Friday, 8 October 2021

Review: A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin

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 a 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.

📌 Publication date: 22/03/2021
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A book about a magical tea brewing competition, inspired by Chinese history and mythology? Yes, please! 

People are being poisoned by tea, it took Ning's mum's life and now her sister is sick. Determined to save her she travels to the imperial city to enter the magical tea brewing competition. The reason being because the winner will be granted a favour from the princess. Having a sister I'm close to I found Ning's loyalty and willingness to do anything for her sister relatable. 

Once Ning arrives at the imperial city she is faced with court politics and prejudices. Despite this she rallies on and even makes a friend. Which brings me to my next point. Female friendships are sometimes lacking in the the books I read, so it was refreshing reading about Ning making a friend, as opposed to facing off with a mean girl.  

The world building in A Magic Steeped in Poison is great for people who are new to the fantasy genre, because there's no info dumping. Instead the information is woven naturally throughout the story. As a tea lover I loved learning about the art of tea brewing, and I enjoyed the vivid picture she painted of the world.

I'm curious to see how the story concludes in the sequel. 

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