Judy I. Lin weaves a captivating tale of political intrigue, court conspiracy, assassination, and betrayal in A Magic Steeped in Poison. Weighed down by the grief and guilt of accidentally poisoning her mother and sister, Ning enters the princess’s shénnóng competition, where apprentices of the ancient, magical art of tea-making will perform the ritual before an assembly of judges in hopes of becoming the princess’s official shénnóng-shi. Ning believes that in winning she can get access to a cure for her sister; she’ll do just about anything to save her. Once within the palace as a competitor, Ning finds herself caught in the paths of opposing political powers, unsure who can be trusted and who is really at fault for the poison spreading throughout the kingdom. In this intensely stratified society, class and privilege operate insidiously, creating systems of oppression that penetrate even into the inner-workings of the competition. The conspiracies that have only just begun to unravel in this first installment of Lin’s young adult fantasy duology The Book of Tea shock and thrill at every turn.