly’s dust, a poison that will kill her in a day if she isn’t given the antidote regularly.
Because Yelena works for the highest official of Ixia, she lives in the…palace?…and hears all the good gossip and is involved in any intrigue to be had. This involves learning to fight, nearly dying, killing people, and falling in love, oh, and there’s a bit of magic too.
I don’t know why I didn’t strongly identify with this book. Maybe it was the audio book itself. I really didn’t care for the music between chapters and I didn’t like a few voices the narrator used for some of the characters. I wonder if I would have had a different feeling reading it the good old fashioned way.
So I’m just meh about this one. All the other reviews I’ve read on it are glowing, and there are a lot of other books in this series. It might be worth a look if you’re a fantasy novel junkee. I’m not, to be fair. But this didn’t bring me any closer to being one either.