Ahhh, nothing better than to relax with a good book. So this is one of those titles I found while shelving books one day. It looked interesting but at the time I didn't have a spare moment to read it. I finally had a chance to read it.
Synopsis: Yelena is about to be executed for murder but is saved from the noose by an offer. She is offered the job as poison-tester to the ruler of the land. She accepts and is immediately poisoned. If she doesn't show up for her daily antidote, than she dies a slow and painful death. After being trained on how to detect various poisons she is put to work. While she tries to escape her new dilemmas, it seems trouble follows her everywhere she goes. Yelena needs to figure out how to control her magical powers, before they get her killed, and uncover plots to overtake the country and start a war. She is forced to make many difficult choices and learn new things about herself. More importantly, she learns how much she overcame but finding love and new friends.
Review: It's very Shakespearean in a way, almost Romeo and Juliet. Yelena biggest obstacle to overcome is her lack of self-esteem. Years of torture and fear have robbed her of parts of her identity. However, her perseverance to always keep moving forward brings her strong allies and love. While at the end of the book she triumphed over her enemies, she is forced to flee the country or be executed for being a magician. She is forced from her love, but this seems to be a temporary problem.
What I liked about the book is that it had a nice flow to it. You weren't bounced from one story to another and the rhythm worked very nicely. It is told in first person, so you have only Yelena's perspective on what goes on. This is makes the story a bit one-sided but it works nicely. This is the first book in the series, so the story will most likely pick up where this one left off. As is typical for most series, there are many gaps that still need to be filled in. There are parts of this story that are heart-breaking. I stayed up until 2am just because I wanted to see what will happen next. That in a nutshell should tell you how much I liked this book. 5 out of 5 stars for being inventive and keeping me up all night! If you like fantasy, than you should give this one a shot, I look forward to reading Yelena's further adventures.