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. 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 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, they begin a dangerous collaboration, but 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.
In this debut novel, Bitter Medicine by Mia Tsai, I found the story beautiful with a lovely and complex romance. Part of the reasons lie in how well the characters are written. Neither Luc or Elle or without flaws and both have duties that preclude relationships. Yet, the romance is there, the characters are written with intricate layers and the love story is the most logical and compelling romance I’ve yet seen.
The magic is written astonishingly well, with nuances and unexpected methods. Nothing is neat or tidy but it is compelling how well it is thought out. And the choices that the characters make with their magic is part of what makes the story so intriguing. The ending is how I would have figured out the solution to the problem the pair have but that does not make it stale but rather the perfect resolution for the story, one full of love and joy despite all the sacrifices both characters make in order to have happy lives.
If you like stories with a happy ending, with love stories and romance, this novel is for you. It is a fascinating story with an intriguing magical system. The story has a lovely and complex romance with characters I frankly like a lot. If they were real people, I’d want to be friends with them. And I adore the ending.
Rating: 5 out of 5 brushes