Book Tour Review: A Venom Dark and Sweet by Judy I. Lin

About the Book:

Title: A Venom Dark and Sweet

Author: Judy I. Lin

Series: The Book of Tea

Page Length: 352

Publication Date: Aug, 23, 2022

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends

Synopsis: A great evil has come to the kingdom of Dàxi. The Banished Prince has returned to seize power, his rise to the dragon throne aided by the mass poisonings that have kept the people bound in fear and distrust.

Ning, a young but powerful shénnóng-shi—a wielder of magic using the ancient and delicate art of tea-making—has escorted Princess Zhen into exile. Joining them is the princess’ loyal bodyguard, Ruyi, and Ning’s newly healed sister, Shu. Together the four young women travel throughout the kingdom in search of allies to help oust the invaders and take back Zhen’s rightful throne.

But the golden serpent still haunts Ning’s nightmares with visions of war and bloodshed. An evil far more ancient than the petty conflicts of men has awoken, and all the magic in the land may not be enough to stop it from consuming the world..

Check out the Tour Schedule to see what other readers are saying about the book!

Book Links:

My Review:

After the amazing ending of Judy I. Lin’s A Magic Steeped in Poison, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on A Venom Dark and Sweet, so I’m thrilled to be part of the book tour for this climactic conclusion to the duology! This book is as well written as the first one, and I found myself highlighting and noting many poignant and powerful lines as I read. Lin’s writing sucks you into a magical and dangerous world with vivid and immersive descriptions and dialogue, layered and compelling characters and plots, and the seamless inclusion of magic, mythology, and folktales.

The story is told from dual perspectives, showing both Ning and Kang’s journeys. I thought this was a particularly effective way to not only show what is happening in different parts of the world but to also explore the feelings and motivations of both characters. I always enjoy reading books from two or more perspectives, as it gives the reader a more intimate look at different characters’ points of view and their feelings about a variety of things.

Having Kang’s perspective is such a bonus. He was an enigmatic character in the first book, so I was glad to have a more in-depth view of him in this book. He goes through so much, and I felt for this young man who is incredibly torn, suffering terribly, and facing unfathomable obstacles. Ning is also a fantastic protagonist, and I was so engrossed in her journey, both physically and emotionally, throughout the duology. She learns a ton about herself, her family, and the world around her, and she shows tremendous growth over the course of the story.

The book has a unique cast of characters, and, in the midst of all the action, danger, political intrigue, and dangerous quests, there is also a lovely exploration of relationships, both familial and romantic. The sisterly bond between Ning and Shu is one of my favorites, as is the budding romance between Ning and Kang! There’s also a ton of suspense and intrigue, as well as a few twists and turns I didn’t see coming. Between assassination attempts, dangerous quests, the usurpation of power, mythical gods and creatures, there is never a dull moment.

I would definitely recommend A Venom Dark and Sweet if you enjoyed the first book, and I’d recommend the duology if you love YA fantasy. Special thanks to TBR and Beyond Tours for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.



Favorite Lines:

We all believe we are at the center of the universe, but we forget we are merely specks among the stars. Moving through the streams of possible futures, sometimes colliding.

There are those who refuse to see things even when the truth is right before them.

Choosing the right words is winning half the battle, in what is said and what is unsaid, known and unknown. Sometimes it is better to push forward than to step back.

The world began with a dream. Our lives are the same. Keep dreaming, my daughters. The world is greater than you know.

Do not confuse fear with respect…They will follow both, but you will see how easily one will falter.

About the Author:

Judy I. Lin was born in Taiwan and immigrated to Canada with her family at a young age. She grew up with her nose in a book and loved to escape to imaginary worlds. She now works as an occupational therapist, and still spends her nights dreaming up imaginary worlds of her own. She lives on the Canadian prairies with her husband and daughter. A Magic Steeped in Poison is her debut novel.

Author Links:

10 thoughts on “Book Tour Review: A Venom Dark and Sweet by Judy I. Lin

  1. I can’t wait to start this duo! I’m waiting on the library copy of this one and then going to binge them back to back! Great review!

Leave a Reply