Audience: New adult fantasy
Length: 361 pages
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Publisher: Luna Books
Release Date: September 27th, 2005
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
Choose: A quick death . . . or slow poison.
About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.
And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.
As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear.
A GOOD START.
I’ve never had this book on my radar, and have only heard of it a few times. Yet, when a Bookstagram friend decided to do a read-a-long for it, I jumped on board! The premise was enough to convince me.
I found this interesting. It was a set-up I haven’t seen before and let me curious as to how all of these characters got here. Yelena was a great main character. Her strength and bravery in-front of horrid situations was amazing. I thought some of her inner monologues became repetitive, but Yelena in general was a favorite.
The romance between her and Valek was slow-rolling and enjoyable. It didn’t come on strongly and I found myself cheering them on. I adored Valek in his own right and these two made for a good story.
I’m a bit confused by the magic system here. I can’t even describe it because it kind of came out of nowhere and I’m still figuring out the rules of the game. I’m hoping in the next book there’s more explanation as to how it fits into the world. Speaking of the world, it was intriguing too. The way the land was split up, and how it was under a type of military regime. I’d be curious how this continues to develop as well.
I may have been left with a lot of questions, but the story really did work well as a first book in a series. I’m happy to continue reading them!
Overall audience notes:
- Fantasy + Romance
- Language: occasional
- Romance: kisses; one little detailed love scene
- Violence: murder, swords, physical altercations, arrows, poison
- Trigger warnings: mentions of being raped with one brief flashback scene to it; sexual assault and harassment, torture, attempted rape