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Judy I. Lin‘s sweeping debut A Magic Steeped in Poison, 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 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.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ A Magic Steeped in Poison Review
With a plot unfurling like the steam off a freshly brewed cup of tea, A Magic Steeped in Poison is an instant must-read for fantasy lovers. Judy I. Lin creates a world filled with palace intrigue, a MAGICAL tea-brewing competition, and deftly woven in inspiration from Chinese history and mythology.
Like many YA Fantasy protagonists, Ning has a family in danger (her sister, slowing dying of mysterious brewed tea poison), a competition (who will be the palace’s new shennong-shi), and the special ability to continue to be at the right place at the right time. But! For those tired of the chosen one trope, this is the antidote you need because Ning is so utterly believable. She works and studies hard, she has actual friends in the competition (that are multi-dimensional!), and she doesn’t have those interview question style weaknesses. Ning makes small errors and learns as the book moves along with each decision powering character growth and her understanding of the world she’s in.
Along with creating such a phenomenal MC, Lin layers beautiful prose with descriptions you can almost smell and taste. Her lush storytelling never distracts from a steadily moving plot and one heck of an ending.
Thank you (thank you, thank you) to NetGalley and MacMillian for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Preorder for the March 29th release here: