A Magic Steeped in Poison is a beautiful tale woven together by detail and a deep-seated need for us to know what we can accomplish if we are brave enough to try. While the art of making tea plays a large role in this novel, the politics shine through. The longer Ning stays in court, the more we suspect the true motivations of the characters around her.
Shennong slowly grows from a practice into a beautiful magic system. By the end of the novel, careful reflection reveals that how Ning describes her method and ingredients has also progressed, giving readers insight to Ning's growth in confidence as not only a shennong-shi, but also in her own identity.
The first book in a duology, A Magic Steeped in Poison takes readers on a train ride, serving them tea as the train, like the plot, picks up speed as the twists begin to come hard and fast. And like any proper first half of a story, it left readers clinging to the pages as a cliff approached. I really enjoyed this novel and look forward to the sequel, A Venom Dark and Sweet!
Thank you to BookishFirst and Macmillan for this book in exchange for an honest review!