Title: The Poison Eater
Author: Shanna Germain
Publication Date: Jan 17, 2017
I received an ARC from the publisher, Angry Robot, through NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion in any way.
Poison never lies.
Tali was once one of the seven martyrs of the forgotten compass. She barely escaped that life with her body and soul intact.
Now she has a new life as a poison eater in the city of Enthait. Here she is hailed as one of the city’s protectors. No one knows her history. No one has asked about her past. She’s been here so long that Enthait is her home now, these are her people. She loves them and they her.
But in the Ninth World, the past is a living, breathing thing. And when it hunts you down, you can run. You can fight. Or you can die.
I had no idea this is a game-tie-in book but it explains why I felt a bit lost at times. I wish I had known that at the time of reading so I could have googled and gotten some background information. That being said, I did enjoy this read and hope that more books in the series will follow. I also felt it was easy to understand for the most part and I feel certain that even being unfamiliar with the game, one can enjoy this read.
Poison Eater Talia is on a mission. For this mission to succeed, she needs to become the Orness. To become the Orness. she need to survive 10 poisonings, and at the end of each poisoning, receive a prophetic vision since Poison Eaters are the seers of this tribe of people. But Talia isn’t of these people and she isn’t really a Poison Eater which also makes her a false seer and a big fat liar. But she would do whatever it takes to destroy the Vordcha and save as many children as she can for the Blackweave, even if it means betraying Isera, her lover and current Orness. She has a plan that she is fairly certain will work but she does not know a lot; that is about to change and she will discover exactly what her role is.
This book has a really intriguing plot, a heroine worthy of praise, selfless and brave, a web of deceit which only she is aware of and diversity in spades. I felt at the time of reading that it suffered from sparse world-building but I’m guessing the assumption is that the reader is familiar with the game and thus the world of Numenera.
I loved watching Talia navigate this world, part of it yet apart from it with the secret of who she really is and what her real intentions are. I loved the diversity of race and sexual orientation which was subtly interwoven in the general storyline without trying too hard to tick all the boxes. The pacing was good but I felt it lacked in the areas of major conflict since i felt like it could have benefited from more fighting, but that’s probably my personal preference rearing its head.
The characters are developed and interesting. I really like the idea of mechanically enhanced beasts and humans and I’m curious about the Vordcha and the Darkweave . This world is complex and I’m still not sure I understand all of its workings. It might help to do some research on the game while reading.
Overall, an intriguing Sci-fi/fantasy read, a complex world filled with interesting inhabitants, diversity , a strong female character and themes of redemption, love and sacrifice. Read this if you are looking for a fantasy with prominent Sci-Fi elements and also if you’re familiar with the game and the world of Numenera.