Review: A Magic Steeped in Poison (The Book of Tea #1)

Title: A Magic Stepped in Poison (The Book of Tea #1)
Author: Judy I. Lin
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 29, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

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.


Ning was responsible for brewing the tea that killed her mother and poisoned her sister, Shu. She needs to find the antidote for the poison before Shu dies. When Ning finds out there is a competition at the palace to find the best shennong-shi, master of ancient and magical tea-making, she knows she must compete. The winner will receive a favor from the princess, and Ning wants to request something to cure her sister. However, the competition becomes deadly and political, so Ning must race to save her own life. 

This was a beautiful fantasy story. I loved the magical elements involving the tea. The tea was brewed with magic that could give the drinker or the brewer magical abilities. The competition was thrilling and suspenseful because each challenge had a dangerous twist. 

This story moved along at a fast pace. There were lots of twists, especially in the final chapters. I couldn’t figure out how Ning was going to get out of her challenges in the final chapters, so I was surprised when she did. The story also ended on a cliffhanger, so I’m glad the sequel will be published so soon!

A Magic Steeped in Poison is a great fantasy debut!

Thank you Raincoast Books and Feiwell and Friends for providing a copy of this book.

What to read next:

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

The Girl Who Fell Beneath The Sea by Axie Oh

Have you read A Magic Steeped in Poison? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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