Author: Maria V. Snyder
Series: The Chronicles of Ixia
Summary from Goodreads:
Choose: A quick death and hell or slow poison and hell.
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.
Actual rating is 4.5
It all started out with Yelena’s chance for a new life.
I love the setting the of the story. I was never into fantasy or magic, but somehow this novel made me reconsider. The pace of the story was slow, with memories of Yelena strewn along the pages. As the big picture was slowly presented, I was able to empathize with Yelena for the choice she made. The themes of loyalty, betrayal, thirst for power, and even romance worked together to create this intriguing novel. I have to agree that this is a welcome break from the usual YA.
I love the characters in the story. They were realistic in their reactions to different situations presented to them. Yelena’s distrust and survival instinct came because of all the harsh experiences she had. Valek’s loyalty to the Commander was also explained. There was Rand who was torn by his good nature and debt. The evil characters were driven by their lust for power and greediness to the extent destroying other people. The only confusion I got was from the Commander’s past which was actually weird for me.
I was a bit disappointed with the romance between Yelena and Valek. Although it was very obvious that Valek liked her, I’m not sure how Yelena came to reciprocate the feeling. Maybe it was because she finally decided to trust him by recounting her past but I am unconvinced. I feel like all she views Valek as a protector and a teacher, which somehow leveled up to be a lover. Again, that’s just my opinion.
Will definitely read the next book in the series when I have a copy!
My Rating: ★★★★ (4.5)