Maria V. Snyder

American writer

Maria V. Snyder (born April 15, 1973) is an American fantasy and science fiction author best known for her Study Series.

Quotes edit

Poison Study edit

  • “Locked in darkness that surrounded me like a coffin, I had nothing to distract me from my memories.”
  • “I am not a fool.”
  • “To Yelena, our newest food taster. May you last longer than your predecessor.”
  • “His movements were so graceful that I wondered if he had been a dancer, but his words betrayed to me that his fluid gestures were those of a trained killer.”
  • “I did what any good rat would do. I bit down on the guard's hand until I tasted blood.”
  • “It's a dirty way to fight, but I'm late for lunch."
  • “You're easily distracted by the pattern of the cloth and can't see the quality of the threads.”
  • “Poisoned, pursued and living with a psychopath. Not what I would consider the good life. Death has its perks.”
  • “Only the weak invite their demons to live with them. Isn't that right?”
  • “Everyone makes choices in life. Some bad, some good. It's called living, and if you want to bow out, then go right ahead. But don't do it halfway. Don't linger in whiner's limbo.”
  • “When you warned me that you would test me from time to time, I thought you meant spiking my food. But it seems there is more than one way to poison a person’s heart, and it doesn’t even require a meal.”
  • “Trusting is hard. Knowing who to trust, even harder.”
  • “Besides, thinking kind thoughts about Valek could be extremely dangerous. I could admire his skills, and be relieved when he was on my side in a fight. But for a rat to like the cat? That scenario ended only one way. With one dead rat.”
  • “I balled my hands into tight fists to keep them from wrapping around Mr. I-Know-Everything's superior neck.”
  • “Knowledge, whatever the form, could be as effective as a weapon.”
  • “I hate a mystery. I would have let the identity of the Commander’s successor remain a secret, as I have for fifteen years, but tonight’s opportunity was too tempting. With eight drunken Generals sleeping it off, I could have danced on their beds without waking them."
  • “They actually think I would abandon the Commander. they have no concept of loyalty.”
  • “Sieges weathered, fight together, friends forever.”
  • “The uniform enhanced his athletic body, and my thoughts drifted to how magnificent he would look with his uniform puddled around his feet.”
  • “One, and two, and three, four, five. Keep fighting like this and you will die," Janco sang.”
  • “I didn’t want or expect this. But I couldn’t resist you.”
  • “But for a rat to like the cat? That scenario ended only one way. With one dead rat.”
  • “When I carved this statue, I was thinking about you. Delicate in appearance, but with a strength unnoticed at first glance.” His eyes met mine.”
  • “I peered deeper and found my soul. A little tattered and with some holes, but there all the same. It had always been there, I realized with shock.”
  • “I understood that Valek’s loyalty to the Commander was without question. His blue eyes held a fierce determination and I knew in my soul that Valek would take his own life after he had taken mine.”
  • “Two men. I had just killed two men. A killing machine, I hadn't even hesitated. Fear and rage settled deep in my chest, forming a layer of ice around my heart.”
  • “But you've slipped under my skin, invaded my blood and seized my heart.”


“Anyway, the odds were against you. Most lost big, while only a few—” Rand paused dramatically “—won big.”

“Since you’re here, I suppose you won big.”

He smiled. “Yelena, I’m always going to bet on you. You’re like one of the Commander’s terriers. A tiny, yappy dog you wouldn’t look at twice, but once it grabs your pant leg, it won’t let go.”

“Poison the dog’s meat and it won’t bother you anymore.”


“I didn't expect a knife, though. Is it the one missing from the kitchen?"

"Did Rand report it?" I felt betrayed. Why hadn't he just asked for it back?

"No. It just makes sense to keep track of large kitchen knives, so when one goes missing you're not surprised when someone attacks you with it.


“What have I earned from you, Valek? Loyalty? Respect? Trust?"

"You have my attention. But give me what I want, and you can have everything.”


“Yelena.” I halted in the doorway, looking back over my shoulder.

“You once said I wasn’t ready to believe your reason for killing Reyad. I’ll believe you now.”

“But I’m not ready to tell you,” I said and left the room.” 


“There’s an arrest warrant out for her. Did you even consider taking her to the Commander?”


“Why not?” Valek didn’t try to hide his disbelief. “Killing isn’t the only solution to a problem. Or has that been yourformula?”

“ My formula! Excuse me, Mr. Assassin, while I laugh as I remember my history lessons on how to deal with a tyrannical monarch by killing him and his family.”

Valek flashed me a dangerous look.”


“Yelena, you've driven me crazy. You've caused me considerable trouble and I've contemplated ending your life twice since I've known you." Valek's warm breath in my ear sent a shiver down my spine.

"But you’ve slipped under my skin, invaded my blood and seized my heart.”

“That sounds more like a poison than a person,” was all I could say. His confession had both shocked and thrilled me.

“Exactly,” Valek replied. “You have poisoned me.”


“An execution order hasn’t kept us apart before. There are ways to get around it. We will be together.”

“Is that an order?”

“No, a promise.”


