Release Date: October 1, 2005
Age Group: Young Adult
Length: 440 pages
Choose: A quick death and hell or slow poison and hell.I loved this book. The pacing throughout the entire book is simply perfect--the relationships and character development is balanced with the plot of the story and I loved how it all fit together. Nothing felt forced, which I tend to find in most books similar to this.
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.
The way the characters develop is completely realistic, even though I kind of saw it coming from the beginning. It wasn't a magical transition, it was a slow, gradual, and I was rooting for it to happen the entire time. Yelena was amazing and I was cheering for her the entire time. I just loved her.
I had a slight issue with the way backstory was stuck into the beginning of the book, with slight hints that were clearly engineered to make us interested in what had happened but not explain until the end of the book. It was kind of irritating, but the inserts were short and infrequent enough that I could pretty much ignore them.
Overall, this was an amazing story with an interesting plot and brilliant characters. I highly recommend it to every fan of young adult literature.
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