Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Poison Study by Maria V Snyder *****

Yelana is an orphan. (Thus continuing the tradition of many child protagonists, e.g., David Copperfield, Harry Potter, Violet Baudelaire, Anne of Green Gables, the list goes on and on, as the easiest way to give a child protagonist room to grow and act is to kill off their parents. The other perennially popular choice, since before Elizabeth Bennet, it to make the parents silly and ineffective.) Yelana, with no one to help her, is rotting in a dungeon for murdering the prince - she slit his throat - no denying that. On the day she is to be hung, Valek, advisor to the Commander, propositions her.
Yelana, I'm offering you a choice. You can either be executed, or you can be Commander Ambrose's new food taster. His last taster died recently.
Yelana replied,
A fool would refuse the job.
Ultimately she admitted to being no fool and her adventures into magic intrigue, self-defense, and murder blossomed into a story that moved so quickly that the book ended long before I was ready.

As with many science fiction novels these days, this is the first of a series, but it still manages to deliver a satisfying resolution while still leaving room for the obligatory sequel. Note: This is a romantic SF story, published by an imprint of Harlequin. However, it seems to ignore the normal romance requirement for silly sex scenes. I suspect this is intended to be a YA novel as the sex doesn't go beyond adolescent yearnings and fantasies and a chaste kiss or two.

Poison Study by Maria V Snyder is a great read.

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