With less than a full week until its March 14 publication day (though the book is currently available from Tachyon and other select outlets), Mia Tsai’s charming debut novel BITTER MEDICINE hooks readers as evident by favorable reviews from Utopia State of Mind, Suncerae Smith at The Book on the High Shelf, Blakeandbooks’ Bookstagram, and mentions from Natalie Zutter in Literay Hub‘s March’s Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books and similarly at Smart Bitches Trashy Books‘ Hide Your Wallet: March 2023 New Releases, Part One. Without comment, The Mary Sue lists BITTER MEDICINE among The Mary Sue Book Club, March 2023: Powerful Magic, Sensational Secrets, & Public Policy. In The Fantasy Cafe guest post, Tsai reveals her love of aftermaths.
BITTER MEDICINE immediately hooked me with the premise of a romance between an elf and immortal. And what begins as this fantasy premise, only evolves. The fantasy elements begin to bloom and we are able to see a world full of talents and dangers. With cute chemistry and plenty of awkward moments – this made me feel very seen – you instantly root for them. But beneath the surface, BITTER MEDICINE turns into an introspective story about choice.Utopia State of Mind
BITTER MEDICINE is a xianxia-inspired contemporary fantasy romance, and there’s so much to love about it. The worldbuilding is diverse, with distinct eastern and western cultures, and, my favorite, a sprinkle of multiple languages. Tsai chose not to translate the few phrases back into English, which I love. It inspires the reader to see through the characters’ eyes and adds to the worldbuilding.The Book on the High Shelf
This charming xianxia-inspired contemporary fantasy draws from Chinese mythology, as with Shénnóng, the Chinese god of medicine.Literay Hub
Aarya: This has received rave reviews and author blurbs (including Courtney Milan and Rebecca Roanhorse). I hope it lives up to expectations!Smart Bitches Trashy Books
Susan: I’m intrigued by magic through writing and complicated sibling relationships, so BITTER MEDICINE sounds great
The Case for AftermathsMia Tsai at The Fantasy Cafe
I love endings. They’re easily my favorite part of the book both to read and write, so much so that when I read a book, I often peek at the ending well before I get there just to get a sense of what I should expect. It’s reassuring, in a way, to know that things will coalesce and turn out for good or ill. As a writer, I write toward my ending; I never start a project without knowing exactly how it ends.
Endings are predictable: the hero wins or loses following a stirring climax, which is often a confrontation of some kind. The reader walks away from the book (or the arc, or the chapter, or anything that might constitute an ending because books are full of endings) with the satisfaction of the win or the ache of the loss and many feelings, depending on the complexity of said win or loss. It’s often here that an author will stop the story (or start a new story) because it’s a logical place to stop.
But what I love more than endings are aftermaths.