Sunday, 22 July 2012

Poison Study - Maria V.Snyder

Title - Poison Study
Author - Maria V.Snyder
Text Type - Young Adult Fantasy

“I want you to have this.” He extended his hand. On his palm sat the beautiful butterfly he had carved. Silver spots on the wings glinted in the sunlight, and a silver chain hung from a small hole drilled into its body. Valek looped the necklace around my neck. 
“When I carved this statue, I was thinking about you. Delicate in appearance, but with a strength unnoticed at first glance.”

Yet another riveting, spellbinding novel has emerged and stolen my breath away. And it is no surprise that Snyder was once again the one who is capable of that. I am convinced that this beautiful tale has indeed poisoned my heart in the time it took to read a couple of pages. Poison Study was nothing short of the things readers look for straight away, so addicting that even the ominous midnight darkness couldn't stop me from putting it down. My thoughts were being pulled in every direction: transported to Snyder's creation of a strange world, understanding the interesting politics of the system, the compellingly dark secrets, dealing with the twists and turns of events and hopelessly falling in love with the strong characters she has produced. I couldn't help but notice the similarities between this book and her latest book Touch Of Power, both engaging and captivating and most importantly, unpredictable. Snyder's work on this enchantingly dark story has once again promised another formidable series.

There are many opinions as to which element renders a book to be amazing, which aspect that the author must perfect. And whilst there are many different options, the characters and especially the lead role plays a major part in whether or not the novel is successful. I took a liking to Yelena, a female protagonist who is marred with painful scars of her past. Her fate and survival has depended on so many other people, yet she holds on to her compassion and continues to use her experiences to get stronger. Other than representing growth, she carries a message that Snyder wants the audience to understand. Being terrified or afraid doesn't make Yelena weak or fragile, it is how she bounced back from her dark past in the end that defines her as a emotionally powerful character. This background is also applied to the male lead Valek, who shows his strength through physicality. Equally affected and haunted by his experiences, Valek becomes such an admired character through his sheer determination, refusing to get beaten down. While Yelena trains to fight to her physical limit which helps her renew and retain her mental strength, Valek's strong mind allows him to be unbeatable. Both so enticing, it only consolidates the potential that the book contains.

While almost any author is more than capable of introducing themes of love and describing past experiences, Snyder has mastered and further developed her writing with themes of passion and is able infuse it with haunting ideas. Although ultimately targeted to a young adult audience, I believe that this book would be appreciated by more older, sophisticated readers. There is a profound depth to the book that can only be understood with maturity. It really induces thoughts around abuse and being mistreated, hence why it is surely not for readers who are too young. But it is clever how Snyder feeds these dark scenes in with an otherwise adventurous and suspenseful storyline. Having these secrets brought to light through multiple flashbacks, often triggered by things in the present was an effective way to tame our curiosity, yet wish for more at the same time. The novel places emphasis on the importance and consequences of trust. While relationships can be founded on trust to create a sense of safety, it is also important to realise that it can be abused, leading to betrayal and resulting to isolation in a very vulnerable state. Yelena's impossible situation is a prime example of how crucial trust is, her constant danger forcing her to learn where to place her trust.

With a combination of mystery and fiery passion for love and survival, Poison Study takes fantasy to a new level of high quality writing and thrilling action. There is no choice but to read the unpredictable and shocking revelations over and over again. After discovering this was Snyder's first published novel, her unbelievable talent is distinctly obvious. This book gives me more than enough evidence to believe this series should continue to be amazing. I can't wait to see how she embraces new ideas, presenting the characters with new challenges that will test their limits. It is a wonder how this novel can be so educationally enchanting, leaving you pondering long after the last page. Her writing is so rich in detail with easily identifiable themes, a dark beauty of a story about sitting on the edge of both life and death.

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