A Magic Steeped in Poison review
Ning is a shennong-shi – she performs the ancient and magical art of tea-making. But in order to save her sister from a deadly poison, she needs to win a competition to become the best shennong-shi in the kingdom.
The best way to describe A Magic Steeped in Poison is slice-of-life, meets mythology. Oh, what a beautiful combination!
What I loved
A Magic Steeped in Poison was a joy to read. It was immediately atmospheric and beautifully written.
The first-person perspective of the main character lets us see a more intimate and almost practical view of what she is experiencing which lends to the atmosphere.
It doesn’t linger at all. Gives you just enough information to give you a sense of atmosphere and spends more time focusing on action and key moments in the story. The type of writing that makes for a quick and exciting read.
The book has a whimsical vibe. When Ning is exploring the city and buying tea, I got the same comforting feeling I got when Harry was buying supplies from Diagon Alley.
It was such a pleasing read. With this wonderful balance of action, adventure, and magic but with a slice-of-life element. The downtime between the action is just as good because of this, and boy does it make you hungry.
It reminded me of when I used to watch a lot of anime. There are usually filler episodes that mostly contain slice-of-life stuff. Everyday things that when presented to you in anime, are brought to life and made kind of special. Like cooking a homemade meal, cleaning, and getting chores done. This book sometimes had those vibes, and I loved every second of it.
It hits all the marks. A magical underdog who underestimates her own power, magical competition with cliques and under-the-table corruption, not knowing who is trustworthy and who isn’t, alliances, romance, you name it.
It does contain a couple of tropes I don’t like, though. But honestly, both these tropes are handled pretty well and don’t go into ‘ugh’ territory. They’re used very lightly. Which is as much as I can say without ruining it.
I really enjoyed the story, it felt like a real adventure. Easy to read, sweet, and entertaining, well worth a read.
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Disclaimer: Many thanks to Titan Books for the copy of A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin. All opinions are my own.