Wednesday, 11 August 2010

More 1001 books to get excited about!

My next book on my 1001 list is (19) Poison Study by Maria.V.Snyder. This is what I have written about it on review site, Dooyoo....

"It's not often that I get this excited about a new fantasy series but I can honestly say, with my hand on my heart, that Poison Study is a brilliant start to what looks like will be a series to remember! Although I am probably some way behind, I have only just discovered this author and, from the strength of Poison Study, I can honestly say that in Snyder I may have found at last an equal to my favourite fantasy author, Robin Hobb!

Poison starts much like Hobb's Assassin books with a young girl being held prisoner in the castle dungeons for the crime of murder. As the next to face the noose, she is given a choice; either she goes to the executioner or she becomes the next food taster for the Commander....a job that has its obvious perils as she will have to be trained to reecognise a whole host of different poisons in order to detect their presence in the Commander's food!

The decision seems like a no-brainer but, with the father of the man she murdered very influential in the Castle Court, Yelena soon finds herself facing death and danger at every turn; not just when she tastes the Commander's meals! With plenty of people only too glad to see her dead, her new life becomes a constant challenge...not least when she comes to the realisation that she is far more than she appears to be with a latent and hidden ability to do magic; yet another thing that endangers her life because magic is banned in all Ixia and is only practiced over the border in Sitia!

Everything about this first novel screams Robin Hobb! We have the mentor, Valek, who takes the place of Chade in the Assassin books and the whole training to be a spy that closely resembles the training that Fitz had to undergo in Hobb's novels. The way that Yelena has to fear constantly for her life and becomes embroiled in political espionage and intrigue is likewise similar but that is not to do this book any disservice as this is a very different series! It quickly becomes apparent that this trilogy is going in a different direction to the Assassin novels and I only make the comparison to emphasise how greatly impressed I was with this debut fantasy novel!

There is very little wrong here and I, for one, could find no faults other than it is a little short! That is no bad thing however, as too many fantasy novels try too too hard to become great epics and it is nice to find a book for once that contents itself with the story it has to tell and that is it!

I bought this for £1 from my local Sainsburys but it is available for an equally low price from Amazon online. It has been around for a while as this was first published in 2005 and there are two other volumes that follow this entitled Magic and Fire Study. And you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be picking those up as soon as I can lay my hands on them!

If you like Robin Hobb and think that other authors just can't compete then check this series out! You will not be disappointed!"

If the rest of the series is as good as this, then I will edit the list to include the whole trilogy rather than just this book but I thought it important that this got a mention straight away as it has been a long time since I last got this excited about a series and anyone who knows how much I love Robin Hobb will know that I do not make the comparison lightly!

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