Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
While I liked aspects of this book, other elements kept me from enjoying it as a whole. I did like the setting in a dystopian society and the way Snyder made me keep reading to understand it. Having said that, it took me a while to get my bearings in this fantasy world.
Yelena is a courageous and realistically flawed young woman, but I didn't really care that much about the characters. Her love interest was more sadistic than romantic and just filling her need for a father figure/someone to control her, since she had no memories of her original father and then had that role filled by both Brazell and Reyaud. Actually it was kind of an uncomfortable romance for me.
Although I appreciated the treatment of bedroom scenes (just mentioning it with no details), I was really disturbed by her descriptions of torture flashbacks and references to rape.
Learning afterward that the publisher Luna is an imprint of Harlequin has helped me understand the novel, and Maria Snyder seems an appropriate writer for that label. Snyder's writing voice is not mature (first novel) and can be cliched sometimes, but the plot was interesting enough to hold me for the duration. After reading it, however, I just thought, "Wow, that book was dark and kind of disturbing, and it's not really a series I'd like to follow." It seems too dark for YA lit and not complex enough for adult fiction. But if you liked The Hunger Games, this feels like a very comparable book.
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