Poison Study

Poison Study - Maria V. Snyder **Just so everyone knows, this review contains some pretty superficial spoilers. Nothing major, but I just wanted to give people the heads up...**

This is one of my all time favourite books (kinda obvious from my 5 stars...). I was travelling in England and was becoming alarmingly book starved when I came across this book on the discount table in WH Smith. It looked interesting, so I bought it. Went back to my seriously-cheap-hostel and devoured the book that night. I ran back to the store the next day and promptly bought the rest of the series. Forget visiting the Tower of London I had to read finish this series(...I did still visit the Tower haha).

I'm not sure if I can do an adequate job at reviewing why I like this series so much, but I think I know one of the major reasons why I love this series is Valek and Yelena's relationship. With any book that says there's a bit of romance in it, one automatically looks at every male character that appears, trying to decide if that's the male "lead" or whether you like him or not. I considered Valek at the beginning, but Snyder's initial description of him and Yelena's complete un-attraction led me to dismiss him. And then an amazing thing happened. it didn't matter. What I mean is: the Romance didn't matter. It didn't carry the story. I guess i had gone too long reading novels that centered around the two main character's love interest and not having any other plot surrounding it. Or you'd get a really good book with a fast moving plot but a dry romance snuck in. Anyways, it wasn't until halfway through the book that Synder revisited the idea of romance in Yelena's life and by this time, as a reader, you appreciate the complexities of Yelena's and Yalek's characters even more. I guess I loved the fact that it was a natural romance. No 'instant attraction' or "I can't stay away from him and I don't understand how!" *cough* Fallen *cough* shenanigans.

The other great thing about the relationship is that while Valek may be mysterious, dangerous and dominating, Yelena isn't truly attracted to him until she's able to reciprocate. I mean, for the first half of the book, she's recovering from her sojourn in gaol and then she starts to develop confidence and strength, both physically and mentally.

Anywho... the austere world Snyder creates with the Military Districts and the way she's able to carry her story south into the magic-filled lands of Sitia in her last two book (without a hitch) is impressive and she does an amazing job for (what I believe) are her first books. This on top of the relationship she creates makes Snyder one of my favourite new(ish) authors.