March 10, 2013

REVIEW: Study Series (1-3) by Maria V. Snyder.

This review is a whole series review, and while I will talk about what I liked about all the books, there will only be a teaser for the first book, so that it doesn't ruin the series for you. There are also links to the Goodreads pages of each title, please don't click on them if you haven't read the prior book, as it will equate to massive spoilers!

Choose: A quick death or slow poison ...
On the eve of her execution for murder, Yelena Zaltana is offered an incredible reprieve - on the condition that she becomes the food taster for the military leader of Ixia, Commander Ambrose.

Avoiding poison is the least of her troubles, however ... General Brazell, father of the man she killed, has vowed bloody revenge; she's beginning to have feelings for her captor, Valek; and someone is plotting the downfall of the current regime.

In a desperate race against time, Yelena must learn to control the growing magical talent withinn her and master the demons of her past. The Commander's life, the future of Ixia and all those she loves depend on it ...

Advice to future readers; these books are addictive. 
As soon as I started to read Poison Study, I couldn't put it down! I was sucked into the world that Snyder has created with an incredible ease, and was constantly called by the lure of reading what was coming next. The two elements that made these novels so enjoyable were the characters and the plot. 
 The series is filled with strong protagonists, and antagonists, and I found myself liking and hating all those who I was positioned to. They are well characterised, and Snyder maintains a level of originality while still using the often used roles, giving them a personal originality that helps you relate to them. I was reading SF REVIEWS.NET's review of Poison Study, and something said stuck out to me about Yelena Zaltana, the protagonist:  
"At no time does Snyder fall into the trap of turning her into some superhero"
 While Yelena is certainly 'above average', her actions, motivations and speech never makes you feel as if she couldn't be real. What makes the Study series so rich is the plethora of lovable, and hate-able, characters that populate the encapsulating world. Even if you are not into fantasy, I would recommend that you read this series for it's characters alone.

My other main love of this novel is the story - it is extremely engrossing, and manages to take you on a path that you can't guess. Not bragging, but I usually guess the twists and turns of plots (probably because I have read a lot of books/ seen a lot of movies!) which usually leaves me feeling a bit cold. NOT Poison Study! I was so engrossed in the plot that Snyder has weaved, and didn't find myself predicting the barrage of twists and turns that it takes. Throughout the whole series, I never found myself bored, and was always keen to keep reading, just to find out what would happen next. 

I also think it is important to note that I didn't think that the Study series fell into any cliched traps with characters or plot, which is why I love this series so much!  My only problem is that there are only 3 novels.

I think you would enjoy this if you are a girl, 14+, regardless of what genres you prefer, the Study series caters for all. 

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