Why the hell was this in the romance section?
Okay, okay… There’s a romance in it. It is first hinted at approximately 3/4 of the way through.
But it’s not a book that focuses on the romantic entanglements of the main character. It’s a book about politics and magic. It’s as much adventure, mystery, and fantasy.
Poison Study is not a romance.
This is a well-told story. You get a good feel of the characters, the world, and the environment without feeling like you’re drowning in info-dump. The characters are solid and feel like their lives also exist beyond the page. The main character’s life sucks, but she takes full responsibility for her actions which led to that point. When she goes emo, she forces herself out of it, meaning the reader isn’t subjected to pages and pages of angst and woe. Also, as the first book in a trilogy, the balance of “wrapped up” vs “loose ends” is well done.
Again, there’s not much I can put my finger on and say “this is bad.” I retain my small “ugh” for all first-person narratives. Also, relating to the character’s life sucking… this book deals fairly frankly (though not terribly explicitly) with all the bad things which can happen to a 17 year old female living in the household of a nobleman with no morals or ethics, and the results thereof. As such, I wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers.
The Bottom Line
Definitely worth the price, and I’m looking forward to wading into the local Barnes and Noble and hitting up the romance section for the next one. I’m also mentally placing Maria V. Snyder on my list of authors to watch. 4/5.