The Poison Eater is a novel set in the Numenera universe. This one is by Shanna Germain, who is the co-creator of the award-winning Numenera RPG world. Her short stories, essays, poems, novellas and more have appeared in hundreds of books and publications, and The Poison Eater is a strong addition to that catalogue.
Talia is the latest Poison Eater. The newest one in a long line. A line of people who are relied upon to poison themselves in order to inform the city of Enthait about what dangers are coming.
No one knows anything about Talia, she appears to have just shown up in the city one day. She refuses to talk about her past, and for good reason. Talia was captured by the vordcha, horrifying creatures who are both organic and mech. They slaughtered all of Talia's warrior sisters, and "enhanced" Talia before she escaped them. She still has nightmares about them, and bears the scars from what they did.
In one of her poison induced dreams, Talia sees them coming. The protectors of the city are sent out to try to stop the horde, and Talia is frightened that the woman she loves will not return. While she waits and frets, Talia does her best to uncover plots, learn more about the last poison eater, and discover where she fits in Enthait.
The Poison Eater is part Sci-Fi, part Fantasy, part Dystopian fiction. It's tough for me to categorize, but it falls solidly into those categories. It was a fairly fast read, there were spots that I had a difficult time trying to muddle out, but those were dreams and flashbacks from Talia, and as such were probably supposed to be disjointed and confusing. It didn't distract from the story, but rather added to it, showing the growing fear and anxiety Talia feels.
I'd recommend this for readers over 16ish. There's a fair bit of violence, and the themes of that may be disturbing to young readers. But for fans of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Dystopia, and books built on the structure from a RPG, this is a great read. I didn't know about the RPG before reading the novel, but if I had, it would have prompted me to pick it up sooner. All in all, a nice solid read. Entertaining, creepy, and wrought with emotions.