Thursday, 6 November 2014

Studie van Gif / Poison Study

It’s November, and this means there are only two months left before my challenge is over. And holy shit, this year has just flown by. I’ve read a lot of different genres, from fantasy to non-fiction, from literature to children’s books. So I thought I should do something special, for the last stretch, so to speak.
Here’s the plan: for the next two months I will read books of every genre for adults we have at the library. These are fantasy, non-fiction, regional novels (this might be a horrid translation. I think family novel would be more suitable), romance, thriller, detective, and horror. Then on the second floor we have literature which isn’t categorized per genre, but since I need two more categories I’ll just take a genreless novel (yes, genreless is a word now) and a ‘surprise novel’. It might be a historical novel, maybe I’ll do something crazy and read a western. I might lose my mind and read porn. Who knows!
Another thing that I want to do with this extra challenge is discover new authors - which means I’ll be avoiding the authors I know. The only thing that can somewhat steer me from ‘bad novels’ is the five-star rating system our catalogue has.

So without further ado: Poison Study! A fantasy book by Maria V. Snyder.
Boy, she’s bad at metaphors.

I knew what kind of book I had in my hands after the first paragraph:
Locked in darkness that surrounded me like a coffin, I had nothing to distract me from my memories. Vivid recollections waited to ambush me whenever my mind wandered.

Meet Yelena, a girl about 18 years old who has been living in the dungeons the last few months. When she’s about to get hanged for her crimes, an official offers her a way out; get hanged or become the commander’s taster. Things don’t really start to look up after this decision, as this seems to really set the ball rolling for intrigue, assassination attempts and romance.

This is a very typical fantasy novel; the main character is an orphan with a tragic, mysterious past, and who is incredibly talented at everything she tries. The book itself should have been longer, because some things are only described when they need to happen. I’ll try to explain this with an example; when Yelena decides she needs to learn some self-defence she practices in an abandoned part of the castle with three other people. It’s only after she’s been practicing for several months that we suddenly learn they also do special ‘warm-ups’ called catas, which of course help her focus and channel her magic better. (Oh yeah, and she can do magic. Of course.)

Still, I think I’d give this novel a five out of ten, because the escapism of the storyline works. But really? Describing fear as ‘having a feather in her stomach’? Not cool, sister.

Until next time,


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