A Magic Steeped In Poison
– Judy I. Lin –
The Book of Tea #1
Feiwel and Friends
Published 22 March 2022
Like Mulan but more focus on the tea ceremonies. That’s how i think of this book. And don’t get me wrong, that makes it an awesome book. Imagine all of Mulan’s fight and guts and “I have what it takes” and take that energy and put it into making tea that can bewitch and enchant. It is super cool and unique and just the start of an exciting series.
Ning’s sister is dying. Poisoned by the same poison that killed their mother. Ning knows the only way to save her sister’s life is to lie to everyone she cares about and risk everything. Ning enters the competition to find the next shénnóng-shi, master of the ancient and magical art of tea making. The winner will be bestowed a favour from the princess and Ning plans to win and get the best healers available to tend to her sister. Ning was once trained by her mother, who was a master shénnóng-shi once, but she knows if anyone in the imperial city discovers her true identify, her life will be forfeit. But she has only just arrived in the city when she is drawn into the mystery of The Shadow, court politics and a corrupt competition. Winning and escaping with her life seem more and more unlikely, but Ning is determined to not give up.
A beautiful cover is just the start with this gorgeous fantasy inspired by Chinese and Taiwanese mythology, history and traditions. We are finally getting more Asian-inspired fantasy and this one is delightful. Court intrigue, backstabbing and twist after twist. Grief, friendship and romance. The part I loved the most was the tea-steeping magic. Each manifests in different ways, so the magic is as unique as the characters that grace the page.
We readers are led along on an adventure as Ning finds herself in the middle of danger at every turn. Luckily, she is a strong and smart character.
This is just the first book in the series and that epic ending will have readers eagerly await the sequel.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Poison, sisters, tea, magic, competitions, Chinese mythology
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Representation: Asian characters and Asian inspired fantasy world
Advisory: Death of a parents, violence, injury, illness.
Published: 22 March 2022 by Feiwel and Friends
Format: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook. 384 pages.