It’s been a while since I’ve written anything beyond book reviews. Since I’m currently procrastinating from things that “actually matter”, I have decided to start a new series where I put some of my favourite authors in the spotlight. In celebration of the recent release of Night Study, I have chosen Maria V. Snyder for my first post.
Maria V. Snyder has been one of my favourite fantasy authors since I first read her debut novel, Poison Study, way back in 2010. Here’s the quick blurb from Goodreads about it.
Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison…
About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.
And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.
As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…
Poison Study was a fast-paced, high-action novel that held me at the edge of my seat. It’s one of those novels that I go back to every once in a while because this is what I compare other books to in the fantasy genre. It has set the bar, threshold and goal for any book that wishes to get a 5 star rating in this category.
Besides the enthralling plot as a new life as the Commander’s food – er, poison – taster, there has never quite been someone like Yelena, in my opinion. Celaena Sardothien of Sarah Maas’ Throne of Glass series probably is the closest comparison, with their strong personalities and ability to take care of themselves. However, that’s where the comparison ends. Yelena comes from a crazy background of abuse and torture, almost dying for a crime that was really more self-defense than murder. Upon her deal with the Commander’s assassin to be the new taster, life gets crazy for her from there.
From action to the wittiest friends (in the form of two soldiers named Janco and Ari) to her sweet and unexpected romance with Valek, Maria V. Snyder set the world afire in 2005 as readers from all over the world found themselves enthralled by the militaristic world of Ixia.
As with all good series, the following novels Magic Study and Fire Study were amazing additions to Yelena’s adventures as she dives into her newfound abilities. Unfortunately, they weren’t as heavily steeped in romance as I would’ve liked it – my only criticism as Valek always shows up so late into each book – but Maria had created a world that no fan could quite forget.
And from the urgings of these said-fans, a new trilogy has sprung up continuing Yelena’s adventures with Valek and Ari and Janco, along with a new cast of amazing characters set in a world you didn’t quite wanna escape from.
Shadow Study came out last year in 2015, and now, its sequel Night Study has just come out in stores.
For those who haven’t read any of these books, I urge you from the deepest part of my heart to give them a try. You won’t look at fantasy in the same ever again. This is my golden standard for fantasy books.
Besides the Study series that propelled her to fame, Maria V. Snyder has also written a companion Glass series following a character from the original Study trilogy. (Personally, this was the one series that didn’t sit well with me from her, for which I’m sad to admit.) Along with that, her Healer series (Touch of Power, Scent of Magic, Taste of Darkness) has all your characteristic Snyder fantasy elements but set in a totally new world that captures you as much as Ixia and Sitia did.
To read more about Maria V. Snyder’s works and read about the latest things going on with her, below links you to her website and Goodreads account where she actively updates with blogs.
I encourage you to explore the worlds in which Maria V. Snyder has created. Happy reading, my fellow bookworms!