A Venom Dark and Sweet
sequel to A Magic Steeped in Poison
Judy I. Lin
* * * Stars (Pretty good)
In the previous installment, the Emperor had just passed and his daughter was poised to take the throne and select a new shennong-shi (brewer of teas infused with magic). Ning was in the running for that position. Then everything fell apart when the Emperor’s brother (the General) staged a coup to retake the throne. Everyone affiliated with the old regime were accused of crimes against the new regime and either fled or were put to death. Ning and the Princess barely escaped with their lives. Behind all of these political machinations, however, is a much older evil – a serpent god who was bound long ago, but has escaped to make mischief once again. He plans to take human form and destroy the nation and its people. But Ning, Kang (the Emperor’s son), the Princess, and those loyal to her are determined to defy and defeat this threat. A fast-paced read that alternates between Ning and Kang’s perspectives/stories as they diverge and then come together in a final battle. Delightfully rich in details whenever Ning is called upon to use her magic/tea brewing skills. Fans of the first book will find this a satisfying conclusion. For middle and high school teens.
Reviewed by YA Librarian