So the title of this book becomes quite obviously relevant when Yelena, who is destined for the noose, is given the job of food tasting for the commander. She is taught about all the different poisons by Valek, until she can identify them by their scent and taste.
Obviously, this job has its risks. But it’s still better than definite death, which Yelena was expecting after murdering the former king’s son. No one knows her reasons for murdering Reyad, but over time, the reader discovers the truth of King Brazell’s orphanage.
While working with Valek, Yelena finds herself treating the castle like her own home. She becomes friends with a pair of guards after “running away” to test the ability of the Ixian soldiers. The main chef, Rand, and the seamstress also become good company. Yelena finds herself starting to forget her past notions of running away to Sitia.
Things start to get complicated when Brazell turns up, followed by a powerful magician. Yelena meets Star, who pays people in return for information. Could one of Yelena’s friends be working for her?
The romance element of this was, to me, completely wrong. I just didn’t feel anything between the two characters (who I won’t name, so as not to spoil anything) and I think it was just totally irrelevant. I didn’t feel like Yelena needed any kind of love interest, as she was a good character on her own.
Time passing and the development of characters and relationships just didn’t feel great in this either. I didn’t feel Yelena and Rand’s friendship becoming a thing, and I didn’t feel time passing at all, really. I wasn’t excited by the book, even though the plot was clever and seemed interesting.
So I don’t have any outstanding feelings for this, meaning I’m going to give Poison Study 3 stars out of 5.