Friday, March 13, 2009

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

In keeping with the theme of an unlucky day, talking about my recently read Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder seems appropriate; click on the URL for its blurb.

I wouldn't class this book on it's own as romance although what occurs in the rest of the series remains to be seen. At the moment, it has romantic elements but it's mainly fantasy.

I really liked this book. The writing was tight and descriptive, without lingering. It didn't lose any tension; trying to put it down was very very difficult. Although some things were fairly predictable, there were also surprising twists and revelations. The relationship dynamics between everyone were constantly zipping around and moving. I was cheering for the characters. Maria Snyder created very memorable personalities and managed to manipulate a largish cast very well considering the length of her book. I very easily got pulled into their alluring world; they were living in an environment with some elements I hadn't encountered very much in the fantasy genre before: the former monarchy (stereotypical in the fantasy genre) had just been replaced by a new military rule and there was discontent left over from this. The writer got me thinking about some things: is a harsh regime such as the one set out in the book necessary? Is the Commander a truly kindly figure? The characters weren't perfect, you had to question your feelings for them in light of the sum of their actions.

A criticism I do have is that the villains (depending on whether you would classify some other characters as villainous or not) were a bit undercharacterised and caricature-ish, with their henchmen reflecting this. It's a bit suprising that the author who crafts her flawed protagonists so well would do the antagonists such a disservice.

I'm definitely getting the next in the series: Magic Study. The only anxiety I have is that the heroine who is already in danger of being overpowered may become so.

Those in the UK can get Poison study from Amazon here and in the USA from here.

This being my first review which was produced on a whim, I can see that notes-as-I-go-along would be incredibly helpful. Next time!

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