Thursday 9 November 2023

Review: A Tempest of Tea by Hafsah Faizal

On the streets of White Roaring, Arthie Casimir is a criminal mastermind and collector of secrets. Her prestigious tearoom transforms into an illegal bloodhouse by dark, catering to the vampires feared by society. But when her establishment is threatened, Arthie is forced to strike an unlikely deal with an alluring adversary to save it—and she can’t do the job alone.

Calling upon a band of misfits, Arthie formulates a plan to infiltrate the dark and glittering vampire society known as the Athereum. But not every member of her crew is on her side, and as the truth behind the heist unfolds, Arthie finds herself in the midst of a conspiracy that will threaten the world as she knows it.

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📌 Disclaimer: I received an e-arc for review from the publisher  
📌 Publication date: 22/02/2024

We're nearing the end of 2023 and I have found my first five star read of the year! I think we can all agree that title comparisons are rarely accurate, but trust me when I say that if you're a fan of Six of Crows you will love this. It has all the same ingredients - found family, a diverse cast of characters, a heist, and ship worthy romances. On top of all that there is an all POC cast, vampires, and colonialism! 

A Tempest of Tea is told from the point of view of Arthie, Jin, and Flick. Going back to the Six of Crows comparison, Arthie is Kaz Brekker coded and Jin is Jesper coded, in my opinion. I really enjoyed their brother/sister type relationship, and how Jin balanced Arthie's serious nature with his charm. Both are orphans who have worked hard to make a name for themselves. Completing this trio, there is Flick. She is from a more privileged background and while not quite as interesting as Arthie and Jin, she is no less likable. 

I had a hard time putting A Tempest of Tea down, it was action packed from the get go and the short chapters made it fast paced. It delves into talks of colonialism, which I wasn't expecting but loved. There is even a East India Company adjacent called the East Jeevant Company. I also found the heist aspect of the story, from the planning to the actual execution, to be fun. Add in Vampires, my favourite supernatural creature, and a tea room that turns into a bloodhouse for vampires by night and you've got yourself a winner. 

There are two central romances. Arthie's romantic arc involves a love triangle, but I say that in the loosest sense of the word. I wasn't really keen on the obvious love interest. However, the second and more subtle love interest, Matteo, had me intrigued as soon as he appeared on page. There isn't really anything concrete between them romantically, apart from a very small sprinkle of tension. However, I can see something potentially developing in the sequel. At least, I hope so!

I will say that to me the twist was quite obvious from the start, but that honestly didn't take away from my enjoyment. If anything, I was more invested and wanted to see how it would play out.  If you can't already tell, I absolutely devoured A Tempest of Tea and am so, so excited about the sequel!


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