Book Review: Poison & Poultice (The Gate Cycle #1.5)

Title: Poison & Poultice

Author: Kristin Jacques

Pub. Date: July 13, 2021

Pages: 63

Pub: The Parliament House

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Every magic has a taste–from the cold, cloying sweetness of the Winnowrooks to the hinted rot and bitter earth of the Mire witches. To know the flavor of one’s magic is to know the poison that will control it.

Oswin Brixby is a traveling Meister, accompanied by his dearest childhood friend and helpmate, Lia. Trained in the subtle magics mastered by the people of the Hooded Wood, his extensive knowledge of the natural and unnatural world gives him a free pass to the journeyman road–the one and only protected path between the varying territories, Above and Below.

Brixby believes he is content in his wandering trade, though in his heart of hearts, he wonders what his true purpose should be. Despite this nagging doubt, there has never been a reason to change or deviate from the known. That is until Lia stumbles onto two foundlings in the pitch-black depths Below. A boy and a girl whose magic tastes of something far too dangerous to be left alive.

This will be a mini spoiler free review. Thank you to The Parliament House for reaching out and providing me a free copy in exchange for an honest review. This was the backstory I didn’t know I needed or wanted, and let’s talk about that reveal towards the end.

But first, if you haven’t yet, go read Marrow Charm – I don’t know what the hell you’re waiting for, but you’ve been waiting for too long. You can check out my spoiler free review here. If you have read Marrow Charm, good for you, now you need to go pick up Skin Curse because it gets so much better and more involved. You can check out my review for it, here.

I wasn’t ready.

I had to reread pages to make sure I was reading things right. Then I promptly started freaking out. This novella bridges the gap between Marrow Charm and Skin Curse and honestly, I didn’t know I needed a Brixby backstory. But I enjoyed it so much.

And just like with every other book Kristin has written, I was immediately transported into the world. Nevermind that it’s been 3 years since I read Marrow Charm and a handful of months since Skin Curse, but it was so easy to fall back into this world, with these characters.

But seriously! That twist. That little honesty bomb Brixby let slip. I wasn’t ready. And then I lowkey started freaking out for a whole other reason – am I overreacting? Is this information we already knew since this bridges the gap between books 1 & 2?

I feel like I would have freaked the fuck out if it had been revealed so I’m thinking my brain just ran away with the excitement a bit.

And knowing what I know now, I’m going to look at the characters in a whole new light. Fuck, this just re-cemented my love for this world and these characters. Blood Vow can’t come soon enough. I need more. I really just need more.

I would say that if you’ve read the first two books – pick this up. If you haven’t, or if you’ve only read Marrow Charm – I’d read Skin Curse before you dive into this novella. You could totally read them in numerical order, but I think it adds something amazing if you read it after Skin Curse because things make so much sense. Either way, read it – just read Marrow Charm first. And seriously, read this series – you’re desperately missing out.

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