Mia Tsai’s gorgeous debut novel BITTER MEDICINE was one of the best of 2023

Mia Tsai’s richly varied BITTER MEDICINE garners year end acclaim from Jenny Hamilton at Tor.com, The Smut Report, Kai Stephan, and the Book Riot podcast SFF Yeah!

Bitter Medicine by Mia Tsai
Cover art by Jia-Ling Pan
Design by Elizabeth Story

The current crop of contemporary fantasy romances can feel a little cookie-cutter, and BITTER MEDICINE stands out for its richly varied world-building and its emphasis on the power of magic to create, rather than to destroy.


Fantasy often exists as a subculture set in the real world, but it’s never diverse, so the common sense of having fantastical characters from different backgrounds reflect their local mythologies blew my mind

The Smut Report

Everyone who knows me knows I won’t shut up about this book. I read it from the library, then bought my own copy a week later and read it again. Then listened to the audiobook. Honestly, I have a hard time describing what makes it “good” because it feels like it was written for me personally and I don’t know how to separate the objectively gorgeous parts with the highly specific tropes that hit all my sweet spots. Chinese magic in a Western setting! Angsty assassin bound in service to a cruel master learning how to function as a person! Self-sacrificing person learning to value themself! Queer lovers! Non-romantic bonds that are just as important as romantic ones! This book is everything to me.

Kai Stephan