Poison Study (Soulfinders Book 1) Kindle Edition
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About the Author
When Maria V. Snyder was younger, she aspired to be a storm chaser in the American Midwest so she attended Pennsylvania State University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology. Much to her chagrin, forecasting the weather wasn't in her skill set so she spent a number of years as an environmental meteorologist, which is not exciting…at all. Bored at work and needing a creative outlet, she started writing fantasy and science fiction stories. Over a dozen novels and numerous short stories later, Maria's learned a thing or three about writing. She's been on the New York Times bestseller list, won a half-dozen awards, and has earned her Masters of Arts degree in Writing from Seton Hill University, where she is now a faculty member.
Her favorite color is red. She loves dogs, but is allergic, instead she has a big black tomcat named…Kitty (apparently naming cats isn't in her skill set either). Maria also has a husband and two children who are an inspiration for her writing when they aren't being a distraction. Note that she mentions her cat before her family. When she's not writing she's either playing volleyball, traveling, or taking pictures. Being a writer, though, is a ton of fun. Where else can you take fencing lessons, learn how to ride a horse, study martial arts, learn how to pick a lock, take glass blowing classes and attend Astronomy Camp and call it research? Maria will be the first one to tell you it's not working as a meteorologist.
Readers are welcome to check out her website for book excerpts, free short stories, maps, blog, and her schedule at MariaVSnyder.com.
You can also follow Maria on Facebook and Goodreads.--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- File Size : 1201 KB
- Print Length : 431 pages
- Word Wise : Enabled
- ASIN : B006WEHP1K
- Publisher : Harlequin Teen (1 March 2011)
- Language: : English
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: 1,109 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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I read this book in a few hours and then went looking for the next one. Yelena and Valek and two characters that I enjoy and can relate to.
Set in a more barren time with magic, the book has a King Arthur feel only without the dragons. The life is primitive and yet not, it is a very old world feel and a nice change from my regular futuristic sci-fi preference in books.
A twisty plot. A badass heroine with a damn cool character. A super cool hero and and all round great read.
I really liked Yelana and the story line rollicked along with all sorts of suspense and mystery and there was even a splash of romance.
I really, really wanted more from the romance component (but that is just me- cause I love me a good romance with LOTS and LOTS of build up). This one had all of the build up but lost me a little at the climax - pardon the pun.
Overall an excellent read. Highly recommended and I would DEFINITELY read more from Maria V. Snyder!
Top reviews from other countries
First of all, Yelena is a great heroine. She isn't over powered, she isn't weak. She's been through a lot but Maria Snyder doesn't take every second line as an opportunity to remind us of this. Yelena is shaped by her past but she is very invested in forging ahead with her future as well. Her interactions with other characters felt real and consistent with her own characterisations. She was intensely likeable, without always being "good". Based on her alone this would have been given a high rating. Add in a romance which absolutely had me on the floor with the steady, subtle building that Valek and Yelena had and, Snyder, you had me at "food taster".
I also really, really liked the fact that the plot was important. This book had substance, with an over arching story of spying, deception and power grabbing throughout. Much is it is linked to Yelena herself, giving her good reason to be involved in big events which would usually be far outside of a simple food taster's realm of interest. Similarly I liked that the magical elements were woven skillfully into this. Yelena's discovery of her powers, as well as her uncovering of the good and bad around her not always being what they seem, created growth in the character as well as richness in the world.
Any supporting characters that Yelena interacted with for any significant length of time were all graduated with their own qualities and backstories. I loved the power pairing and Maren and the bad guys were sufficiently loathsome for me to detest. In fact the loathsomeness of them brings up my only small complaint; Snyder is very quick to be graphic when it comes to blood and gore, but her romance is much more coy, for want of a better word. There's a kiss here and there, but anything more is floridly described as "souls joining" or something equally ethereal in nature. Compared to the grounded nature of the rest of her writing, it seemed to stick out a little. But it's a small complaint and didn't impact on my enjoyment.
This is a must read - especially I feel for fans of Throne of Glass (I feel like this is better). I'm ploughing straight onto the sequel.
Addictive and action packed book after a slow start. Some plot holes, and awkward moments, there’s romance but it doesn’t take up a lot of the book but at the same time, because of this, there doesn’t really feel like there’s a good build up. There is sexual violence against the main character so if this is a trigger, don’t read it.
