Magical art of tea-making

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After her mother dies from ingesting poisoned tea, Ning travels to the capital city in hope of receiving a favor from the princess for winning a competition among masters of the magical art of tea-making. Ning plans to ask the princess to save her sister who is gravely ill from the same poisoned tea that their mother consumed – the tea that Ning accidentally gave them. As the competition unfolds, Ning finds herself far from home amid a whirlwind of politics, secrets, backstabbing, and lies. Will she succeed and be able to save her sister while also keeping herself safe?

A MAGIC STEEPED IN POISON is book one of Judy I. Lin’s The Book of Tea duology. This YA fantasy had me turning pages with its excellent pacing. I was immersed in Ning’s world through the fantastic writing. I loved the premise of the magic tea-making – there’s a tea to help various ailments, for strength, for telling the truth, etc. Lin used some liberties to pull concepts from Chinese herbal medicine and it flowed well with the fantasy aspect of the magic tea. I was guessing who was truthful, who was lying, and who the co-conspirators were throughout the book and I was not always correct which was great since it’s not fun to figure it all out right away. There are some light romance aspects within the plot. As this is a duology, the book ends on a cliffhanger.

I thoroughly enjoyed A MAGIC STEEPED IN POISON and would recommend to fans of YA fantasy. I will definitely read the second book, A VENOM DARK AND SWEET to see how the series ends.