Why save the world when you can have tea?

On the streets of White Roaring, Arthie Casimir is a criminal mastermind and collector of secrets. Her prestigious tearoom transforms into an illegal bloodhouse by dark, catering to the vampires feared by society. But when her establishment is threatened, Arthie is forced to strike an unlikely deal with an alluring adversary to save it—and she can’t do the job alone.

Calling on some of the city’s most skilled outcasts, Arthie hatches a plan to infiltrate the sinister, glittering vampire society known as the Athereum. But not everyone in her ragtag crew is on her side, and as the truth behind the heist unfolds, Arthie finds herself in the midst of a conspiracy that will threaten the world as she knows it.

From the New York Times—bestselling author of We Hunt the Flame comes the first book in a hotly anticipated fantasy duology teeming with romance and revenge, led by an orphan girl willing to do whatever it takes to save her self-made kingdom. Dark, action-packed, and swoonworthy, this is Hafsah Faizal better than ever.

Unpopular opinion

2 stars

This is so far the biggest disappointment of 2024.

I haven’t read “We Hunt the Flame” but had heard great things about it. So when I got A Tempest of Tea in my Fairyloot box and read words like “heist”, “ragtag crew” and “orphan girl” I had such high expectations!

Especially as that book got many great reviews.

And seeing all the amazing ratings does really make me feel like the odd duck or the black sheep.

I am sorry for what will follow as I hate giving low ratings because authors put lot of work in their stories but I always swore to be honest in my reviews so, here we are…

What I got in that book is a watered down version of Six of Crows, with characters mooning over each other and making my eyes roll all the way back into my skull!

What had the potential to be great and hedgy was …meek at best, cringy at worst.

I have nothing against romance in YA and fantasy but if your story is about a heist, don’t divert the reader’s attention with mention every five pages of “he looked at her soft lips”, “she felt a zing where he had touched her”, “he had such hypnotic eyes” etc. That was over the top bordering on ridiculous. That didn’t make me feel romance but annoyance. The author was trying too hard and that didn’t ring true.

Mel ( from Goodreads wrote “The relationships weren’t good, the weird flirting between literally everyone who was attempting to flirt felt like it was written by AI “trained” to write flirtatious interactions (so much cringing on my part, and I don’t think it was the I-am-too-old-and-not-the-target-audience cringing).” And that’s exactly how this felt to me!

Another thing that bothered me was feeling nothing for Arthie.

You could compare her to Kaz but where Kaz was intense and mysterious, Arthie just felt distant. I wanted to know more about her past and she had lived through traumatic events but Hafsah’s writing just scraped the surface, didn’t give any intensity to what had been dramatic. Only with what happened to Jin did I get the depth I was expecting.

The heist itself was downplayed. And I can’t explain why I feel like that because the preparation was explained, everyone had a role to play etc. Maybe it’s because all of the aforementioned mooning that broke the rhythm and never gave a chance to intensity to set. I don’t really know.

What I know is that about halfway I lost interest and seriously considered DNFing my read. Instead I opted for speed reading/skimming in the hope to find some redeeming qualities or renewed interest.

What I did like though were:

– the main male characters. Jin, Matteo and Laith.

-Spindrift and the brilliant idea Jin had creating it;

-the concept of the world they lived in.

The best review to sum it up and show how I felt is Yohra  ‘s review : “20% plot 80% teenage hormones”

This is meant to be a duology but I won’t read the sequel.

Now reading a book is a personal experience so before deciding to read or not that book, I encourage you to go read other reviews to have other input about that book.

Thanks for reading.


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  1. I have actually read a bunch of reviews similar to yours, so I wasn’t tempted to read this at all (although I love the cover and it “sounds” amazing!)