After a slow start, it does up the pace, with more action and fighting and interesting plots and turns. Definitely recommend reading this.
Valek in the beginning appears to be cold, cruel and selfish, with no apparent redeeming feature. However as the books progress he becomes a more likeable character. No he is not the perfect boyfriend for the heroine, rather we see his personality and that, while at times he remains a mysterious character he exudes a quiet confidence.
All the characters have been developed so that they have their own background and quirks. For example Janco rhymes when he fights. They is also Ari, Janco’s fighting partner, and co-mentor to Yelena. Janco and Ari’s scenes were always light-hearted and full of banter. It always made me smile when I saw their names on the page.
While there is a romance, it is not overwhelming nor does it feel like the plot is overridden by the love story, instead it stays nicely burning in the background.
The one thing that really bothered me about this book was the extreme violence and use of rape against Yelena, which was written in a causal style, which made me feel very uncomfortable.
Yelena’s story is a journey from being slated to be executed, to being given a second chance (even if there is still a chance of dying) and how to make the most of opportunities given to you and what you can achieve.
Overall this is a light-hearted fantasy (especially if you ignore the violence) that is easy to read and will appeal to a wide number of people.
In this first book we meet Yelena, an orphan, murderer and prisoner who is soon to be executed after almost a year long stay in the Commander of Ixia’s dungeons. But fate is on her side. When she is offered a chance to live in exchange for her lifelong service as the Commanders new food taster (a job with great benefits but a very low mortality rate) she jumps at the opportunity.
… But perhaps death would have been the easier option. Now with potential poison lurking in every meal, and a general determined to see her hanged for her crimes, Yelena must also contend with out of control magical powers that she must keep hidden from the Commanders spy master, Valek, at all costs. But when enemies from her past catch up with her, Yelena find herself a pawn in a much larger game where the future of the whole country rests in her hands. But can she escape death long enough to play her part...?
This a a really gripping read. The characters are amazing with intriguing personalities that range from jovial and warming to cryptic and secretive. Everyone has a hidden agenda and its often hard to know who to trust. Enemies become friends, while friends can turn into enemies, and through the whole book Yelena is constantly met with surprises of both the good and bad varieties.
Yelena is also a great heroine. She’s admits her fears and always tries her best to face them. She has a quick mind and steely determination, but often gets into trouble for her act first, think later attitude. Yet you can’t help but admire the resourcefulness and creativity she puts into overcoming each new obstacle that is thrown at her.
Valek makes for an unusual and unique love interest as his loyalty to the Commander often forces him to act in ways that go against Yelena’s ideals. However they overcome each threat together and I like that despite their uncertain beginnings, Valek and Yelena form a trusting bond in each other.
Ari and Janco however are also rated among my favourite characters. Their hard won loyalty and witty humour add something special to the story while other characters - such as the generals and magicians - aid in thickening the plot and add to Yelena’s already stressful life.
I also love Maria V Snyders use of foreshadowing too. She gives enough hints for the reader to make assumptions about the direction in which the story is heading, but only reveals that actual truth bit by bit through various backstories spread evenly throughout the whole book. All of which add to the stakes in Yelena’s ever increasing dilemmas.
This truly is a fantastic read and ends on a perfect note that makes it easy to slip immediately into the next book - although do look out for the short novella that follows this story, Assassin Study. Overall though Yelena’s story is just too good to put down! Rivetingly deadly, this delicious story is an easy five star read!
Once she begins her new job she has many obstacles to overcome including making friends (being a convicted murderer isn't easy!), dealing with death threats and attempts on her life, and also coming to terms with what happened to her and the other orphans at her old master's house, where she commited the murder. There are plots and mysteries and various threads to the story that kept my attention quite well. I liked Yelena. She was a solid protagonist. I also liked the characters she meets in her new role. I thought there was a decent amount of action, suspense and magic and a nice little romance that didn't swamp the main storyline.
So why havent I given 5 stars? There's nothing wrong with it per say. Like I said, its good. It just didn't blow me away. I've read other high fantasy books with similar storylines which doesn't help. And I actually figured out a huge twist in the story way before the twist was revealed. Although triumphant at being a clever-cloggs, I was also disappointed that this left no 'shock factor' for me.
But... I am definitely going to read the other two books in the series whenever I get my hands on them because I do want to know what happens next!