Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Series: Poison Study, Book 1; The Chronicles of Ixia, Book 1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Magic, Fiction
“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.”
Full disclosure, this wasn’t my first time reading this story – more like my 4th or 5th – so nothing I have to say about this series is going to be based on first impressions. However, the fact that I’ve read this series so many times just goes to show how much I love the tale and the world that Snyder has created here.
The reason that I picked up Poison Study this time around was because I went to read Snyder’s Glass series. I got about 2 chapters into Storm Glass before I realized that I didn’t remember the specifics of what happened in the Poison Study series well enough to understand what was going on in the world. So, here we go – after more than a year away from this world, I’ve dived straight back into this fantastic world.
In Poison Study, Snyder has created the nation of Ixia where magic is illegal and is boarded to the South by the nation of Sitia which is ruled by powerful magic users. Since coming to power, the Commander has closed its boarders with Sitia and deemed all magic to be vile. Now all that’s protecting him from assassination attempts are his master spy, Valek, and his taste tester.
As per their code the prisoner that’s next in line to be hanged is given the choice of becoming the taste tester for the Commander, though not everyone says yes to the job. Yelena, however, jumps at the opportunity to keep living, even if it’s a life filled with poisons and deceit.
My favourite thing in this story is the way that Snyder depicts the world in shades of grey. Nothing is black and white, not even the code of ethics that Ixia follows. The characters must decide for themselves what they believe to be the most important to them, what they’re willing to risk in order to do what they think is right. For a militaristic land, these decisions could be life or death.
While the magic in this world is intensive, it is not the main focus of this novel. Instead, it is a tool that is used when needed. It is not a crutch that the characters in this land use to do everything but something that is to be avoided at all costs. Especially since being caught with magic is the equivalent of signing your own death warrant.
If you’re looking for a fun story about poisons and romance, I think you’d enjoy this read. I found it interesting to learn about the different ways to detect poisons and how the body may react to them. While it may seem like a morbid fascination, I’ve always been curious about poisons and how they work. Snyder does an amazing job at outlining this very thing.
Before I go onto spoilers, can I just say how terrifying it is to think of spiders the size of small dogs? While only briefly mentioned in this book (and we don’t actually get to see them), I shivered when they were mentioned. It can’t just be the arachnophobia in me – giant spiders are terrifying.
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