Poison never lies.
Talia was once one of the 12 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.
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The book has an unexpected focus.
I wouldn't, but I would like to listen to a continuation
Add more travel and more action.
The Poison Eater is based on a tabletop RPG setting called Numenera. So I presumed, it’s going to follow a group of adventurers who traveled through a world 1 billion years in the future. Through ancient ruins full of unimaginable, magick-like technologies of 8 prior civilizations. But we got a story of a woman with a dark secret, who came to live in a nice city. She is torn between her goals and her feelings for 9 hours of that audio book. The rest 38 minutes are dedicated to a short and forced action scene.
That said, Shanna Germain (the author) is really good with characters, so I can’t say I did not enjoy the book at all. The exposition is very slow in the beginning, but that is understandable because Nuemenera is sooooo strange. It takes time to describe it properly. The decision to reveal some key events as memories of the main protagonist, makes it hard to follow the book in small segments (many audible.com clients like to “read” their books while doing other staff).
Despite all criticism, I hope Shanna is going to write a continuation of the story. It has a great large opening for it in the end.
Feels like a romance novel vs Sci-Fantasy
I probably didn't like it because it spends more time on inner brooding monolog about every single choice past, present, and future than I like. It does develop the character extremely well, you get to resolve her traumas along with her, every excruciating step. It's in a Sci-fantasy setting but does not feel or seem like a sci or fantasy book. It feels like a psychological trip down a very traumatized person's rabbit hole with little actual story or resolution. Everything is essentially background noise to the quantum level of infinite possibilities the character explores in her head that never actually happen.
Some people may appreciate that, but that isn't really what the blurb sold me. More details on what I mean by that in the spoiler section.
I'm turned off to the author and will probably start looking at narrators more carefully too.
I haven't heard any of her other work, but if it's always so uniform and breathy, anyone. I'm not very aware of voice actors for books, I just listen to them and enjoy the story. I don't pick books by who read them but by who wrote them.
The author's powers of description of a distraught and worried mind are amazing! I know the main character of this story better than most characters I have ever read. If this character development was applied to a great story where something actually happens at some point outside of the character's mind I would probably enjoy this more.
For Numenra fans: I am a huge numenera fan and enjoyed some of the interesting ideas and images it conjured, but it wasn't worth the time consumed in the novel. You may like it if you are into romance novels; its the closest comparison I have. If you aren't into them, your time is better spent on forums.
Oh, if you get the audio book, it felt breathy and lacked, in my opinion, the little things I'm used to narrators doing that help me know when the character is actually speaking, thinking or it is someone entirely different.
The blurb says: "Ex-martyr turned city defender has to choose between herself and her duty when her past comes back with a vengeance."
That never happens, she never actually becomes a defender, she never actually gets to make a choice, it's all a plodding psychological game in her head that leads up to that. But it never happens, her past never makes it. It is all in her head as a dark dreaded possibility.
She makes a whole lot of little choices that get her to where she can make 'the big choice', but again it is all a supposition about something that she "knows" is going to happen. There are a too many unresolved threads.