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I thought this book was going to be something totally different, and I’m glad it wasn’t. This book was absolutely wonderful. As soon as I started, I was eager to finish. Besides being a beautifully designed book cover, the story was very well developed. I loved the idea of tea being infused with magic and give me a competition any day! Ning traveled to the imperial city to compete, even though her sister was the one who was being officially trained. Whoever wins the competition receives a favor from the Princess and with Ning’s sister being sick, she’s hoping this favor can help save her sister’s life. During this competition, Ning learns a lot more than what she bargained for. There are plots and a mysterious boy, who is not who he initially seemed. I really enjoyed the way everything fit together and the description of the food and tea were just impeccable. I cannot wait for the next installment to come out to figure out what happens after that wild ending.

Ning is the main character and the only provided point of view. I’m glad that it was only her story as I felt that it was enough. It was intriguing seeing her compete and how she felt about her tea. It was beautiful the way the tea was brewed reflects the person brewing it. And Ning was a character that it was super easy to root for. I like how she came to the capital just to compete with no ill intentions of doing more. But what is a book without the character getting dragged into other issues? I think Ning was very realistic in how she handled situations and herself. She definitely grew a lot as a character with her time in the royal capital and I really enjoyed her arc in this first book.

Overall, A Magic Steeped in Poison was a phenomenal book. With this being Lin’s debut title, I cannot wait to see what else she brews (you see what I did there). The story was well written and I absolutely loved the twist of magic with the tea. There were definitely more plot points to this story and I thought they were integrated very well. I enjoyed Ning’s character a whole lot. She was someone I easily connected with and really rooted for. I cannot wait for the second book to continue this story. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys magical competitions with political discourse and competitors that cannot be trusted.