**Disclaimer: I was given a free ARC in exchange for an honest review from as part of a tour from TBR and Beyond Tours.**
Title A Venom Dark and Sweet
Author Judy I. Lin
Release Date August 23, 2022
Date Finished August 23, 2022
The enthralling conclusion to Judy I. Lin’s Book of Tea duology—A Magic Steeped in Poison and A Venom Dark and Sweet—is sure to enchant fans of Adrienne Young and Leigh Bardugo.
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…
Content Warning: violence, fight scenes, witnessed torture, death, disturbing events (mutilation, body horror, forced suicide, possession, and fire).
I love a good duology and I was absolutely captivated by the first book in this series. I couldn’t wait to dive into the conclusion.
I really liked the dual POV in the second book. Our main characters are separated for a large chunk of the story so it was nice to be able to tell what was going on with both of them.
I also enjoyed the addition of some new side characters and that the found family vibes continued in this book.
I think my only hiccup with this one was wanting more. It felt a little slow in some parts and rushed in others and I just wanted my enthusiasm for the first book to match my feelings for the second. I feel like this one came up a touch short of the first installment but was still a very solid read.