Thumbs up for Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. Fantasy.
I had heard good things about this trilogy from various sources, so when a copy of the first one showed up at work I took it home with the thought of sampling a few pages. 71 pages later, I looked up and realized it was past bedtime. The main character is a woman convicted of murder who is offered, instead of execution, the chance to become the local dictator’s food taster. Her situation is followed through in interesting ways, and I very much liked the realistically slow-growing romance. The only thing that bugged me was the extremely simple writing. Not bad, just very simple – comparable to a typical young adult book. Then I discovered in retrospect that it was marketed as a YA book, so I am more forgiving about the prose (but because of some of the themes I would not just hand it indiscriminately to any fourteen-year-old). Is it going to go down in history? No. Great summer brain candy for a fantasy fan? You bet. I will keep an eye out for the next two.
Valek laughed. “That was the knife I used to kill the King. He was a magician. When his magic couldn’t stop me from plunging that knife into his heart, he cursed me with his dying breath. It was rather melodramatic. He willed that I should be plagued with guilt over his murder and have his blood stain my hands forever. With my peculiar immunity to magic, the curse attached to the knife instead of me.” Valek looked at the weapons wall thoughtfully. “It was a shame to lose my favorite blade, but it does make for a nice trophy.”
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