*Originally Reviewed at Witchmag's Boekenplank*
It’s summer. Summer means vacation and vacation means: LOTS and LOTS of time for me to read ^^ So when I went to the library to check out as many books as I could, I saw this book standing on a shelf. As soon as I read the blurb I just knew I had to take this book (and the other two books in the series that were fortunately standing next to it) with me. I’m so glad that I made that decision! It’s a fantastic book that sucked me right in.
The first reason why this is such a good book was easy to find: Yelena (like the name very much ^^). She’s about the be executed and gets the following choice: to die or live a little longer as the food taster of the Commander of Ixia. With the hope to live, to escape, Yelena chooses the latter, not knowing what the consequences of that decision will be… As reader you follow every step she makes on her journey. From learning how to be a taster to performing life threatening missions. You’ll see how Yelena, despite everything she encounters, stays strong, how she won’t let anything get the best of her. She’s obviously a real fighter. Who’s able to keep her cool in even the most dire situations and finally, she’s someone with a heart of gold. Aka my favorite type of main character ^^
Another reason is that Maria V. Snyder managed to create a fascinating world. Where a dictator has seized the power. This time, however it’s not as bad as it looks. It’s even a vast improvement for the “common” people compared to when they were ruled by a king. The dictator himself, the Commander, too is unlike other tyrants you may have heard about. He has some aspects that will simply blow your mind. It was also intriguing to read about the magic that you can find in this world. I’m looking forward to get to know more about it in the next book, Magic Study, that will probably answer all my questions regarding magic ^^
The last but not least reason: the writer wrote a very captivating story. Where nothing is as it seems and with amazing twists. With an endearing romance, that for once is not as important as the story. It’s more in the background. You read about it between the lines and all the big events. It felt like a rather nice bonus, especially that lovely romantic scene at the end!
4 HEARTS. A great story with an amazing lead cataract, a captivating story and an intriguing world. What more can a girl want when on holiday? I definitely look forward to the next book!