A review by foreverinastory
Master of Poisons, by Andrea Hairston

adventurous dark emotional mysterious tense slow-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


  Thank you to Macmillian Audio who provided me with an ALC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Full disclosure: I shouldn't have listened to this as fast as I did. I am very unfamiliar with the names and I wish I had taken the time to slow down so I could absorb them (mainly for side characters). That being said, I did not take any stars off for this as it is solely my own damn fault. But I do plan to reread this in the future either physically or in conjunction with the audiobook.

First off, this book is a stunning and epic high fantasy. Do not go into this book expecting anything different. This book is long and the world building is immense, but all of it is necessary. The plot is slow moving and covers very large swaths of time so be prepared.

Master of Poisons follows Djola and Awa. Djola is the Master of poisons until he is blamed for an attempted rebellion and poison sand corrupting his homeland. Exiled from the Arkhysian Empire, he must find answers in old alchemical texts with the aid of pirates. Awa is a young woman training to become a griot after being sold by her family--may be wrong in this but I think she is of a caste or supernatural being that is the object of oppression?? There's something here if I can't remember exactly because I remember her being the object of a lot of slurs.

This book is full of folklore and mythology similar to The Priory of the Orange Tree or Raybearer. It is a vibrant world full of magic, conflict and blooming relationships. There is also a large part of the world that is nonbinary. These characters are known as vesons and use the neopronoun vie. I definitely thought this book was the beginning of a series, but I am glad it was not. The ending was wild and I absolutely loved it. 

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