“Back so soon?" he asked. "Too bad. I was just about to organize a search for your dead body. What happened when you knocked on the southerner magician's door to sacrifice yourself? Did they kick you out, thinking you too half-witted to waste their time on?”


“Well, Valek, any new promotions?” the Commander asked

“No. But Maren shows promise. Unfortunately she doesn’t want to be in my corps or even be my second.She just wants to beat me.” Valek grinned, delighted by the challenge.

“And can she?” the Commander inquired. His eyebrows rose.

“With time and the proper training. She’s deadly with her bow; it’s just her tactics that need work.”

“Then what do we do with her?”

“Promote her to General and retire some of those old wind-bags. We could use some fresh blood in the upper ranks.”

“Valek, you never had a good grasp of military structure.”

“Then promote her to First Lieutenant today, Captain tomorrow, Major the next day, Colonel the day after, and General the day after that.”

“I’ll take it under advisement.”


“It’s your fault. I was defending you!” I blurted.

He paused. “In protecting my honor, you exposed months of work. I should be flattered?”


Magic Study edit

  • “I took three steps and was wrapped in his arms, where I belonged. No confusion here. No worries here. No troubles here.” 
  • “Many have tried to kill us. All have failed.
  • “When I carved this, my thoughts were on you, love. Your life is like this snake's coils. No matter how many turns it makes, you'll end up back where you belong. With me.” 
  • “I’ll have you know that the most delicate flowers often produce the strongest scent when crushed.” 
  • “Her amber eyes burned into mine with all the hate and loathing she could muster. Underneath, though, she was terrified. Hate and loathing didn't bother me, but fear was a powerful emotion. Fear causes the dog to bite and Roze was one bitch.” 
  • “Don't feel ashamed for having those feelings and those memories. What happened in the past can't be changed, but they can be a guide for what happens in the future.” 
  • “Bad dreams are ghosts of our fears and worries, haunting us while we sleep. I doubt Valek is in trouble.” 
  • “Trust, Kiki said, Trust is peppermints.”
  • “I gave him a bored look. I had been threatened many times before and had learned that the men who didn’t make verbal threats were the most dangerous.” 
  • “Your fear remains strong. You are not ready to face your story, preferring instead to surround yourself with knots. Someday, they will strangle you.” 
  • “Pretty stupid,” I called after his retreating form. “To give up before all possible solutions have been tried.”
  • “I wanted to dissolve into the floor, mixing myself with the hard stone. A stone had a single purpose: to be. No complicated promises, no worries and no feelings.” 
  • “Should haves lead to death” 
  • “Unfortunately, diplomacy was a dance I needed to learn.”


“In the end, only Leif believed that you were still alive. He thought you might be hiding somewhere, playing a game. As the rest of us grieved, Leif searched the jungle for you day after day.”

“When did he finally stop?” I asked.



“Living is a risk,' I snapped at him. 'Every decision, every interaction, every step, every time you get out of bed in the morning, you take a risk. To survive is to know you're taking that risk and to not get out of bed clutching illusions of safety.” 


“He made a weak attempt to look innocent, but I knew better. 'Should I guess how many concealed weapons you have or should I strip search you?'

'A strip search is the only way to be absolutely certain.' Valek's deep blue eyes danced with delight.” 


“Why did Mother ask you to help me rescue Gelsi?" I asked Leif.

"She thought I could assist you in some way. Instead, I had tried to-"

"Kill me? You can join the 'I Want to Kill Yelena Guild.' I hear they have six

members in good standing.

Valek is president since he had wanted to kill me twice."


“Another relative?" Valek asked.

A broad smile stretched Moon Man's lips. "Yes. I am her mother's uncle's wife's

third cousin."

--Valek and Moon Man” 


“Your mother sounds like a formidable woman," Valek said into the silence.

"You have no idea," Leif replied with a sigh.

"Well, if she's anything like Yelena, my deepest sympathies," Valek teased.


Leif laughed and the tense moment dissipated.

Valek handed Leif his machete. "Do you know how to use it?"

"Of course. I chopped Yelena's bow into firewood," Leif joked.” 


“Don't worry. I'm only your escort tonight. I would offer to protect you from the drunken attentions of the other men, but I know all to well that you're quite capagble of holding your own. You're probably armed. Right?"



“Pushing magic toward the candle, I willed it to light. Nothing happened.

Irys made a strangled sound and the candle burned. “Are you directing your magic to the candle?”

“Yes. Why?”

“You just ordered me to light the candle for you,” Irys said in exasperation. “And I did it.” 


“I'd wish you luck, but I don't think it would help.'

'Why not?'

'My lady, you make your own luck.”


“How did you—”

“Fool your guards? They’re not very good. They forgot to check the ceiling for spiders.” Valek grinned. His angular face softened. Startled, I realized he wasn’t in disguise. “This is dangerous.”

“I knew falling for you was dangerous, love.” 


“A little present from my run-in with a sword. Or should I say from when the sword had a run-in with me?” His eyes lit up.

“Want to see the scar? It’s cool.” He started pulling his shirt out of his pants.

“Janco,” Ari warned. “We’re not supposed to be fraternizing with the Sitians.”

“But she’s not Sitian. Right, Yelena? You haven’t gone south on us, have you?” Janco’s voice held mock horror.

