Bitter Medicine is a story about family and love. Not only are there scenes of action, but it’s an emotional story about wondering how we define ourselves. Who do we want to be? Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Bitter Medicine immediately hooked me with the premise of a romance between an elf and immortal. And what begins as this fantasy premise, only evolves. The fantasy elements begin to bloom and we are able to see a world full of talents and dangers. With cute chemistry and plenty of awkward moments – this made me feel very seen – you instantly root for them. But beneath the surface, Bitter Medicine turns into an introspective story about choice.
Who are we? It takes a universal theme and breaks it down for us in a way that manages to resonate with readers. Are we just a sum of all the things we do for people? Our skills, high test scores, and jobs? Or are we just who are family is, where we were raised? Bitter Medicine unexpectedly struck a chord within me. It’s easy to say that a person is who they are and not any of that. And another to live that. We can fantasize about what we would do if we weren’t tied down to duty or to what people expect of us.
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But to actually internalize that? That’s hard work. And at that intersection of love, community, and choice exists Bitter Medicine. I ended up finishing this book days before I was supposed to because I was captivated by both Luc and Elle. Their immense differences, problems, and similarities. With a fabulous sibling relationship on top, Bitter Medicine is a story focused on choice and the importance of connections – and people – which make our lives. Find Bitter Medicine on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org, & The Book Depository.