Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Wow! I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did!
The writing was clean, the story was intense, and the characters were pretty "human." By that I mean that I could see them as actual people, not just objects inserted in a book to make the plot move. There are only two things keeping this from a five-star rating:
1. (view spoiler)[Yelena falls in love with Valek, which seems strange because she's a rape victim, almost dead, and he treats her with contempt for the longest time. Plus, isn't he like 10-15 years older than she is (not that that's ever been a deterrent in literature, just struck me as odd)? And isn't she only in her late teens? But apparently he loves her too, and just doesn't want to show it. It's nice that she gets her happiness (mostly) in the end, I really appreciated that after everything she's gone through, but it seemed odd that it would be with Valek. (hide spoiler)]
2. (view spoiler)[The ending. Whaaaaaaaaaaaat is up with the ending? I can appreciate the idea of a "happy ending," and it's interesting that the Commander gives Yelena and the other magicians a chance to "escape," but you would think that he would have learned something from all of this. The idea that a commander must be resistant to change doesn't strike me as beneficial to the country's overall well-being. And maybe that's an intentional flaw in his character that the author will expand on further later. I understand change can't happen overnight, but he should have at least considered allowing some change in, especially after what Yelena did for him and who he really is. (hide spoiler)]
And that's all the bad I have. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy, adventure, danger, and a character who starts off incredibly weak (and I mean really, her intelligence was the only thing she had going for her when she came out of that dungeon) but learns to trust herself and come out of it a stronger person.
*goes off to add the other books to my to-read list*
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