“Because if you have I can’t give you your present.”

I took my switchblade out, showing the inscription to Janco. “What about ‘Sieges weathered, fight together, friends forever’? Does that change if I become an official southerner?”

Janco rubbed the hair on his chin, considering. 

“No,” Ari said. “You could change into a goat and it would still apply.” 


“You look like hell,' he said to me in a low voice.

'Gee, Dax, don’t coat it with honey. Tell me what you really think,' I said.” 


“If you don’t come back to the Keep, then I’ll be right. And every time you see me, I’ll be insufferably smug.”

“And how’s that different from now?” He laughed and I could see the young carefree boy he had been in his eyes. “You’ve only had a small glimpse of how insufferable and annoying I can be. As the older brother, it’s my birthright.” 


“He pulled my arm out to expose my bracelet. "When I carved this, my thoughts were on you, love. Your life is like this snake's coils. No matter how many turns it makes, you'll end up back where you belong. With me." His sapphire eyes held a promise. ”


“Do you really want to know why you lost?” I asked.

“Do you really have an answer?” he countered.

“You need to get off your horse and run with your men. You don’t have the stamina for a long fight. And find a lighter sword.”

“But it was my uncle’s.”

“You’re not your uncle.”

“But I’m the King, and this is the King’s sword,” Cahil said. His brows creased together. He seemed confused.

“So wear it to your coronation,” I said. “If you use it in battle, you’ll be wearing it to your funeral,” I said.” 


“In keeping with his cryptic nature, all your Story Weaver said was 'The horses know where to go.' It's certainly not a military strategy I would use, but I've learned that the south uses its own strategy. And, strangely enough, it works.” 


Fire Study edit

  • “There's always another storm. It's the way the world works. Snowstorms, rainstorms, windstorms, sandstorms, and firestorms. Some are fierce and others are small. You have to deal with each one separately, but you need to keep an eye on whats brewing for tomorrow.” 
  • “Nothing like having a warrant for your execution to get a girl motivated.” 
  • “You asked how I can be so calm. I don't have time not to be. I would like to grieve and worry and carry on, but that doesn't achieve results.” 
  • “You should know what happens when you play with fire, Cahill. Eventually, you'll get burned.” 
  • “It's the problem with mistakes, they tend to linger.” 
  • “He was the test I hadn’t studied for, the quiz I was bound to fail. Out of my depth.” 


“The others had taken Valek's return in stride, although Janco made a comment about Valek's lack of hair. 'You ever notice how couples start to look alike?' he asked. 

In a deadpan, Valek replied, 'Yes. In fact I was just thinking how much you and Topaz resemble each other. It's uncanny.” 


“Did you live here?" Leif asked. I nodded. "For two years"."Where did you stay?" "I had a room in Valek's suite." Leif shot me an incredulous look. "Boy, you worked fast.” 


“In the war room, love? What if someone comes in?”

I stood and removed his shirt. “Then they’ll have a good story to tell.”

“Good?” He adopted the pretense of being offended.

“Prove me wrong.” 


“Lief. That's not nice, considering all your sister has done for you," admonished Perl.

"Oh right. How could I forget that she made me bait for a snake, left me on house arrest in Ixia, and smuggled me into the Keep in a coffin.” 


“I had hoped to hear everyone discussing how much they missed my altruistic qualities, my legendary skills as a fighter and as a lover." He leered. "Instead, you're making plans for tomorrow. Interesting how life goes on in spite of itself.” 


“I had hoped to hear everyone discussing how much they missed my altruistic qualities, my legendary skills as a fighter and as a lover." He leered. "Instead, you're making plans for tomorrow. Interesting how life goes on in spite of itself.” 


“When I failed to move, Valek pushed me off the mat and curled in my place under the covers. “Ahh. Still warm.”

“You’re evil,” I said, but he feigned sleep.”


“Getting killed would have been easier. No guilt. No worries. No fear. Caring for someone is terrible and wonderful. I don't know if I have the strength to do it for another. How do you deal with it?"

"I focus on the wonderful parts and suffer through the terrible parts, knowing it will end eventually.” 


“You said I was afraid to come back to the Keep. Well—” I spread my arms wide, flinging drops of water onto Leif’s green tunic “—here I am.”

“You are here. I’ll grant you that. But are you unafraid?”

“I already have a mother and a Story Weaver. Your job is to be the annoying older brother. Stick to what you know.”

“Ohhh. I’ve hit a nerve.” 


“It can’t be good news,” Leif said. “I’d doubt you would brave the weather just to say hello.”

“You opened the door before I could knock,” I said. “You must know something’s up.”

Leif wiped the rain from his face. “I smelled you coming.”


“You reek of Lavender. Do you bathe in Mother’s perfume or just wash your cloak with it?” he teased.

“How mundane. I was thinking of something a little more magical.” 


“THAT’S PATHETIC, YELENA,” Dax complained. “An all-powerful Soulfinder who isn’t all-powerful. Where’s the fun in that?” He threw up his long thin arms in mock frustration.

“Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not the one who attached the ‘all-powerful’ to the title.” 


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