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Summary: Locked away in the castle dungeon, Yelena has every right to believe she is about to be executed for murder. Then, she is is given another chance at life, if ... The chief of security offers her a place to stay in the palace and free meals fit for a king, but there is a catch: Yelena takes the risk of being poisoned at any moment. Willing to do anything not to be executed, Yelena chooses to become the Ixia commander’s food taster. That's not the only risk: the security chief fed her Butterfly’s Dust, a poison for which the antidote must be taken daily or else she will die. Yelena's means of easy escape evaporate. With each new idea for escape, ensuing events are making it harder. against her. Meanwhile, Yelena is discovering a mysterious magic buried deep within her. After overhearing rumors of a plot to seize Ixia, she knows war is brewing. With every bite of the Commander’s meals, Yelena grows more paranoid that this one is her last. Now she must decide: will she use her new-found magic to fight for the rebels or to aid her captor. With her growing affection for the chief of security, the choice may be more complicated than it seems. The is the first book in a young adult fantasy series that is a high interest / low readability book.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 12 and Up; read yourself: 11 and up
Young Reader Reaction: This book was very enjoyable! There plot is very involved, and it goes in a lot of different directions I didn’t expect! The detail and research that went into poison and poison tasting is obvious and something readers will really appreciate while Yelena
trains in this field. I found it fascinating. I also liked how well done the romance was written. It didn’t feel forced or random. The story jumped right into the action, so this is a book that can easily be read in one sitting.
Adult Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Pros: Lots of action and fascinating details about poison will have readers on the edge of their seat from beginning to end.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. You may end up reading it more than once just to get all the details and plot pieces.
Educational Themes: The story of poison tasting and food tasters is real. If your reader becomes interested in the subject, talk with your librarian about both fiction and nonfiction books that might interest them.
Notes: A Reading Tub® volunteer submitted this review. She borrowed the book from their local library.
Literary Categories: Fiction - young adult, fantasy, adventure, series
Date(s) Reviewed: March 2015
Other Reviews: No Critics Reviews or reader feedback found at the time of this review.