I used to look at my hands with pride. Now all I can think is, “These are the hands that buried my mother.”
For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it’s her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her—the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu.
When Ning hears of a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi—masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making—she travels to the imperial city to compete. The winner will receive a favor from the princess, which may be Ning’s only chance to save her sister’s life.
But between the backstabbing competitors, bloody court politics, and a mysterious (and handsome) boy with a shocking secret, Ning might actually be the one in more danger.
Amazon Link: A Magic Steeped in Poison (The Book of Tea #1)
Author: Judy I. Lin
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 5/5 stars
As soon as I saw this book was about tea magic, I had to read it, and it didn’t disappoint! This is a great book to read with a cup of tea, but you’ll always want a snack, because that tea is often paired with delicious food. (Side note: I am so happy that a new dim sum place opened near me, because this book had me craving dumplings!)
The stakes are high for Ning from the start because her mother is dead and her sister is succumbing to the same poison. Ning enters a competition for tea masters in the imperial capital because she’s hoping to win a cure. Instead, she gets involved in a huge conspiracy and she doesn’t know who to trust.
The action doesn’t stop as Ning battles assassins, rival tea masters, and corrupt court officials. She also makes some unexpected friends along the way. But the best part of the story is all the details about the tea magic. The competition stretches her to learn new techniques and flavors to achieve different magical effects. It also describes different styles of Asian cooking from all the regions of the Empire. The romantic subplot was a little confusing, but I enjoyed Ning’s friendships and her love for her sister.
I can’t wait for the next book!