Cover Image: A Magic Steeped in Poison

A Magic Steeped in Poison

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Member Reviews

This is a great fantasy read that I’ll hand to fans of authors like Joan He, Leigh Bardugo, and Roseanne A. Brown. The cover is gorgeous! It grabbed my eye right away, and the description pulled me right in. This one did not disappoint.
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I stopped at 20% as I just wasn’t getting into it. Solid YA pick that’s an easy three stars, four to five for the right reader.
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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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I was drawn into this book because of the beautiful cover and because of the magic system centerd around tea. The story was good but parts of it where a bit perdictable. I would recomend this book if you are intrested in Magic teas, and Chinese folklore.
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I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book through NetGalley! Here’s my review! 

Book Description:
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.

My Review:
A Magic Steeped in Poison was amazingly original! I couldn’t put it down and stayed up late into the morning to binge read it in one go! It’s a fast paced, enchanting tale of Ning, who takes the place of her ill sister in the Royal Shennong Shi competition at the Palace (can you say Mulan vibes?). 

A revered position, the Shennong Shi is a magic wielding herbalist who uses tea to connect with and influence others. Ning is a relatable and strong main character, who grows into her magic and in her confidence in herself. 

The magic system of the Shennong Shi and their teas is infused with Chinese folklore. It completely wrapped me up in the well built world of A Magic Steeped in Poison. 

I haven’t been this excited about a magical competition since Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Each round of the competition became harder and revealed more about Ning’s character and background. 

There’s magic, political intrigue, a Royal competition, and a page turning ending! I love this book and highly recommend! Thanks for reading!

(Not included in my blog official review) My only constructive feedback was that there were a few minor grammatical errors in the beginning of the text.
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As an avid tea drinker, I was immediately drawn into this story with a magic system built entirely around the art of tea making. It was such a refreshing take and I really enjoyed everything about it! Our protagonist was likable with solid motivations and I felt myself rooting for her the whole way through. Even though parts of the story were a little predictable, because of the originality of the concept, I let myself just enjoy the ride and not overthink it.

Excellent worldbuilding and characterizations. An incredibly solid debut by Judy I. Lin.
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I really enjoyed this book. One of my most anticipated reads. The magic system was unique and based on teas. I am really enjoying the world building behind this!
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Overall, this was an interesting read for me.  I really liked the unique tea-based magic system they had going on, but I've read a lot of YA in my time and I'm not sure this book had anything unique to offer other than that.  I found it to be quite predictable and I suppose I wasn't really the target audience, but I know plenty of my students would enjoy this book, especially the girls.  It was also nice to be immersed in a Chinese setting; I haven't seen that very often in YA.

While it wasn't a thrilling experience for me, I do think younger readers will enjoy it.
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An amazing debut book, I will definitely be recommending this book for lovers of fantasy. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!
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I really loved this book! I was immediately sucked into the story and finished it in a day. The main characters were very interesting and they really grabbed my attention. I highly recommend this book and will be purchasing it for my library.
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First off, can we appreciate that COVER?!?!? Definitely one of my all time favorite book covers. I’m obsessed. I was worried the book wouldn’t live up to the cover, but the book was even better, so that’s just a whole win-win situation. 

The skeleton of the plot was intriguing; a peasant girl goes to palace for a big competition, trying to save her family from a mysterious poison spreading through the kingdom. Sounds fun, right? Then you add all of the flesh to the bones and it really took off. The politics, the competition, the poison, the magic, and the tea?! Amazing. The plot was fast paced, well done, and thorough. I wasn’t left looking through plot holes, and the plot twists were slight but still exciting. 

My absolute favorite thing about A Magic Steeped in Poison was the worldbuilding. The tea based magic system was incredible, and the world itself was lush and beautiful without being unrealistic. Honestly I’m just losing my mind over a tea based magic system. Tea! 

The character development was also incredible. Ning was an incredible heroine, with realistic flaws and a personality far better than the stereotypical YA main character. The supporting characters were super well done. I loved the Princess’s character, she was exactly what I would expect from someone in her position, and I loved how that played out with Ning’s brashness. I also appreciated that the romance was a very slight part of this book. It was there, but just barely, and it wasn’t overdone.

Overall the plot, the characters, and the worldbuilding were all incredible and I can’t wait for book two!
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Awesome adventure with a strong female protagonist! Love the magic of tea, the healing power of fresh ingredients, and the strong family ties to her sister who Ning must save. With lilts of Hunger Game type competition, Ning uses her knowledge to try and wield tea as a magical elixir. She must learn what can counteract poison, heal, and hurt; all while trying to solve the mystery of the shadow and the poisoned tea that killed her mother. Strongly recommend, YA (13+)
Thank you to #NetGalley for an eARC. #AMagicSteepedinPoison @JudyILin #Askcurateshare
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