About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooma 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...
The first in a series, Snyder has created a world filled with lies, betrayal, murder, and magic. It's a place where an eye for an eye is law, and trials don't exist. At the start of the story, Yelena is waiting to be executed for the murder of the only son of a general. Naturally, when she's offered the chance to live, she takes it despite the fact that she has to become the food taster (to check for poison) for the Commander of Ixia. She's escaped being hanged, but she could die at any time....
It was nice to read a story with a strong female heroine. She doesn't need to be rescued, and she makes her own decisions (within the limitations that have been put on her by her handler). Her life hasn't been easy, but she never uses that as an excuse. I also liked that Snyder waited to reveal why Yelena commited murder. I won't give anything away, but it really made me understand and empathize with her character. I also loved the cast of supporting characters! Yes, I used an exclamation mark...I was always suspicious of them (which was, in my opinion, the point). I never knew who was trustworthy, or who would could be leaking information to the rebels.
I'm on my way to go pick up the sequel, and I'm sure I won't be able to put it down.
by Maria V. Snyder
Published by Mira