“Everyone makes choices in life. Some bad, some good. It’s called living, and if you want to bow out, then go right ahead. But don’t do it halfway. Don’t linger in whiner’s limbo.”
― Maria V. Snyder, Poison Study
I have a theme going so far with this challenge.
I’ve been trying to get started with all the book series that I have. At first it was just because I wanted to finish The Lunar Chronicles, and then now it’s turned in to just me wanting to finish all the series that I have laying around first, and then focus on the one shots later.
(Can you tell how long I’ve been reading fanfiction??? I refer to standalone novels as “one shots”. My cover has officially blown.)
So today I have started a new series! The book that I read is called Poison Study, and it is the first of three(so far, I think?)fantasy novels.
Let’s get started.
The story starts out with the narrator, Yelena, imprisoned for murder. She has been imprisoned for a year, and on the day of her execution she is instead offered the position of being the food tester for the head Commander. Obviously, she takes the job, preferring tasting food for poison over the immediate death by hanging sentence she was previously given.
However, there has been someone in the castle who has been selling their secrets to an opposing force, a General that wants to become Commander and take over the land of Ixia. So it is up to Yelena, her instructor Valek, and her two new friends Ari and Janco, to defeat them.
At least, that’s what I got from this novel. There are plenty of other conflicts that occur but honestly it just gets so confusing at times that I still don’t understand what happened.
So, let’s talk about the good things first.
Yelena is a very likable character, she is independent and stubborn, and tries to learn how to fight to defend herself. She is also kind and wants to look out for others, especially those she considers friends.
The actual plot of the novel, once it gets going, is engaging enough, there are points where subtle hints become fact and certain shocking things are revealed. We get to witness how resourceful, clever, and genuinely funny Yelena can be.
Also, there is a TON of diversity, including a transgender character as well as POC’s, and many different occasions of having the women in equal positions of royalty and ruling as the men, which is definitely a bonus.
“I peered deeper and found my soul. A little tattered and with some holes, but there all the same. It had always been there, I realized with shock.”
― Maria V. Snyder,
But I was bored, and the novel itself was just really….. predictable. Everything from the love story to how what Yelena would say, even the betrayals were all things that I could see coming from chapters away.
And there are so many confusing parts, with no real explanations as to how this world works, her magic, the other characters, etc. We are reading from her perspective but it’s almost like we are getting a SparkNotes version. And then there are just other parts that are extremely cheesy. A lot of the dialogue, actions, and events just fell flat.
The most likable characters were Ari and Janco. If this book had been completely about them? I would have enjoyed it a lot more. They just had more personality and character, and were more genuine than a lot of other parts of this novel.
“One, and two, and three, four, five. Keep fighting like this and you will die,” Janco sang.”
― Maria V. Snyder,
So I don’t know, not all books can be a fantastic read, and this is my first foray in to fantasy in a long time. But I just wanted more than this novel gave me. I think it’s because when it was good, it was REALLY good. But that wasn’t a consistent aspect of this novel.
I will be reading the next book in the series, Magic Study, tomorrow. So I may revise my opinion then!