Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Maria V. Snyder Book Signing

It's sad to think that I knew nothing of Maria V Snyder before April 13th. That was the day when Frankie emailed our critique group about her because she was coming to a local Barnes & Noble for a book signing on May 9th. I read the summary of her "Study" trilogy (Poison Study, Magic Study, and Fire Study) and checked them out from the library that day. Little did I know my life would be put on hold for the next couple weeks.

I was addicted. Addicted like I haven't been in a very long time. Currently I'm in a heavy reading phase, and after ten pages of Poison Study I knew I had to put on hold both Jodi Picoult's Plain Truth (I was 1/3 through reading) and Christopher Moore's Bloodsucking Fiends (I was halfway through listening to the audiobook) until I'd finished all three. (And for those who aren't familiar, both of those other books are completely engrossing and awesome too.)

But Poison Study sucked me in. The premise was really cool: Yelena, a nineteen-year-old death row prisoner, was offered a choice -- the noose, or being trained as the newest food taster for the Commander, ruler of Ixia. She chose life, albeit a dangerous one. I'm not aiming for this to be a complete book review, but the novel delves into both Yelena's past and her country's politics and weaves them together in a fantastic plot.

Worthy sidenote: I'm not big on political plotlines, but this one kept me interested. There was surprising maturity in its subtle presentations of opposing types of government; I never felt like I was being condescended to, and Snyder allows readers to create their own opinions through Yelena's experience.

What really entranced me and kept me going was character. Snyder gives every character such depth, and Yelena herself is not even a pure heroine. She's fierce, smart, and capable, and I couldn't help but root for her as she plots her escape, even as she begins to enjoy aspects of her new life. One of my favorite characters from the start is Valek, Yelena's dark trainer/boss and the Commader's head of security. (Talk about a sexy older man fantasy.) And I want Janco and Ari to be my big brothers.

Magic Study continues in the next chapter of Yelena's life, and it introduces many additional characters. Snyder gave her fantasy world even more depth by sending Yelena to Sitia, the land to the south of Ixia. The expansion felt very natural, and I ate it up. I won't reveal any of the plot, so as not to ruin the ending of Poison Study, but oh wow. And the stakes get even higher for Fire Study.

When we met Maria, I was over halfway through Fire Study. Maria was gracious and funny, and she had a bowl of Dove dark chocolates on the table that endeared me to her immediately. I was ecstatic to learn that her new "Glass" series centers on Opal, a character introduced in Magic Study. Sara, Frankie, and I picked up our autographed copies of Storm Glass and chatted with Maria about our newfound obsession with her writing.

I finished Fire Study that night, and I felt very very satisfied with the ending --- as both a reader and a writer. I intended to pick up Storm Glass immediately, but life got a little in the way. I doubt I can wait more than another week, and thankfully Maria's already finished Sea Glass, the second book in the series, and it's coming out in September. (God bless prolific writers.)

Anyway, I highly recommend Maria's books. (And not just because I discovered we attended the same high school --- which is random and really cool.) I'm sure everyone else will add in their thoughts about them later on, so check back for more!

Check out Maria's website and her MySpace page.
Have you read any of Maria's books? What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I havent read any of her books, but they all look very interesting.


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