*Book and Image provided by NetGalley for an Honest Review
Talia is The Poison Eater, a title given to those who risk their lives (and often lose them) by taking poisons that give them clues about the dangers on their way to the city so the zaffre can cut them down and keep everyone safe. Problem is, for the past 7 poisons, Talia doesn't see glimpses of the future, she sees her past and has been continuously lying about dangers so no one sees her true plan. If she survives ten poisonings, she becomes the orness, in charge of the aria, a weapon so strong it can defeat all of Talia's enemies, but take the city out with it.
I did not find out until well into this book that it was actually the result of a kickstarter and that Germain had written many short stories about Numenera and the poisons before writing this book. Fair warning, this book is definitely for people more familiar with those short stories. Many times I felt a little lost on what was going on in the world or even what the world was. I highly recommend reading through some of the short stories by Germain before reading this book.
That being said, the world I found myself in was an interesting one. A nice blend of technology and belief. A real story about how people can change, and I'm not talking about just the main character. The characters that you meet in this book are interesting and memorable, even though Germain has to speed through some of the introductions and scenes (this isn't a very long book). As per the usual, though, my favorite characters are the little girl and the warbeast who looks out for her.
Some of the pacing feels a little off. Almost every time we're introduced to a character, we get a flashback to when Talia first met them and it can be little confusing figuring out if you're reading "now" or "then". After a while, however, we stop meeting new characters and pacing gets pretty steady. The ending felt a bit rushed, but it did set itself up pretty well for a sequel without giving us a true cliffhanger.
Overall this book is a bit rough around the edges, but it was still entertaining enough that I gladly read the whole thing and enjoyed the ride. If you're looking to get into a new science fiction world, start out by reading some of the short stories by Germain to get familiar with it and then dive into The Poison Eater.