The Poison Eater
In the distant future, a woman races to find the weapon to wipe out the civilization that enslaved her but finds herself drawn into the community of a thriving city.
The Poison Eater by Shanna Germain is the first novel set in the Numenera tabletop RPG universe. The setting is one billion years in Earth’s future with technology so advanced it seems like magic. Talia escaped from a race that enslaves other species to fight for them. She stumbles across a city where the ruler is chosen by surviving ten poisons, a feat Talia is close to achieving. By becoming the ruler, she hopes to obtain a weapon that will wipe out her enslavers once and for all.
Despite the setting and sci-fi/fantasy blending, this novel is an intense character study of a woman trying to literally rebuild herself. The writing is lovely and borders on the poetic. Equally impressive is that despite the strange setting, language and terms, and wondrous tech, Germain grounds the world through the characters and keeps the focus on them. The mystery of the poison-eating ritual and the looming threat of invasion drives the story, but the focus is ever on Talia, her past, and an unsure future. Overall, this is a fantastic sci-fi/fantasy novel but readers of any genre will fall deeply into Talia’s story.