Title: Master of Poisons
Author: Andrea Hairston
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 8, 2020
Pages: 498
Book Source: Netgalley

“The world is changing. Poison desert eats good farmland. Once-sweet water turns foul. The wind blows sand and sadness across the Empire. To get caught in a storm is death. To live and do nothing is death. There is magic in the world, but good conjure is hard to find.

Djola, right hand man and spymaster of the lord of the Arkhysian Empire, is desperately trying to save his adopted homeland, even in exile.

Awa, a young woman training to be a powerful griot, tests the limits of her knowledge and comes into her own in a world of sorcery, floating cities, kindly beasts, and uncertain men.

Awash in the rhythms of folklore and storytelling and rich with Hairston’s characteristic lush prose, Master of Poisons is epic fantasy that will bleed your mind with its turns of phrase and leave you aching for the world it burns into being.” – Amazon

Kim’s Review

I have always enjoyed reading epic fantasy. I love to look into an author’s world that they completely made up, and be awed and inspired by it. Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston did have a very rich world that was highly detailed. It was a world mixed with violence and beauty. You can tell that Hairston put her heart and soul into her world and for that, this book was excellent.

Now in every epic fantasy you have names of people and places that you won’t be familiar with, and sometimes it does take a bit for the flow to get going and for the reader to catch on. I expect that and it’s part of what makes a fantasy novel so interesting. But when you add in lots of unfamiliar words for things too, it becomes a lot harder for me to find my flow. If some of the things would have been explained faster this could have helped me to understand better. And when things were explained it was more of an information dump instead of having it flow seamlessly into the story.

Often short chapters are used to keep the action going and this makes the reader want to keep turning the pages to find out what will happen next. But the short chapters in Master of Poisons had more of a choppy effect, often taking me out of the story. There were times when more was needed to be said before jumping to something else.

Even though I couldn’t get into Master of Poisons like I was hoping, I’m not going to say you shouldn’t read it, since it might be something you really end up enjoying.

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