With assured prose and a well-plotted, well-paced story, Mia Tsai’s groundbreaking BITTER MEDICINE is an extraordinary and distinct blend of agent thriller, the supernatural, and romance

Though some six months until its March release (the book, both physical and digital, is currently available directly from Tachyon and other select outlets), Mia Tsai’s debut novel BITTER MEDICINE has earned glowing reviews from Valerie Wu for Asia Pacific Arts and Mike Reeves-McMillan at The Review Curmudgeon. She was also interviewed by Grace Wynter at Writer Unboxed.

cover for Bitter Medicine by Mia Tasi
Cover art by Jia-Ling Pan
Design by Elizabeth Story

As a contemporary fantasy debut, Mia Tsai’s Bitter Medicine is an extraordinary and distinct blend of agent thriller, the supernatural, and romance. Although these different elements do get lost in one another, the overall way they play out together is a welcome form of “medicine” for readers craving a groundbreaking work of fiction.

Asia Pacific Arts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A capably written fantasy/romance with a strong element of Chinese mythology, something I tend to enjoy despite not having much familiarity with the source material.

Even in the pre-publication copy I received via Netgalley, the editing is good, with just a few very minor mistakes. As is often the case, that’s accompanied by assured prose and a well-plotted, well-paced story.

The Review Curmudgeon

GW: What do you want readers to take away from reading BITTER MEDICINE?

MT: I wanted, frankly, a story centering an Asian American woman who suffers from depression and who doesn’t have to go it alone, no matter how much she thinks she should. That story is something I think we see quite rarely, though in my experience, it’s not rare at all. Asian American women suffer disproportionately from depression, but that’s not reflected much in our media, especially in genre fiction (shoutout here to Angela Mi Young Hur and Folklorn, which has depictions of depression and grief). The first rewrite of BITTER MEDICINE was actually too depressed, believe it or not, so I had to pare back the bits that were making readers blue. For the Asians out there, I want them to know they don’t have to be alone, that community is there to support and uplift them, that reaching out to get help in whatever way you need is good, and that we will all be happy to know you’re here tomorrow and tomorrow and all the days after.

Writer Unboxed