Bitter Medicine

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Product Details

$18.95  $17.62
Tachyon Publications
Publish Date
6.11 X 9.0 X 0.91 inches | 0.88 pounds

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About the Author

Mia Tsai is a Taiwanese American author of speculative fiction. She lives in Atlanta with her family and, when not writing, is a hype woman for her orchids and a devoted cat gopher. Her favorite things include music of all kinds (really, truly) and taking long trips with nothing but the open road and a saucy rhythm section. She has been quoted in Glamour once. In her other lives, she is a professional editor, photographer, and musician. Mia is on Twitter at @itsamia and on Instagram at @mia.tsai.books.


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[STARRED REVIEW] "Sparks fly in Tsai's refreshing and enchanting paranormal debut. A sordid family past has driven gifted immortal Elle Mei, a descendant of Shénnóng, the Chinese god of medicine, into leading a quiet, unassuming life. Though Elle's exceptional talent at magical calligraphy could easily earn her a lucrative career, she chooses to cover up the extent of her gift, hiding in plain sight as an "ordinary" glyphmaker in Raleigh, N.C. It's the only way she knows how to protect her family, as using too much power would surely draw attention. But the temptation to use her full abilities becomes too much to resist when it comes to her favorite customer (and crush), the dashing half-elf security expert Luc Villois. When Luc realizes what Elle's truly capable of, he commissions her to create custom glyphs for an upcoming assignment, and, against her better judgment, she agrees. Meanwhile, Luc has a secret of his own, and he knows that Elle would never choose to spend more time with him if she knew who he truly was. Despite their mutual reservations, their friendship deepens into love--but will their trust in each other be enough to save them when their twisted pasts come back to haunt them? With brilliantly developed, multifaceted characters; a clever magic system; and witty prose, the pages of this fantasy fly. This marks Tsai as a writer to watch."
--Publishers Weekly

"Overflowing with effervescent charm and sly humor, Bitter Medicine intoxicates with its steamy romance, globe-trotting adventure, family drama mystery, and a fabulously inventive world of magic inspired by cross-cultural lore."
--Angela Mi Young Hur, author of Folklorn

"I could not put this book down. Bitter Medicine is a slow-burn romance wrapped in an international spy thriller wrapped in supernatural politics, and it's tasty as hell.
--Annalee Newitz, author of The Terraformers and Autonomous

"An intoxicating blend of mythology, family love and betrayal, and magic, Tsai's debut is an absolute stunner! Mix together one fiercely talented calligrapher, one swoony French half-elf, and a magical world filled with danger and mystery, and you get a breathlessly compelling contemporary fantasy. Bitter Medicine is as elegant and potent as one of Elle's spells."
--Sierra Simone, USA Today bestselling author of The Fae Queen's Captive

"Tsai delights with this fast-paced, romantic-fantasy debut brimming with ancient xianxia magic, simmering heat, and murderous family feuds that cross time and space. Elle is the middle child of a Chinese medicine god, living off the grid to avoid a brutal younger brother and using her magical talents to create subpar calligraphy for the Roland and Riddle agency. The only joy life holds is her infrequent interactions with Luc, a sexy and mysterious half-elf fixer. When Luc commissions a special set of glyphs at the start of a new case, he unwittingly kicks off a series of events that pull Elle from the dusty confines of her stagnant day-to-day into the open, where everything she wants is there for the taking. Tsai is incredibly skilled at ratcheting up the heat between her two main characters through charming banter, informed consent, and honest discussions about wants and needs. The end result is a refreshing and cleverly written novel that is finely attuned to both fantasy and romance and highlights the best of each genre."

"VERDICT: Urban fantasy readers will appreciate the well-crafted hidden world, and lovers of bad boy or Mafia romances will see Luc as their darkly delicious type, all while Elle's long sacrifice will break readers' hearts. Fans of Sarah J. Maas's epic paranormal fantasies will also find much to savor in Tsai's debut."
--Library Journal

"As a contemporary fantasy debut, Mia Tsai's Bitter Medicine is an extraordinary and distinct blend of agent thriller, the supernatural, and romance."
--Asia Pacific Arts

"Creative, tense, and extremely swoonworthy, Mia Tsai's Bitter Medicine brings together cultures, mythical creatures, and genres for an unforgettable mash-up debut that will appeal to fans of Fonda Lee and paranormal romance enthusiasts."
--Mike Chen, New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Brotherhood

"The modern Chinese diaspora fantasy that I've yearned for--fresh, exciting, with characters who leap off the page."
--Courtney Milan, author of The Devil Comes Courting

"Contemporary fantasy at its best: sharp, complex but contained and driven by two lovable characters working hard for their Happily Ever After."
--Shelf Awareness

"Magical, sexy, and snarky, Bitter Medicine is perfect for grown up fans of Artemis Fowl looking to scratch that fairy heist itch."
--Lara Elena Donnelly, author of the Amberlough Dossier and Base Notes

"A romp of a supernatural action-romance, Bitter Medicine is a sparkling mix of angsty yearning, cool magic, family drama, and intriguing side characters, with a garnish of wonderful use of language!"
--Malka Older, author of Infomocracy

"I love a good fantastical, paranormal romance, don't you? About the only romance novels I go for these days include elves and fairies in slow-burn steam and magical mythology anyway, and Mia Tsai's debut has plenty of all of it!"
--Ms. Magazine

"Bitter Medicine goes down like a spoonful of sugar with a dash of spice: a dazzling and adventurous romantic fantasy with tons of heart. I can't wait to see what Mia Tsai does next!"
--Hugo Award-winning editor Diana M. Pho

"Bitter Medicine is a magical novel in which two lonely people have to let go of their pasts and forgive themselves for the sake of their romance."

"The romance between Luc and Elle was steamier than expected, but for the most part it was incredibly sweet and fluffy, peppered with yearning and the occasional angst. Their chemistry was lovely to witness and there were moments that made me audibly gasp because they were just so cute!"
--Min's Archives