Back in the capital, Kang watches his father and Chancellor Zhou take control, acting with merciless cruelty to anyone who stands in their way. Kang doesn't agree with his father's tactics, but he doesn't know how to oppose both him and the chancellor. To make matters worse, a shadowy serpent with ancient and evil magic has been loosed. And the serpent wants to consume all the inhabitants of Daxi.
My thoughts: Melody and I both loved A Magic Steeped in Poison, so we were very excited to read this sequel to it, but this book is sadly not nearly as good as the first one. There's a lot of watching, waiting, and traveling in the first half of the book without much action or anything else to move the plot forward. I found all the court politics and the long descriptions of all the different places pretty boring. Ning and Kang don't even meet up again until 180 pages into the story. Their interactions and all of Ning's tea magic was what I enjoyed most about the first book, but there's just not enough of that in this one.
And some of the most important plot points concerning the serpent and the magical relics needed to defeat him weren't even mentioned until the very end. This book just wasn't as well-plotted as the first. I still liked Ning and Kang, and I thought several other characters were fun. And the ending was more exciting than the beginning. But overall, I was pretty disappointed with this one. To see what Melody thought, be sure to check out her review.