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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2005 Maria V. Snyder
All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. This edition is published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A. All characters in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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Critic Reviews

"Riveting fantasy that unites the intelligent political focus of George R.R. Martin with a subtle yet potent romance....The first in a series, this is one of those rare books that will keep readers dreaming long after they've read it." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By A on 12-03-05

Fantasy, with a touch of romance.

I have to admit, I had some hesitation selecting this book as it was published by Harlequin (a publisher of which I am a little leery, as I expect to get something sugary-sweet and cookie-cutter). But after reading this book, I need to do some reassessment! This book was full of interesting characters, and the story was engaging and enjoyable.

What I am not so sure of, is if this novel was really supposed to be filed under "Romance"?

Sure, there is a romance, eventually, but it doesn't play a huge part of the book. Political intrigue, magic, and nefarious plots all play much larger roles in this story than romance. Overall, this book would be better classified as "Fantasy".

So if you are looking for hard-core romance, then this will be a disappointment. But if you are looking for an engaging story, with some fabulous characters (including a heroine who was no wilting wall-flower!), then this is definitely recommended.

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37 of 37 people found this review helpful


By Cheryl on 07-22-08

Not my usual type of fiction...

Not my usual type of fiction and was pleasantly surprised how good this book was. I bought this book when it went on one of those weekend only sales because it was cheap and had high reviews. I really don't listen to fantasy type novels, and wow, I will definitely read this author again. In fact after I finished this book, I bought the next two, Magic Study and Fire Study, which were each as good as the first one. Wow, is all I have to say, this was one book I will recomend to everyone!

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22 of 23 people found this review helpful

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