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Maria V. Snyder

Maria Snyder fantasy author(1969- )
Maria Snyder’s first novel, Poison Study, won the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel in 2006 and the Salt Lake County Library’s Reader’s Choice Award. It was a 2005 Booksense Pick, and was nominated for four other awards. Read excerpts of her novels at Maria Snyder’s website.

The Chronicles of Ixia

The Chronicles of Ixia — (2005-2015) Publisher: 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.

Maria Snyder: Poison Study, Magic Study, Fire StudyMaria Snyder: Poison Study, Magic Study, Fire StudyMaria Snyder: Poison Study, Magic Study, Fire Study


Poison Study: Impressive debut

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Overall, I am impressed with Maria Snyder's first novel, Poison Study. It was well written and the main characters are likeable, complex, and engaging. The characters of the "supporting staff" are also well done. The dialogue is realistic and the writing style is pleasant and unpretentious. The pace is quick, there is political intrigue, spying, treachery, fighting, forgiveness, personal growth, and romance (although the single love scene was confusing and a bit corny).

However, the plot was somewhat predictable and there were few surprises. Also, the setting of the story is confusing. Chamber pots, swords, and castles with dungeons suggest a medieval setting, but then there are factories, camouflage, disinfectants, briefcases, pills, and dialogue that doesn't seem to fit that setting.

I was also slightly disappointed with the end... Read More

Poison Study: Pleasant surprise

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Poison Study was a surprise to me. I picked it up because Amazon recommended it for me, but reading the description and most of the review made me think that it was going to be a waste. In this case, I was pleasantly surprised.

Maria Snyder does a very good job of introducing a character in a dire, horrifying situation: Yelena is set to be executed for murder and is offered a choice between facing immediate death or accepting a position as the food taster for the Commander, who is the ruler of the nation she lives in. Snyder builds an interesting world — something like Sparta except women are not just for bearing children.

Yelena is well written and stays true to character with realistic fears, anxiety, and stubbornness. Surrounding characters are interesting, but they don’t upstage Yelena. They are not all equally well written (there are a f... Read More

Poison Study: Lightweight but entertaining political fantasy

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

I give this book a solid three stars. It didn't blow me away, but it entertained me and held my attention while I was reading it, and that's more than I can say for a lot of books.

My taste in fantasy runs to the sprawling political-intrigue epic with a bit of magic for spice, and books get extra points with me for elegant, lush prose. Poison Study is sort of a "lite" example of the subgenre when compared to my favorites (A Song of Ice and Fire, Kushiel's Legacy, Maledicte, to name a few) both in terms of plot and in terms of style. The plot of Read More

Magic Study: When dangling, watch your participles

Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

A brief overview of the plot of Magic Study is this: Yelena, the poison taster turned magician whom we met in Poison Study, leaves Ixia for Sitia, the country of her birth, to enter magical training and meet her long-lost family. Along the way, there are family tensions, new friends and enemies among the students and teachers at Yelena's school, and sinister forces that may claim Yelena's life, or that of one of her friends, if Yelena can't thwart them. It's a fast-paced and exciting plot, and I stand by my earlier assertion that Maria Snyder can tell an interesting story.

What isn't so interesting anymore is Yelena. There were hints of Mary Sue in her character in Poison Study, but here she blossoms into full Sue-itude. Yelena is not just a magician, she has staggering p... Read More

Glass

Glass — (2009-2010) Publisher: As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowen understands trial by fire. Now it’s time to test her mettle. Someone has sabotaged the Stormdancer clan’s glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians. The Stormdancers — particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade — require Opal’s unique talents to prevent it happening again. But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap into a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening. And the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear. With lives hanging in the balance — including her own — Opal must control powers she never knew she possessed… powers that might lead to disaster beyond anything she’s ever known.

fantasy book reviews Maria Snyder 1. Storm Glass 2. Sea Glassfantasy book reviews Maria Snyder 1. Storm Glass 2. Sea Glass


Storm Glass: Great characters, no tension

Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder

Opal, a student magician at the Keep in Sitia is having problems learning how to control her magic. Known as a “one-trick wonder” by the other students, Opal has a strong relationship with glass and glass making, but can do little else with her skills.

When a glass problem comes up in the storm lands, Master magician Zitora takes Opal with her to see what the problem is. As it turns out, the storm orbs that all the stormdancers use to capture the power of raging storms are breaking and killing stormdancers. Opal must figure out what is causing this to happen. In the midst of doing so, she becomes wrapped up in a much larger scheme than just the storm orbs being too brittle. Soon, Opal is caught up in a huge conspiracy and must come into her powers quickly in order to catch the bad guys and save the ones she loves.

I had a mixed reaction to Storm Glass... Read More

Sea Glass: Better than its predecessor

Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder

Opal Cowen has been summoned back to Sita’s Magicians Keep by the high council. Never a good sign. After an unsuccessful trip to find her lost friend Ulrick who has switched souls with her long time enemy, Opal heeds the summons and returns only to be put under house arrest. Her new-found power of siphoning the magic of others has the Keep on high alert and she must earn back their confidence.

At the same time, Opal is determined to prove that Ulrick is no longer himself, and becomes entangled in a plot to steal control over the glass messengers Opal creates for Sitia. Unless Opal can figure out who is behind the plot, all of Sitia may be in danger from something much worse than just some stolen magic…

Maria Snyder has proved wrong the common notion that sequels are never as good as the original. I enjoyed Sea Glass much... Read More

More books by Maria V. Snyder

Inside Out — (2010-2011) Young adult. Publisher: Keep Your Head Down. Don’t Get Noticed. Or Else. I’m Trella. I’m a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I’ve got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own… until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.


Healer — (2010-2013) Young adult. Publisher: Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan absorbs their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Fifteen Realms, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos. Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince — leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life…


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