A Venom Dark and Sweet

Feiwel & Friends. (The Book of Tea: Bk. 2). Aug. 2022. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250767103.
Gr 9 Up–Fans didn’t have to wait long for the thrilling conclusion to the “Book of Tea” duology. This sequel picks up almost immediately where the first book left off, with Ning and her crew on the run from Princess Zhen’s uncle, with Ning branded a traitor for poisoning people at the last feast before everything went terribly wrong. Ning has managed to save her sister, but can she save all of Dàxi? The princess still doesn’t completely trust her, and the boy she might love helped bring about the coup that unseated the princess. Ning must follow her own path to keep her sister safe and save the entire kingdom. In the capital, Kang struggles with following his father’s orders, a father he barely recognizes anymore. He can tell something is wrong, but he doesn’t know if he can find the courage to stand up for what is right, when all he wants is his father’s approval. And he can’t stop thinking about Ning and trying to find out the truth about the poison that made its way through the court. What he discovers will test his familial bond, and tug on the bond that the shénnóng-shi magic created with Ning. Though the switch to Kang’s third-person narrator can be jarring, it is an immensely satisfying conclusion to this duology. Ning must test her own limits and mature beyond her years to ensure that everyone she loves is safe.
VERDICT A satisfying conclusion to Lin’s duology, and teens will be clamoring for more.

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