Actual rating 4.5Full review: http://onabookbender.com/2011/07/20/review-poison-study-by-maria-v-snyder/Yelena’s life sucks. She has been condemned to death — whether by execution now or poisoning later, it doesn’t matter. The final result is the same. Reading Poison Study makes us wonder how this story could manage not to break our hearts. Death awaits Yelena as surely as she lives and breathes. How can there possibly be any sort of acceptable ending? And as if being food taster and risking death every day isn’t enough, mystery and other threats begin building with every new day.Valek was an incredibly intriguing character, and even though I was not always sure what he was up to, I knew I liked him. I have a thing for enigmatic men who possess the skills to kill you but choose to…do other things with you instead. There was really no way to stop me from liking him. And I felt the draw between Valek and Yelena, though like Yelena, it was difficult to decipher Valek’s true feelings. Although the romance is not the main focus of the plot and is rather light, it still provides an integral thread to the story, and without it, I would not have enjoyed Poison Study as much as I did. And let me not forget the rest of the supporting characters — they were well-written as well.While reading, I rocketed between being shocked the story was moving so quickly, thinking the story couldn’t possibly work out to my satisfaction with the amount remaining, and wishing there were more to read. If not for life getting in the way of my reading, I would have easily devoured Poison Study in a single day; it captured my attention right from the opening lines. Poison Study is the kind of book you remember long after you have finished reading it. And yes, in case you were wondering, Poison Study did manage to end to my satisfaction.There is so much more I could say about this book, but it would give too much away, and I’d rather you just read Poison Study for yourself.