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Home » literature » fiction » “Poison Study” (Maria V. Snyder): Review

“Poison Study” (Maria V. Snyder): Review


As I mentioned earlier, I spent yesterday travelling on a seven-hour-long plane trip with limited entertainment opportunities. As always, I was armed with various books (including that other Xmas read, The End of Mr. Y, which I’ve been writing about (but not quite finishing) here and here), but also, this time, a new Sony E-Reader, which my father bought me for Christmas. Being the bibliophile that I am, I admit that I wasn’t wholly sold on the idea when he brought it up, but I couldn’t think of anything better, and I confess that I thought it would be nice to be able to view the countless JSTOR articles I read on a more suitable screen than that on my Macbook.

Well, I’ll say now that I was (half) wrong, and the Sony E-Reader is marvellous for reading both online journals and books (although it will never take the place of books I truly love, only the sort of ‘travelling’ or ‘holiday’ books that one reads for simple enjoyment). It comes with several free books already installed, and one of them was Maria V. Snyder’s fantasy book, Poison Study, which I began reading on the plane because I’m rather a sucker for fantasy books. If you are too, I’d certainly recommend this one to you. While it certainly has no pretensions to be ‘Literature with a capital L’ (like some other books I could mention), it’s exactly what one needs on a plane ride, or even a slow Saturday afternoon: quick-paced, engaging, a likable heroine, lots of mystery, and equal amounts of action. Yelena is a genuinely likeable character, and she rarely says or does anything that I’m not convinced I would do in her shoes. Yalek, the man who trains her to become a food taster (and, naturally, the love interest) is not quite so engaging, but then, Yelena’s character and personal story is so much bigger than him that it seems right that he isn’t.

When in need of something light yet absorbing to read, I will certainly be searching for more of Maria V. Snyder’s books, for the e-reader or otherwise.



  1. Julz says:

    Hi Dominique!

    I ended up on your blog because of some link from the facebook thing. I read Maria V. Snyder’s book too and loved it! I don’t usually like fantasy. I picked up the book because I loved the cover, then liked the summary. It didn’t feel so much like a fantasy until the middle of the book, so it’s great for people like me who are not used to the genre. It makes it really believeable!

    She wrote 2 other books in that series. Be sure to pick them up. Magic study comes after (I got it for Christmas), and Fire study.


    • Dominique Gracia says:

      Thanks for the tip! I’ll definitely look into continuing this series, as it’s nice to keep up with characters you’ve already met.

  2. Peter Boumgarden says:

    Dominique… just stumbled on your blog from your comment on ours… its a great site. Keep up the good work, both in the blog and in your last semester at Harvard.

  3. xalwaysdreamx says:

    I really enjoyed Maria Snyder’s Poison Study too! I actually asked for this autograph-sticker and was pleasantly surprised that I got one. I haven’t read her other novels yet have you?

  4. Dominique Gracia says:

    Not yet, xalwaysdreamx, but I’m certainly going to keep Julz’s recommendations in mind for when I finally find the time! 🙂

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