- Judy I. Lin
- Debut! First in a Duology
- Genre: YA Fantasy
- Background: Taiwanese-Canadian
- Instagram: @judyilinauthor; Twitter: @judyilin; https://judyilin.com/
- Release: 3/29/2022 (It’s out now so no excuses!)
- Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (MacMillan Imprint)
- Favorite Character: Lian! From the moment she stepped on the scene saying “What did you say?”, I just knew that she was the character for me. She came in with the right energy and I felt we would understand each other very well!
- Favorite Quote(s): This is a thought Ning had but it really struck me: “Grief has a taste, bitter and lingering, but so soft it sometimes disguises itself as sweetness.” As someone who has been moving through this world feeling like they’re drowning in grief, I completely understood this. I feel it all the time but I’ve not ever given it a taste (I more so feel it like a texture); immediately I got it though and it felt right. A quote I love is “Where I come from, it’s customary not to grab girls in back alleys.”-Ning. I’m 1000% for Ning letting a person know what things will and won’t be accepted as well as what it is. I imagined that she delivered this line with her entire chest & I loved it!
Like so many great reads, I came across A Magic Steeped In Poison on netgalley (and well, you know what I did, lol) and fell in love with the cover. Then I participated in a conversation MacMillan had with Judy about AMSIP, which completely sold it for me. And If the love I was willing to show this book couldn’t be solidified anymore (outside of this post & having the honor of being on this blog tour), I participated in a competition loosely inspired by this book hosted by Tubby & Coo’s Books with Judy and 2 other bookish influencers (and I was a whole mess y’all but I had a great time). I’ve been ready to go to bat for this story! I also received a finished copy of AMSIP, so if you want to watch the live of me seeing a finished copy & adoring it, you can watch here (seriously, the cover is so flippin’ breathtaking)!
I’m going to kick this off by saying “How dare you Judy? How VERY DARE you?!” Especially that ending…that was rudeeeeeeee but we get book 2 soon (August to be specific) so I’mma chill, lol! There were so many moments where I truly felt that if I was in that world that I could’ve ended up in prison because I threw boiling hot tea on folks. I don’t know if anyone can walk away from this book feeling like there wasn’t at least ONE person that they may have chosen violence for *shrug*. Judy wrote a cast of Characters that you either loved or hated…there wasn’t much room for in-betweens folks. Despite there no being no middle ground on the people we either love or hate, it felt incredibly balanced. I’ll talk about a character or two a little later.
Not only was there an interesting cast of characters, the world that was created is super vivid, which is the earmark of an amazing fantasy. If you are like me, when a book is well written, you can see the entire story play out as you read (or listen) and this was definitely a book I saw play out like a movie… If this book doesn’t get adapted then it will be a travesty and we should riot (or write a sternly worded letter to tv & film production agencies). From the surroundings to the fragrances (I like I was in somebody’s 4D theater), I was entranced and wanted to be part of that world (All Ariel). Now, I know that there is plenty of dangerous ish at play but people go into haunted houses for fun, so I’m fine in making this choice, lol. There feels like there is so much more to experience in the world, so I can’t wait to get into book 2 (A Venom Dark And Sweet, is the title, in case you wanted to know) for that reason & to get caught up with my favs in AMSIP!
Ning and Lian are two characters that I could fully fangirl over. They have this sort of chemistry that two people have when they meet and it’s like the real in one recognizes the real in the other. Of course, part of this has to do with the fact that gender plays a role in this with where they are but it is definitely more than that because it feels kindred, like soulmates but non-romantic. I loved their banter and how they support each other from the moment they looked at each other. If you have a best friend (or plural) that you have a strong fondness, think of them and how y’all move through the world together and you very well may get Ning & Lian’s friendship/kinship in a nutshell.
Like I had said earlier, from the moment that Lian said “What did you say?”, I KNEW she was going to be my favorite. You can’t come on the scene with that as your first line and not be an instant fav, FOR MEEE! She has this sass and fierceness in her that would cause anyone to gravitate towards her (especially if they are built the same)…and how she loves to move to the music that she creates HERSELF (and I live!). Lian is the type of character that’s like “what you think is gunna happen is not what’s going to actually happen” (For my fellow Drag Race fans, she gives Big Gia Gunn Energy and I lived for it). Lian is now in the pantheon of favorite secondary characters for me (and she is in very good company).
When I think about Ning, she’s the type that makes me think about how far am I truly willing to go for family…like would I really put my life at risk to enter into a competition where the odds are stacked against me? Would I REALLYYYYYYYY leave everything I know for just the possibility of things working in our favor? Since I am of the firm belief that I am willing to wear prison orange should anyone come at my family the wrong way, the answer is absolutely yes. Ning is quick and resourceful in all the ways that I love in any Fantasy MC. Being that Ning doesn’t come from means, she puts her mind to work constantly, keeps her ears to the ground and her head on the swivel while making moves. I can’t help but respect her for the lengths she was willing to go to and all I could do was cheer for her because she deserved every win. To say I will be rooting for her in AVDAS like I did in AMSIP would be a gross understatement folks. Ning truly earns/deserves the support she receives both inside & outside of the book (I know y’all don’t think I wasn’t yelling out or wishing I was there to hype her up cause I did boff and maybe a little more, lol).
I have certainly said a lot of things and I could say even more but then that would keep you from getting this book yourself and reading! Honestly, you would be losing if you don’t (iss just a fact, I don’t make the rules folks)…So holler at your local library or your favorite bookstore and make sure to pick up this book…also, another upside is that you only have a few months till the second book drops (#Respect to Judy for that). I’ll post the two covers next to each other at the end of this post just so you can admire them side by side (they are redonkulously stunning).
I’mma end this here but feel free to chat with me in the comments or on social media cause I just always want to talk books and this one is no exception! Let’s chat on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I just a really amazing cup of tea (with or without bubbles)! Until the next post, I’m sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading & tea drinking!