You have been awaiting execution for killing an abuser. A stay will be put into place if you willingly become the Commander’s food taster. You’ll be putting your life on the line to make sure the man who conquered your country won’t be killed by poison.
You are Yelena. Valek is your keeper.
Infamous for his skill as an assassin, Valek’s are the hands that protect Commander Ambrose from the shadows while simultaneously keeping charge of Ixia’s security. He manages a network of spies and men who are his eyes and ears throughout the country. His biggest claim to fame is defeating the old kingdom’s magician king (and he holds the coolest trophy from that altercation in the form of a dagger with dripping blood from the transferred curse.)
This is his history. You are his future.
For you, he is a bundle of contradictions. He blesses you with a way to preserve your life from the executioner’s ax while feeding you a poison to keep you at his side. Of his own creation, butterfly’s dust will kill you inside 24 hours if you aren’t fed an antidote daily. So you see, he is also clever and as you work with him, highly intelligent, discovering conspiracies and plots against his straightforward, rigid yet fair Commander. While he is for all intents your jailer he doesn’t want you to fail, helping you to learn your duties as taste tester and even protecting you from thugs sent to kill you for escaping justice.
It’s no surprise then when you develop feelings for the man…
Maria V. Snyder’s Study series focuses on Yelena, a developing magician whose abilities are out of her control. Valek is her life’s partner, found at the least opportune time in her life. If you enjoy magic, empowered females and balanced mates then this series has all the makings of story magic.
BTW, even though Valek is 33 years old I did not see him as the book publishers did in the cover above (from a story written between the books). To me he’s a little uglier, more war-torn and worried from having the safety of his whole country on his back. Also I imagine his ability to repel magic is his real allure, it’s like an aura that draws you in…much sexier than some random cover model.
This month I’m participating in a writing challenge to post everyday in April (except Sundays) called the A to Z Challenge. I’m exploring my love of characters, find the full list here. Read some of my other writing posts here. What characters do you love?