Apr 14, 2023

ARC Review--The Study of Poisons by Maria V. Snyder


Fierce, determined, dangerous. No wonder her soul called to his.

As Chief of Security of Ixia, Valek has spent the last fifteen years keeping Commander Ambrose and his citizens safe. With his complex network of spies, informers, and soldiers, it’s his job to hunt down and capture criminals, including the intriguing Yelena.

Sensing there is more to the story of why she killed a general’s son, Valek arranges for Yelena to become the Commander’s new food taster, training her in the delicate art of detecting poisons. As mysteries and a devious plot to harm the Commander unravel, Yelena’s presence becomes crucial. Will her intelligence, stubbornness, and survivor instincts be a help to Valek’s investigation, or a hinderance?

A companion novel to Poison Study, The Study of Poisons reveals Valek’s side of the story. Return to the world of Ixia and discover just how the lovely Yelena got Valek’s cold heart pumping!
I received this ARC from the author in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Maria V. Snyder returns to the Study series for one more lesson in The Study of Poisons. But this time around we get Valek’s point of view!  Since Poison Study was told solely from Yelena’s viewpoint, we missed out on a lot of the things Valek was doing (and thinking) but now all questions are answered with this one.

Valek is the Chief of Security for the Commander of Ixia and life has been pretty good the past few decades, but things are about to take a drastic turn when a new food taster is required when the last one died. The next food taster is always the next prisoner in line for death row, and this time that prisoner is a young woman named Yelena.

Valek studies her file and believes she would be a good candidate for the job, with  some training on poisons of course. So he begins training her and can’t help but see that she isn’t that bad of a person despite killing a general’s son.  As life in the castle moves along, Valek starts to suspect the generals of the other territories might be up to something involving the highly illegal magic. His number one suspect is Brazell, a general whom he has never cared for.

An insidious plot involving magic and murder begins to unfold and Yelena seems connected to it in some way. Could the woman he finds himself falling for be apart of a plan to kill his friend?

This book was one wild trip!  I read Poison Study many years ago, so I went into this one almost like a fresh reader! Everything felt new like I was reading it for the first time! Some things were familiar though, when certain events came up. But it is still a new story in some aspects as Valek was off doing things when Yelena was doing her own thing. We learn just how much Valek actually knew when talking to Yelena about this and that. I found him to be quite fascinating and I loved learning his inner thoughts.

Seeing things through Valek’s eyes was interesting too. We get to learn how and why he was always there for Yelena at the right moment. All the little secrets we wondered about from the original story are answered. 

If you have yet to read the Study series, which as you know I HIGHLY recommend, I would say you could read either this one or Poison Study first. I’d probably tell you to read Yelena’s side first just because that was the original way of things. Lol. The Study series, as it comprised of two trilogies was Yelena’s story, but getting this little taste of Valek’s mind was an extra treat! I loved that we still got a good amount of interactions with Ari and Janco! I loved those two and even enjoyed some short story excerpts from Maria’s newsletters involving Janco!

The Study of Poisons was a magical read indeed! This is the Study series installment we’ve all been waiting for and Maria has delivered a breathtaking story that readers new and old will enjoy! It was honestly worth the wait and I couldn’t be happier!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars

The Study of Poisons releases April 15, 2023


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