Poison Study (Study, #1) by Maria V. Snyder
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....
Her handsome and strict mentor, Valek, is an assassin. Being a master of basic survival and combat, Valek possesses extraordinary wit and fighting skills. As the master-apprentice relationship between Yelena and Valek evolves into something more passionate, they also find out that one of the generals in the country is secretly planning a Coup d'état to overthrow the current leader of the country --- the Commander.
Pros: Everything about this book is good, I can't wait to read book 2!
Achievements of note for Poison Study include:
- Won the 2006 Compton Crook Award for best debut novel from the Baltimore Science Fiction Society
- Won the 2006 Reader's Choice Award from the Salt Lake County Library System
- Won Cover Cafe's 2007 Cover Art Contest (Trade paperback edition)
- Won Paperback of the Year from the Wirral Schools in the United Kingdom (wirral-libraries.net)