Showing posts with label book series. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book series. Show all posts

Sunday, January 22, 2017

[Review] Poison Study (Study #1) - Maria V. Snyder: Food Tasters and Poison





In POISON STUDY Yelena was arrested for murder and is released from the dungeon to become a food taster.


What intrigued me: I've seen this one around a lot.

Let me love you, Yelena!

The story starts right off with Yelena getting released from her dungeon, malnutritioned, almost hallucinating, and absolutely exhausted. POISON STUDY had me from the first page.

Snyder has a way of conjuring up images with words that make this novel easy to read and the fantasy world easily accessible. I often struggle with the High Fantasy genre because I don't really encounter concepts that fascinate me. Same with POISON STUDY to some extent - I didn't really care about the fictional region of Ixia that is ruled by different generals that have their own territories and force everyone to wear uniforms. 

I zoned out whenever there were intricate descriptions of uniforms. The whole world is certainly a weakness of POISON STUDY - the story about Yelena could take place in any other fictional world and be just as fantastic. I didn't find the world building particularly inventive or outstanding.

Making a murderer the food taster doesn't sound that interesting and groundbreaking of a story either, but it just is. There doesn't happen much in POISON STUDY, aside from Yelena getting attacked continuously by the soldier's of the father of the guy she killed, but yet it's ridiculously addicting. The writing is top-notch, the story feels like you are Yelena, you're experiencing everything first-hand and wandering through the castle yourself. I seldom have found myself so thrown right into a book as I read and grown attached to a protagonist.

Wonderfully refreshing concept

If you read a lot of YA and are very tired of seeing the same cliche tropes everywhere, POISON STUDY is the novel for you, because I don't think I counted a single one. No love triangles! No Mary Sue! No plot convenience! Actual danger! Consequences for messing up! It's so refreshing to read a book that makes you feel like the protagonist is in actual danger the whole time.

However, this book is very, very, very slowly paced. I did like this at first, but the more the pace slowed down, the more I disconnected from the characters. I do like to know what I'm getting myself into when I start a novel and the introduction of magic halfway in confused and annoyed me a little. POISON STUDY takes a completely different direction halfway in, causing me to lose interest completely. I was very enamored with the premise of the food taster and would have loved to just see an story about intrigues without any magic.

POISON STUDY awkwardly turns into Duel of the Magicians and this is just not what I'm personally interested in and/or signed up for. Regardless, I did enjoy this and think it's a good read!


Rating:

★★★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

POISON STUDY is a fantastically unique novel. I really needed this breath of fresh air and I can recommend this book to you, because it's just so creative and fun! If you don't mind a dash of magic, sure, go for this!



Additional Info

Published: March 1st 2007
Pages: 409
Publisher: Mira
Genre: YA / High Fantasy
ISBN: 9780778324331

Synopsis:
"Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison...

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear...
 "(Source: Goodreads)

Have you read the Study series?

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Why I Hardly Ever Read Sequels and Seldom Finish Book Series

Anyone who's been reading for a while knows that I review a lot of book series on my blog. I hardly ever complete series though and more often than not you'll see me read a sequel, dislike it, and then stop reading the series (or even the author!) altogether.

I feel like book series are always a commitment. Most people I know, very much to my shock, buy an entire series before having even read the first book. And then they'll go ahead and read all books, regardless of whether they liked the individual novels or not. I'd never do that.

Especially when I'm reading a series, I'll need to love the world and the characters and ideally the writing so much that I'm excited for the sequel. Or at least want to see that nice cliffhanger ending resolved. Something, anything like that is a must for me to continue the series. Naturally, that hardly ever happens. 
Too many books are forcibly turned into a series, don't make sense as a series, and are just overall drawn out. Even with those, I still get people asking me all the time why I won't continue and give the series another shot with a sequel. The long answer is this.

There are too many better books out there!

To me, there are too many books out there to even remotely consider sticking with every series I start. I think the first novel in a series is to be treated the same way as a regular stand-alone. Don't like, don't pick up another novel by that author. I make most of my reading decisions like this, thinking about the other books I've read by the same author and asking myself whether I really want to waste my time with something I very likely won't enjoy.

Just think about that wasted time that you could've spent reading something you'll enjoy, possibly even a new favorite. I'm always angry about every one or two star read that wasted my time, considering that I could've read something better in the meantime. Aren't you?

Why would I continue something I hated?

With book series it's even more than just a time commitment. If I don't care about the characters, don't care about the world, possibly even hate the writing, why would I waste any time on that? 

Sure book series look nice if you have all the books displayed beautifully on your shelf, but what's the use if you hated the entire experience and had to force yourself to continue? If I already bought the whole series because it was discounted or whatever, you bet I'll still get rid of those darn sequels if I hated the first one or was very indifferent to it.

An argument I hear a lot when I post my reviews to tumblr is: "Hey you'll probably enjoy the sequel more because reason x and y." Well, I certainly won't touch that sequel with a ten foot pole if I gave it a two or one star rating. I don't understand why you would ever complete a series, hoping that the next book will be better. 

Sure, if you enjoyed the first and didn't like the second so much, I totally get that you might read the third. I've done that plenty of times. But when I've hated book one, there's no reason why I would remotely consider continuing and wasting my time. Why would you?

Do you finish every series you start? Do you pick up sequels to books you hated?



More on book series:

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Popular Book Series I Started but will NEVER Finish feat Cinder, Talon, Zodiac & more




I'm generally hardly a person that sticks with a series unless it absolutely knocked my socks off. Therefore I simply got a lot of unfinished series on my shelves. Some of them well-known. Here are they:





THE DARKEST MINDS  - Alexandra Bracken
I think this is simply a case of being too late to the party. I'm not sure whether this book inspired lots of similar dystopian books that read exactly the same, or it was inspired by them. I felt like I've read 78 books like this already, mabye I would've liked this more had I read it after the release. 

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES - Kami García & Margaret Stohl
I think I will maybe give other books by them a chance, but I really wasn't a fan. I found the Southern theme too over the top, despite this being undoubtedly a very skillfully written book that's surely innovative in the right places. I felt like the story of the two protagonists wasn't really interesting enough (to me), to want to read a sequel.

THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER - Michelle Hodkin
I think the hype simply ruined this for me. I was expecting something completely different. A thriller, a horror story, just something fast-paced and exciting. I found the novel not really exciting at all and too romance-centric for my taste. 




ZODIAC - Romina Russell
I don't know what happened here, I love astrology and sci-fi, yet this just didn't hit the right spot for me. Maybe it's because the majority of the characters are human, I would have loved some more aliens. I mean it's space, come on!

TALON  - Julie Kagawa
Again one of those books that I'm positive I would've liked had I read it earlier. Maybe this would have been something for 14 year old me. Again, the tropes and the entire world feels so recycled! I love paranormal romance usually but this lacked any ounce of originality in my opinion.

HOURGLASS - Myra McEntire
I love this book. But she decided to switch protagonists in the sequel and I'm not really a fan of that.




CINDER - Marissa Meyer
I really didn't like anything about this. The hype really had me super curious especially because I love fairytale retellings and sci-fi. This one has it both! I found the diversity/Chinese aesthetic super forced and lowkey pretty racist. It really ruined everything for me to be honest!

SHATTER ME - Tahereh Mafi
I think this is just an overall case of "not for me". The writing, the characters, the plot - I'm surprised I even managed to finish this in the first place.

RED QUEEN - Victoria Aveyard
This book is simply hit or miss if you look at everyone's reviews. For me it was a miss, for reasons you've probably heard about.


Which book series will you never finish?

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