Poison Study (Poison Study #1)

Content Overview

Overall Content



Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking


Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty


Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood


Potentially Intense Themes


**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

My Opinion

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) I once gave this book 5 stars. It’s still good, but I don’t feel I can recommend it to everyone like I used to. Going through to edit it for my website made me see just how much violence was in it.

The story is a fun question to consider. If you were to be executed but given the chance to be food taster instead, is it worth it? Are you just prolonging death?

For the content, like I said, the violence is high. There are torture scenes the main character relives multiple times. There are also experiences that happen to her that are very intense. There is a rape scene, there is murder and there is torture. Swearing is medium, other intimacy situations were minimal.

Poison Study (Poison Study #1)

Maria V. Snyder

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…

-Excerpt taken from the back of the book.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

Detailed Content Review



H***- 15

S***- 1

A**- 2

B****- 5

D***- 27

Bas****- 4

Religious Cursing-



G**- 1


Derogatory terms etc-


Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking

Two people drink a toast. 

A young woman is poisoned every single day then given the antidote every morning. It is part of a sentence she endures so she will not run away. 

A young woman is given a sleeping poison without her knowledge. 

A man buys a small group some wine to celebrate. 

A drunk man runs into a young woman and passes out. 

A man drinks wine.

Many bottles of brandy are consumed at a party. 

A woman comes on to a man but he refuses her, saying she’s drunk. 

People toast with cognac at a dinner. 

Poison is slipped into multiple drinks. No one is gravely hurt.

Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty

** There are details in this section that may be sensitive to some readers.

Two men talk about how to get to an unconscious prisoner before she dies, to “have some fun.”

If one refuses to wear a uniform, the punishment is to be tied naked in the town square. 

During a torture session a man makes a young woman strip off her clothes.

** A man rapes a young woman. He ties her up, rapes her and leaves her bloody. His fingers were inside her afterward. Then deeper. He demands another round. 

While holding a young woman against the wall, a man puts his hand between her legs and leans against her. She faked pleasure, he called her a whore and started unbuckling her belt. 

A young woman wonders how a man’s uniform would look pooled at his feet. 

A man feels that inside he is a woman. Possibly, he is a woman dressed as a man. 

A young woman massages a man’s back then reaches around to undo his pants. 

A young woman and man are stripped and searched. 

A man and young woman kiss while lying down. “His pleasure was my ecstasy. Utter bliss came in short snatches….we were happy to try again… feasting on the feel of his body in mine…”

A couple kiss “with passion and desperate urgency.”

Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood

A young woman remembers being tied up with flames around her. One person suggests lighting her hair on fire. These memories come to her often. Once she was tied to a pole and whipped. Another, she was hanging from the ceiling in chains. Another, she was forced to do acrobatics with no clothes and chains. She was whipped repeatedly. Another time he locked her in a room for weeks on end. She wakes from a beating, naked. He lists all the ways he will torture her and hurt her. He claims he will rape and whip her. He does rape her and blood covers her back and thighs.

A young woman is in chains in a dungeon. She is filthy and given very little water. She is charged with murder. When her chains are removed they leave bloody, raw flesh. 

Two men grab a young woman and she bites one. She runs and breaks a window, blood running down her arm. A man kicks the men and shoots them with tiny darts, knocking them out. 

A young woman sees the ghost of the man she killed. His throat was slashed and bleeding down his shirt. She sees this many times. He also talks to her. 

A young woman awakes to a man grabbing her and holding her off the floor. 

Four men corner a young woman. A woman orders her killed. A garrote was tightened around her neck. A man attacks. There are knives and beer mugs used as weapons. A neck is snapped, nose broken, blood gushing.

A woman uses magic to cause brief, but searing pain on a young woman. 

Babies born with the slightest hint of magic are killed. 

Someone holds a knife to a young woman’s throat. 

A man shoves a young woman and kicks her. 

A young woman grabs a knife and slices a man’s throat, then again, blood spraying. 

A young woman is shoved against a wall and a knife is held to her. 

With a man physically threatening her, a young woman knees him in the groin and takes his knife, drops it and breaks his arm. She hears the crack then punches his nose, blood rushing, then kicks his kneecap, breaking it. She kicks his ribs and punches him. 

A man pinches off a young woman’s airway and releases it.  A man intervenes, straddling him and clutching his throat. Using magic, one man causes searing pain in her abdomen. 

A man is shot in the chest with an arrow, blood soaking his shirt. A young woman attacks a man with a bow, hitting his knees, arms, windpipe. A man with a sword chases a young woman. She knocks him down, but he straddles and chokes her. She grabs a switchblade and pushes it into his gut. His blood soaks into her clothes. She does it again toward his heart and has to roll his dead body off her. 

A young woman punches a man in the groin. 

Eight men point swords at a couple. 

A man threatens to hang a man’s head in his office. 

A young woman kicks a man sending him into a wall with a bone-crunching sound then he falls limp. He cracked his head on the stone and blood is pooling.  A man breaks a man’s neck. He then fights three men, blood droplets covering his face. 

Guards kill three young men as a joke. 

Two men fight, one carves a letter in the others chest. 

A man kills multiple guards with a sword. A man uses magic to cut off a young woman’s air. She is thrown across the room, head hitting stone. There is fighting back and forth with swords, a young woman is slashed in the abdomen. A man is hit on the temple. Two men are aggressively fighting with swords. One stabs the other. Two enter a hallway full of bodies, blood, arms and legs. Blood is covering the walls, floor. One man is found with a sword in his stomach and poking out his back. 

Two people take a blood oath, slicing their palms. 

Two people fight many guards in a dream.

Potentially Intense Themes

A young woman imagines her body dead. 

As a taste tester, a young woman endures symptoms of poisons; nausea, hallucinations, delusions, vomiting, etc 

A young woman debates suicide. 

A young woman has a dream about a woman killing a snow cat, blood dripping from her spear. She then slit its throat and caught the blood in a cup to drink it. 

**As an Amazon affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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