Bitter Medicine | ARC Review

Thank you to Tachyon Publications and Netgalley for the review copy. This does not change my opinion in anyway.

Book: Bitter Medicine by Mia Tsai
Release Date: March 14th 2023
Tags: Adult | Elf | Immortal | Romance | Fantasy | Asian MC
Trigger/Content Warnings: Attempted Murder | Trauma


As a descendant of the Chinese god of medicine, ignored middle child Elle was destined to be a doctor. Instead, she is underemployed as a mediocre magical calligrapher at the fairy temp agency, paranoid that her murderous younger brother will find her and their elder brother.

Using her full abilities will expose Elle’s location. Nevertheless, she challenges herself by covertly outfitting Luc, her client and crush, with high-powered glyphs.

Half-elf Luc, the agency’s top security expert, has his own secret: he’s responsible for a curse laid on two children from an old assignment. To heal them, he’ll need to perform his job duties with unrelenting excellence and earn time off from his tyrannical boss.

When Elle saves Luc’s life on a mission, he brings her a gift and a request for stronger magic to ensure success on the next job—except the next job is hunting down Elle’s younger brother.

As Luc and Elle collaborate, their chemistry blooms. Happiness, for once, is an option for them both. But Elle is loyal to her family, and Luc is bound by his true name. To win freedom from duty, they must make unexpected sacrifices.

Bitter Medicine starts as a fantasy romance but deepens out into a story of choice.

We meet Elle as she is at work. It is clear that the work does not give her much challenge to her skills and that a lot is going on with her family. When Luc enters the store there is a clear attraction going on between them. As the interactions between them grow so do the fantasy elements surrounding them.

When I first started this story I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into. It started off a bit slow and the fantasy wasn’t quite so well defined. But as the story progressed I got sucked into the lives of Elle and Luc. They both have a lot going on. Where Elle is in hiding with her brother from her other brother, Luc is stuck in a service that makes him do things he doesn’t want to.

As we get to know Elle and Luc better the fantasy elements of the world start to clear up. Elle is an immortal with a lot of talents towards potions and the like. While Luc is a half elf. And as we see more of the world and the other characters (Lira, Tony, the Wrecking Crew) this story deepens out quite a bit.

In the end it is all about choices. For Elle the choice to live a little instead of hide. Even after the event, she still needs to make that choice. Where as Luc has to make the choice to choose himself. To stand up for himself and get his own life back. It is interesting to see how they move through that. And it was good to see that after the event things weren’t so easily moved away from. Elle needed a lot of time to get used to her new normal. And Luc respected that. Respected that their relationship wasn’t going to just continue on from before naturally.

All in all this was a great book to read. I certainly wouldn’t mind reading more in this world or more about some of the side characters. Tony or The Wrecking Crew please.

4 thoughts on “Bitter Medicine | ARC Review

  1. I totally forgot about this book but your review reminded me again why I was so excited to read it when I first heard about it at the start of the year. It sounds awesome and like a book I’d really enjoy. Great review! 😃

    Liked by 1 person

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