** I received an e-Arc of "A Magic Steeped in Poison" by Judy I. Lin from the publisher for the book tour conducted by TBR and Beyond tours. All reviews are my own and unbiased.**
Loss of parental figure, death, drowning.
About the book:
Judy I. Lin’s sweeping debut A Magic Steeped in Poison, the first in a duology, is sure to enchant fans of Adrienne Young and Leigh Bardugo. I used to look at my hands with pride. Now all I can think is, “These are the hands that buried my mother.”
For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it’s her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her—the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu.
When Ning hears of a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest Shennong-shi—masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making—she travels to the imperial city to compete. The winner will receive favor from the princess, which may be Ning’s only chance to save her sister’s life.
But between the backstabbing competitors, bloody court politics, and a mysterious (and handsome) boy with a shocking secret, Ning might actually be the one in more danger.
Going into this book I had a lot of expectations for it to be my next favorite book, and though it didn't hit the favorite mark I still liked it. The whole premise of the book had me intrigued from the start. I went in expecting the first few chapters to be dense with world-building but was pleasantly surprised that it was quite subtle and smooth, the writing flow was awesome the way it interwove everything.
After Spin the Dawn duology, I became quite the fan of the concept of contests with something much bigger on the line and I wasn't let down. The whole contest revolves around the idea and art of tea making but has so many levels of depth to it, which was interesting, to say the least. It has great potential and I'm sure people who love court politics would love it, but this is something that kind of ruined the vibe for me and I found myself skipping major chunks.
The character portrayal and development of Ning were done beautifully, and I really loved the journey throughout. The pain she went through, the determination she had in her, it was awe-inspiring. It made the whole story so much more magical and interesting.
The magic system in this book was unique and executed really well. It made me so hungry that I couldn't help but get a good big serving of reading snacks and tea. I never could have imagined tea would play such an important role in any magic system that I would ever read about and I really enjoyed this aspect.
In short, I'm awaiting its sequel where I hope there would be more well-defined romantic moments (I hope? Pretty please!) and more character development for the side characters and we get to know more about their stories as well.
3.5 / 5
Judy I. Lin was born in Taiwan and immigrated to Canada with her family at a young age. She grew up with her nose in a book and loved to escape to imaginary worlds. She now works as an occupational therapist, and still spends her nights dreaming up imaginary worlds of her own. She lives on the Canadian prairies with her husband and daughter. A Magic Steeped in Poison is her debut novel.
That's all for today, besties. Don't forget to show some love to all the other wonderful bloggers and bookstagrammers on the tour.