Yelena is about to be executed but is unexpectedly offereed a choice; become the Commander of Ixia’s food taster or hang for her crime. Yelena decides to be the new food taster a position with a very short and painful life expectancy, especially when the Commanders chief of security tricks her into taking a poison for which he is the only one with an antidote. But momentous times are approaching and Yelena suspects there’s a plot to murder the Commender that ties in with her horrific past.

I am not in general a fan of YA books…but I really loved this. It was a great book, it wasn’t as intricate and heavy as some fantasy series making it almost seem like fantasy-lite, but this also made it a very easy read, as it wasn’t bogged down by lots of complicated new politics and magic. But this didn’t make it any less interesting and I really liked the main character of Yelena, and her sometimes-mentor-sometimes-friend-or-more Valek, an infamous assassin, and the man who poisoned her.

The story in this draws you straight in and although I thought it was obvious what was happening I was still completely absorbed in the plot. The world was also quite intriguing, Ixia is under a military dictatorship almost, everyone has a uniform and is assigned a life time job once their skills have been assesed, but although there are obvious problems with that kind of society I found myself reluctantly liking the Commander much as Yelena does.

There was a little bit of romance, which I really enjoyed, watching their relationship change from almost enemy to lovers was as enjoyable as the main story. As it’s a YA book, and not a romance, all sex is fade to black or done with vague eupemisms, which is fine I was just glad they finally got together. I also liked Janto and Ari, Yelena’s self defense teachers, they added some humour to the books.

This book was great it had some fantastic characters and ideas, and it kept me glued to the pages and I cannot wait to find out what happens next.

Did you like this review? If so, please tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

[about-author author=”Maria V Snyder”]

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  1. A new cover for this book? Looks good!
    I have this in my TBR list and had sort of forgotten about it. Nice review, makes me think I better move it up the list before I forget again.

  2. Great review! I’ve already read this series a couple of times and you’re making me miss it.

    (Just an FYI… this series isn’t considered YA)

  3. I really enjoyed this one when I read it as well. I actually didn’t even realize that it was considered to be YA. I’ve been meaning to read the 2nd book in this trilogy every since. Great review!

  4. I’ve never read this book, but thanks to your review & the rating you gave this book, I have put this on my TBR list. I hope I enjoy it as much as you did. 🙂

  5. Much prefer this new cover. I read this book ages ago, can’t remember much about it now just that i liked it but ended up having to wait ages before I managed to get the other 2 books in the series. Was worth the wait tho.

    Always like my fantasy with a bit of romance in it!