A Tempest of Tea

Farrar. (Blood and Tea: Bk. 1). Feb. 2024. 352p. Tr $20.99. ISBN 9780374389406.
Gr 10 Up–Arthie runs Ettenia’s notorious Spindrift; tea house for humans by day, blood house for vampires by night. Arthie’s masterful secret collecting and infamy as the owner of the pistol Calibore shields her establishment. But when Spindrift is threatened by Ettenia’s tyrannical ruler, the Ram, Arthie strikes a deal with a mysterious young man, putting together a small crew to pull off a heist at the vampire’s elite stomping grounds, the Anthereum. Set in a paranormally enhanced country inspired by historical England, Faizal dives into the impact of colonization, driven by the powerful and greedy rulers. Savvy readers will immediately recognize key components that tie this story to the author’s “Sands of Arawiya” duology, expanding the world to a country where Peaky Blinders meets Arthurian legend. Shuffling between three points of view (Arthie, Jin, and Flick), the story balances mysterious intrigue and budding romances quite well. The quips and wit between characters infuse the plot with humor as the crew learns that to beat the Ram, they must stop playing by society’s rules. Add in the spine-gripping revelations at the end, and readers will be scrambling for more. Additionally, tea drinkers will emphatically appreciate the ode to tea championed by the diverse cast throughout.
VERDICT Sweet danger abides in this heist novel perfect for fans of Faizal’s first duology and Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows.

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