May 30, 2021StevenCHager rated this title 3.5 out of 5 stars
A fantasy novel that defies a lot of the established tropes of the genre. In an African-inspired world, a sort of magical climate change is devastating the environment. Djola, the eponymous Master of Poisons, seeks a spell to cure it. He eventually joins with the novel's other lead - Awa, a young woman whose father sold her as a child and whose life is shaped largely by the political strife in this world. Just as there are no simple solutions for climate change in the real world, a magical climate change also evades quick fixes. There may be no silver bullets for the novel's conflict, but you'll end up with some sense of hope by the end.
The author's writing style might not be for everyone. She has an odd tendency to vividly describe some mundane things, and then use only a few sentences to describe important plot points. It took some time to adapt to this rhythm in her writing, but it does have its charms.
The novel also touches on themes of bigotry, gender identity and identity in general, change, and found families.