A Tempest of Tea is a fast-paced magical heist with a racially diverse cast and found family.

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lex.libris Avatar


A Tempest of Tea was a good read and I don't regret the time I spent on it, so pick it up if you're curious! It's not a big time investment and is a fast paced romp, and my review is critical in large part because I really liked it. I will almost certainly be picking up the second one because I want to see where it goes.

Initial thoughts here are that I wished it were longer and a little deeper - it is definitely a YA novel, and it does suffer from having much of the thematic content spelled out instead of implied, which weakens it a bit. I would also say it felt so rushed, I didn't get enough of the parts I did like.

Technically, the writing was somewhat hit or miss, having some really lovely descriptions, dialogue, or phrasing, but in other scenes feeling rushed. Some parts of the scene setting were glossed over so much that when they were referenced later I had to go back and reread to see where that context was given. Some of the writing was very evocative, and some felt very obviously telling-not-showing. I liked the worldbuilding but not the world - I wish it had been a little more distinct from our own. I felt like I could tell exactly which country each correlated to in our world. Some of the thematic content was heavy handed, and I'm not sure that it needed to be spelled out quite so much.

I did love the characters, and while some of them did seem ripped from any generic heist story, they each had enough of a clever twist to make me not really care. The tropes are there, but it doesn't make the characters hollow. We had a fantastic racially diverse set of characters that I really enjoyed spending time with and I wanted to learn more about, in a natural, organic way. I do wish they were more queer. Light Spoilers: I also wish Jin hadn't been so much of an everyman. In hindsight, I thought it was very clever that he was both the brain and the charisma, but that he also is a brawler is a little much. Give the man a weakness! And I wanted more of Matteo being a wounded and emotionally intelligent vampire - break him out from the vicious, cruel, high society stereotype a little bit more.

I wanted more detail in the planning portion of the heist, more descriptions, more problem solving. Arthie's secret-keeping reputation solved too many problems - where's the genuinely good incorruptible guard they have to get around? I didn't really understand one of the pivotal plot devices until after it had happened. It didn't come off so much as a surprise as a muddle of information. This is a part that felt very rushed.

We got some great cliffhangers: Who is the Wolf of White Roaring? What happens to The Ram? I want to know what's happening next which in my opinion is one of the hardest things to get right in any book. I may have had problems with this book but I faithfully kept turning pages.