ARC Review: The Poisons We Drink by Bethany Baptiste

Posted May 6, 2024 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 7 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review:  The Poisons We Drink by Bethany BaptisteThe Poisons We Drink by Bethany Baptiste
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on May 7, 2024
Genres: YA LGBTQ, YA Urban Fantasy
Pages: 480
Source: the publisher
Format: ARC
My Rating: four-stars
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In a country divided between humans and witchers, Venus Stoneheart hustles as a brewer making illegal love potions to support her family.

Love potions is a dangerous business. Brewing has painful, debilitating side effects, and getting caught means death or a prison sentence. But what Venus is most afraid of is the dark, sentient magic within her.

Then an enemy’s iron bullet kills her mother, Venus’s life implodes. Keeping her reckless little sister Janus safe is now her responsibility. When the powerful Grand Witcher, the ruthless head of her coven, offers Venus the chance to punish her mother’s killer, she has to pay a steep price for revenge. The cost? Brew poisonous potions to enslave D.C.’s most influential politicians.

As Venus crawls deeper into the corrupt underbelly of her city, the line between magic and power blurs, and it’s hard to tell who to trust…Herself included.

So I thought this one came out in March, the ARC said March 5th. Then on Goodreads it said March 24th, so I postponed reading it for a week or so because it was so long. And then as I went to write this review, I saw it doesn’t come out till May 7th now! So I’m writing this in March, but you won’t be reading it actually here on the blog until closer to pub date.

This was a looooooong book. And when at first it didn’t grab me, I almost put it down to add to my DNF list. However, I kept giving it a chance, and did eventually get hooked into the story and seeing what would happen. The magical world was very creative and interesting. And there were a ton of twists and turns, betrayals, but then maybe it wasn’t as much of a betrayal, and then lookout because there was yet another person who was not really on their side. There were quite a few characters to keep track of on that side of who was good and who was bad and who was family, etc. Lots to keep track of at times that I know I missed when I’d have to reread a paragraph to understand something a person was doing.

But, as I said, the magical world was so unique in so many ways. I liked the different types of powers or magic the people had. Venus, the main character, had so many different aspects to her own, and how it changed in ways throughout the story kept me reading to see what could actually be done and how. The political design of this world was similar to what is real, but also had enough changes to make it interesting and not as infuriating in some ways. Their is representation of culture and sexuality in the characters as well. There is really something for everyone who enjoys a good fantasy with a bit of realistic contemporary/urban setting. Just know that it is a long book and settle in for a bit of time spent reading.

Bethany Baptiste is a slightly responsible grown-up living Jacksonville, Florida in a little brick house with her fiancé, three chaotic evil dogs, and too many books. She holds two degrees in Early Childhood Education and taught for seven years. Now as an inclusion specialist, she advocates for preschoolers with special needs. When not prying a shoe from a Schnauzer’s jaws, she writes about Black kids with big hearts and little morals. You can visit her at or @storysorcery on Twitter. Bethany is represented by Andrea Morrison of Writers House.

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7 responses to “ARC Review: The Poisons We Drink by Bethany Baptiste

  1. The magical setting and how unique it was sounds really good. Too bad about it being so long and taking a while to grab you, but sounds like it was worth to stick with it.

    • Lisa Mandina

      Yeah, it helps to know that for sure. Often if my blog schedule is full, I will pass on books that aren’t by authors I’m familiar with or not books I requested.

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