• Selena | Beauty's Library

Poison and Poultice Review

Just in the short novella alone, I was introduced to a unique world filled with magical abilities and dark creatures.


Rating: 4/5

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.

I received this novella as a gift through The Parliament House Press for helping out to promote this on its publishing day. Of course, that meant I wanted to read this one! I was able to squeeze this in just in time for its publication date.


This novella is part of The Gate Cycle series by Kristin Jacques. Even though this is labeled Book 1.5 in the series, from its summary it sounded to be before the events of the main books in this series as it didn’t directly follow the main characters mentioned in the summary of the main books. So I figured I’d give this a shot on reading it on its own.


I found this to be a fun quick read. Though I’ll be honest, I did struggle a bit. I felt having this be technically an in-between novella, I missed some of the world-building that was probably in the previous book. However, that didn’t deter me from wanting to keep going. I wasn’t confused in following the storyline despite being in a mythical realm, I just struggled to figure out some of the terminology used. The storyline was fairly easy to follow.


I felt having this be technically an in-between novella, I missed some of the world-building that was probably in the previous book. However, that didn’t deter me from wanting to keep going.

It actually got me curious about the rest of the series. Just in the short novella alone, I was introduced to a unique world filled with magical abilities and dark creatures. I want to know what happens next now! And maybe get a little more detail and backstory of this realm to what I read in this novella.


Just in the short novella alone, I was introduced to a unique world filled with magical abilities and dark creatures.

As I mentioned, the storyline was easy to follow. And I found the pace went well for a novella. I don’t want to give too much away. But I will say I wanted to keep reading as we followed our main character in both a present timeline and his past years leading up to his current predicament. I found it to be an original fantasy world to read about.


I definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys stories that take place in a dark fantasy realm filled with magic!