Thursday, August 30, 2007

Poison Study

Mia has started seeing the world in a whole new way, and once it begins, there's no turning back. She's starting to see letters everywhere and is able to identify them. She writes letters in her notebooks and brings them to me to tell her what words she's written. I'm hard-pressed to come up with the pronunciation of miq, aaqiot, and aomt. Yesterday she wanted to write The Cat in the Hat, because she's currently on a Dr. Seuss kick. I told her how to spell cat and hat, but she also wanted to write "in" and "the", so she asked if there was an n in "in". So she's also starting to listen to the way words sound and try to figure out how to spell them. Today we sat down with the book The Cat in the Hat, and I taught her how to sound out the words and identify them. Every time we encountered that phrase in the book, I would let her read it. She felt like such a big girl, she had to tell Jesse on the phone when he called on his lunch. The ability to recognize letters and then words is almost like a light switch flipped in your brain. I remember being small and looking at the altar at the front of our church and not being able to read the words on it; the letters were just nonsensical symbols to me. Today will likely be a day Mia remembers for the rest of her life: the day she started learning to read.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder was a wonderful surprise to me as a reader. The blurb I read about it implied that it was a medieval mystery, so when I read the back of the book and found that it was a fantasy book with some romance, I almost sent it back to the library. I'm so glad I didn't! Yelena has been sentenced to death for the murder of a general's son. The day of her hanging she's given the opportunity for a reprieve: become the food taster for the Commander and live until possibly being poisoned by one of his enemies. Yelena is no fool; she takes the position and falls under the command of Valek, the Commander's right hand man and assassin. Yelena tastes and smells poisons to learn their properties so she can detect them in food and drink. Before she's even had a chance to assume her duties, she's caught up in the political intrigue of the castle and hunted by men working for the father of the man she murdered. There are so many layers and subplots to this story, it's impossible to address them all. I'm not a big fan of fantasy novels, but Snyder made a believable world full of fascinating characters and back story. Yelena is tough and unwilling to give up, but she has to learn to trust herself and others, especially Valek. The book is full of twists and turns and wonderful characters. For the first few days after finishing it, I found myself missing them and the world of Ixia. To me, that's the sign of a great read.

There was a great article on today about Jeanna Giese, the only known person to survive rabies without vaccinations. She just entered college this week, praise God! I believe that the reason all of the treatments worked on her was because of prayer. Jeanna had so many people in Wisconsin (and around the country) praying for her, her survival is a testament to the power of prayer.