Summary (From goodreads.com):Choose: A quick death and hell or slow poison and hell.
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.
I'm not really sure whether this book is classified as Adult or Young Adult, but either way it's really good. I was instantly drawn into the strange world that Yelena lives in, and wasn't bored in it for a second. Yelena is a very likable protagonist and I had no trouble connecting with her. The story wove seamlessly and the action was never forced. It was exciting and romantic and completely took me away from reality. It had all of the parts of an excellent fantasy.
Yet, there were just a few things that kept it from reaching its full potential. One was the sometimes lack of description. I dont' think that I properly pictured Valek (one of the main characters) until halfway through the book, when I looked back on the first chapter and saw the description of his hair that I had overlooked the first time. It was also around the halfway point that we were given and estimate of his age. Before that he could have been anywhere from 20 to 50. The other thing was the lack of setting description. I suppose that she did a good job describing a room the first time Yelena was in it, but after that there was virtually none. These small things made it hard to picture what was happening and, in the case of Valek, to correctly guess character relationships.
Overall: Great story, I just wish that I had been able to picture things clearer: 4.5 stars!