Published by Luna Books on Sept 1, 2006
Genres: High Fantasy, YA
Format: Paperback from Purchased
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Choose: A quick death… Or slow poison…
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…
After reading this book, I have decided that I love assassin stories. I’ve read a number of them over the past year that I loved, and this is definitely in that top list. There is excitement and intrigue and it’s just plain fun.
Yelena is a great main character. She has an unfortunate past that while not fully revealed, is explained enough for me to feel quite bad for her. Her childhood and early adulthood are the stuff of horror stories, and yet she has worked really hard to overcome them. She’s strong and intelligent, and very likable.
While I really like Yelena, my favourite character is definitely Valek. I absolutely love him and his straight-faced, unrevealing expressions. Part of my enjoyment comes from Yelena’s continual guessing and questioning his thoughts and actions. Trying to understand what he’s thinking is a difficult yet entertaining job. He has a hidden soft side, and is a very lovable, albeit deadly, assassin.
I really enjoyed the plot overall, and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. I want more Valek and more Yelena because they are just so entertaining, and more assassinary (is that a word) because I’m apparently strange and love stories with assassins.