I have lost count of how many times I have read and re-read POISON STUDY by Maria V. Snyder. It has been a few years since the last re-read, because I've been reading Maria's other books--there are so many! So while it's not quite like reading it for the first time, it's been refreshing in many ways. I love how it draws me in even after so many re-runs! (By the way, don't you totally want that new cover on a paperback to add to your MVS collection? I know I do!)
Thoughts on Chapters 1-8
I decided to start my read-along as a re-listen. The audiobook, read by Gabra Zackman, transports me back to 7 years ago when Fire Study came out. We sold out of the new book so fast, I had to wonder why I'd never heard of Poison Study before. I took it home and read all night. I don't think I moved from my bed until the last page was turned and the last tear wiped away.
Yelena, our main character, is sympathetic from the start, but not in a sorry way. I feel trepidation for her--I mean, she's evidently killed someone, she's paying with her life, and she's "set free" just to be poisoned? The first few chapters are a rollercoaster of hope and despair. The first time, I already knew I would enjoy the ride all the way to the end, because while she's down, she's not out. When she's offered a hand up, a glimmer of hope, she grabs it. She may not know yet what she's doing--there's a lot of self-discovery to come--but she's acting on instinct and a will to survive, and that made me love her at first sight.
Valek is a tricky one in many ways. Sure, he's in a position of power, and he's just poisoned the new poison-taster he hired out of the dungeon (so she won't run away, because she gets the antidote daily as long as she shows up for duty). He doesn't exactly inspire immediate thoughts of white-knight heroism... and that might be a good thing. He did offer her a chance to not wither away in the dungeon, but there's a lot of trust to be built if he and Yelena are going to be on the same team.
Again, already knowing what will happen, I'm reminded how the changes in perspective really kept me hooked throughout the series. On the one hand you have the close-ups. It's Yelena and her personal troubles, trying to stay alive, trying to come to terms with the past that haunts her, and trying to gain control of her life. On the other hand you have the big picture, the Commander and his state, cleansed of magicians (mostly by Valek), trying to keep orderly peace and erase a bloody history of Ixia which had been overrun by cruel and power-hungry people.
It's going to be an epic adventure, and this is just the beginning.
There's still plenty of time to join the 10th Anniversary read-along! You can also check out thoughts on Chapters 1-8 at the other read-along hosts.
The read-along schedule:
October 4th-10th: Chapters 1-8
October 11th-17th: Chapters 9-17
October 18th-24th: Chapters 18-25
October 25th-31st: Chapters 26-32 and closing post
Please tag your tweets and Instagram pics #PoisonStudyReadAlong! Link your read-along posts here:
10 winners to celebrate 10 years!
Grand Prize is a signed hardcover first edition of Poison Study and Magic Study (both books).
First Place a signed hardcover first edition of Poison Study
5 winners will get a signed cover flat of the original cover of Poison Study
3 winners will get a signed original bookmark for Poison Study