For Poison Study's tenth anniversary, the author Maria V. Snyder - along with Two Chicks on Books - is hosting a Read-Along of the book. This week, the "assignment" was Chapters 1-8.
I first read Poison Study back in late 2005, early 2006. I remember seeing it in the local bookstore, still in hardcover, and something about the cover - maybe the title, maybe the counts - drew my attention. Unsure if I would actually like the book or not, I sat in one of my comfortable over-sized chairs scattered throughout Schuler Books and started the story.
Ten years later, I own ever book written by the author.
But back to the Read-Along.
Starting the book, the readers are immediately thrown into Yelena's horrid situation as she leaves the dungeon on the way to be executed. Her crime? Murder. She doesn't deny it, but didn't give a reason either, making the reader curious about what could have happened to cause an eighteen-year-old girl to fill the son of the General who raised her.
Yelena is spared the noose, however, when she is given the opportunity to become the Commander's poison tester.
The first eight chapters introduce us to Yelena, giving us brief glimpses into her past, as well as Valek, the head of the Commander's intelligence network, who is also in charge of training Yelena. The author introduces us to different tasting methods as we learn with Yelena, and we also start to get an idea of the internal politics and how Ixia became the military dictatorship it is.
This is a book designed to grab the reader's attention immediately, subsequently giving just enough information to keep interest while building the world around the characters.