I should have written this review sooner, as I've already forgotten some of what I was going to write. Hopefully it will come back to me.
Recently I came across Poison Study on Goodreads and thought it sounded like, well.... a good read! Checked it out at the library and was pleased to find that it did live up to my expectations.
Poison Study is the story of a young woman, Yelena who in awaiting her execution for the murder of the prince. Within the first few pages Yelena is dragged from her cell to be brought to the gallows (or so she thinks). Instead, she finds herself in the office of the chief of security about to be offered an amazing reprieve. She may chose to accept her execution, or become the Commander's newest food taster and live - although in constant danger of someone attempting to poison the Commander's food. As Yelena puts it, "Only a fool would refuse" and so she begins her training in the art of detecting poisons.
One of the things I most enjoyed about this book was the style in which the author revealed Yelena's past. Right at the beginning we learn that Yelena committed murder, and while we assume there must be a reason (because really, who wants to root for a cold-blooded killer?) we don't know much of anything about why she did it. Snyder does eventually reveal Yelena's whole story, but the way it is spread out makes it more interesting and less shocked for the reader. Some aspects of the tale are a bit gruesome and not having it all dumped on you at once makes it easier to read.
While this book is the start to a trilogy, it had a satisfying ending that also made me eager to read the next book!