The Poison Eaters by Shanna Germain
Published by Angry Robot
Publication Date : January 17th, 2016
Available as eBook – 199 Pages
Source : NetGalley (thank you!)
Poison never lies.
Talia was once one of the twelve martyrs of the forgotten compass, a prisoner of the unhuman creatures known only as the vordcha. 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 long enough 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 was a little surprised by this one. I didn’t exactly know it was a fiction line of a tabletop game till I was about half way through, and that was only due to curiosity. The only real flaw of the book (keep reading) for me drove me a little nutty and I was googling for some extra information when I found out about Numenera. It honestly reads surprisingly easy. I tend to find tie in novels and fiction lines for games rely a lot readers having previous knowledge. This didn’t. It tells a story that any reader unfamiliar with the world can recognize and enjoy, of redemption and self forgiveness and finding home.
It gives us a very obvious Fantasy/SF cross world, and though it doesn’t hold our hand, it explains what we need to know about what and does so beautifully. The descriptions here were so rich and vivid I felt like I was walking and breathing in the streets with Talia. The description that really hooked me was that of her companion’s hair decorations, little touches such as tucking one gem back into place in a moment. It just created a lovely image in my head. The marketplace, and even her small room, I can still recall them easily. I can almost smell the marketplace it was so well described.
The characters were also dealt a lovely dose of this. Each one was well built and had something to them that made them stand out. It helped that it was for the most part a small cast but it was a small cast that had some depth to them. Even having finished this a few weeks ago (as I try to let my books stew before reviewing them now) I still recall descriptions and attitudes. I really hope to see more of them in more books! I’ll also add that I believe almost the entire cast, if not the entire cast were PoC (see cover) so totally a win for bringing those characters to fantasy and so strongly!
The only real problem I had (that had me googling as stated above) was some of the descriptions of the world from Talia’s past. That can be explained easily if you actually pay attention to the blurb and just look at the Numenera website. It did for me, after that I was able to correct place and picture it in the world.
Besides this, I say try this one! Even if you don’t play the game (though it looks very neat, click here to find out more) this one is a rich and vivid read. Mad props to Angry Robot as well for a sexy as hell cover! Featured image above is also from the Numenera site, so definitely check them out.