Synopsis: About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.
And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.
As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…
Title: Poison Study / Magic Study / Fire Study / Shadow Study / Night Study
Author: Maria V Snyder
Pub date: 2005 / 2006 / 2008 / 2015 / 2016
Pages: 2144 total
ISBN: 9780778301929 / 9780778301929 / 9780778302650 / 9781848453630 / 9780778318750
I first encountered Poison Study as a teenager, it was the first fantasy I had read that had a dark side to it. The book starts with our female protagonist about be executed for murdering her tormentor – it’s safe to say there are no rainbows and happy unicorns in this tale.
There is, however, danger, corruption, an unknown power, and a seriously tempting assassin… Come on, like there’s ever a YA fantasy without one!
What makes this series brilliant is the protagonist, Yelena. She is definitely not one of the modern day YA stars; she does not whine, whinge, cry, or despair at her situation. Ok, she despairs a little, but you’d allow her a moment of weakness too if you knew what she had been through!
In fact, there is an entire host of characters that you’ll fall in love with. Other than Valek, the obvious contender for your heart, Snyder introduces us to the power twins, Iris, Leif, and Fisk – all of whom you will feel ridiculously attached to by the end.
I have to admit, Poison Study is my favourite book by far. It has the plot, the pace, and the characters – I read it in less than a day. The rest do tend to fall short at times in terms of plot or pace, but all are hugely enjoyable. In fact, I read most of the books in the day and even managed two in one day!
All in all, the Ixia Chronicles is a brilliant YA fantasy series and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the genre. My only warning, however, is to start reading them at a quiet point in your social life. If not, you might – like I did – start to begrudge your friends for wanting to see you when all you want to do is finish the book!