Firstly, I loved this book. However, when I finished the book I couldn’t really figure out WHY it has been marketed as YA. It features a not so young-adult protagonist, deals with rape and brutality, violence as a means of defence and and features a very complicated romance. It has none of the markers of traditional young adult fantasy, and yet, it has been marketed that way. This is really the only problem I have with the book - everything else is amazing. The characters in Poison Study are captivating - they have lots of layers and complex relationships that come to light over the course of the story. Yelena is incredibly strong willed and tenacious, and the mystery that surrounds her past intrigues me. My initial impression of Valek was that of an unthinking henchman, but he is revealed to be much more. He eventually became my favourite character - especially because a lot of the humour in the book came from him as well as Yelena. While simple, the plot of Poison Study is enjoyable. There are some twists that are immediately obvious, but others that take the reader completely by surprise. One of the best aspects of the book is the writing. Maria V. Snyder shows she has complete mastery over her intricate story by telling it using deceptively simple techniques.While I had been wanting to dip my toes into the works of Maria V. Snyder for a while, I had not anticipated to enjoy Poison Study as much as I did. It was wonderful for me to read some YA in the vein of more traditional fantasy, and I look forward to reading the rest of the Study series. If you love fantasy, you should check it out!You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic.