The Potion Diaries / Madly (Potion #1)
by Amy Alward
When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. Oops! A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in the magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn.
Enter Samantha Kemi - an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam's family were once the most replaced alchemists in the kingdom, but they've fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really completely with the dazzling powers of the Zoro Aster megapharma company? Just how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and family's enemy, in the meantime?
And just to add to the pressure, this quest is all over social media. And the world news.
No big deal, then.
Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster for an honest review.
I've read my fair share of what I want to call "dark fantasy". You know the books set in realms where everything is kind of like the medieval ages? People travel by horse, everyone is a farmer and super poor, the royalty is corrupt, assassins run rampant - if they aren't our protagonists - and their is a need for some sort of rebellion. It's a fantastic genre but also kind of depressing at times. No one seems happy within those realms despite them usually have a kind of awesome magical system. The Potion Diaries, however, was fantastically light-hearted, almost whimsical, and managed to be without sacrificing the fast-paced nature of the adventure story it was telling.
The characters were perfect. I loved Sam, our protagonist, who had all the qualities I love in an MC. She was determined, smart but not cocky, she cared about people and she was just plain old sweet. I also loved that she was a homebody and loved books and researching and hot chocolate. She was just a really decent and realistic character.
What caught my attention the most though was the plot. I enjoyed every last second of it. I definitely managed to create the right vibe, and blended a perfect mix of fun and adventure. I was always kept on my toes, but it certainly wasn't action-packed. It was much more engaging than it was thrilling. There was so much to discover about this world and I simply adored the mixing side to it.
The only problems I had were rather minuscule. The ending was a little too abrupt for my liking and it was over before it really began. I am certainly glad that there is a sequel! I also didn't support the romance wholeheartedly. It was cute, sweet and rather adorable, but I didn't quite ship it. It needed a little more time, but I think that by the end of the next book it should have had the time it needed to strengthen.
Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised by this book and I am eager to pick up both the sequels and whatever else Amy Alward writes.