July 27, 2015 by Bernadette ~ The Bumbling Bookworm
The Potion Diaries (Potion #1) by Amy Alward
Publisher/Year: Simon & Schuster AU, 2 July 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Courtesy of the Publisher
Rating: 3.5 stars
Other books from author: This is Amy Alward’s debut novel!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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 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 respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they’ve fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really compete with the dazzling powers of the ZoroAster megapharma company? Just how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and 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.
What I Thought…
This was a fun, quick book to read and I breezed through it. I had some issues with it but overall it was an enjoyable read and I quite liked it.
The Potion Diaries takes us on a journey where our protagonist, Samantha, has to use her potion making abilities to save the princess of Nova, who has been poisoned by her own love potion. A potion originally intended for Zain Aster, son of the head of the ZoroAster megapharma company reknowned for the synthetic potion ingredients, or ‘synths’. Samantha, on the other hand, is decidedly old school in her approach to alchemy, thanks in no small part to her grandpa and his grudge against ZoroAster. Hijinks abound as Samantha embarks on an adventure to find the natural ingredients she needs to save the princess’ life.
I commented in a review last week that I HATE when books are marketed as the “next book like other awesome book!” Well, The Potion Diaries is no exception to this rule. Take a look at this horrid pitch: “The Hunger Games meets The Princess Diaries in this modern, magical, clean-teen adventure.” All they needed to say was “A modern, magical, clean-teen adventure!” Much better! Because, to be brutally honest, this book is nothing like either of those books and it’s pitches like this that make me not want to read a book. In fact, the only reason I cracked this book open was due to the quote on the front cover from the incomparable Sarah J. Maas – “Inventive, romantic and downright delightful.” That is a far better pitch, a more accurate description of this book, and from a quality author at that.
And after all of that, I’m glad I cracked this book open! While the story is skewed more at the older middle grade crowd, I found it to be quite entertaining for the most part. There were times when I cringed a bit at the writing or the direction of the plot, and the writing was a little simplistic at times. Some of Samantha’s actions were a little cringeworthy, and at times she really had me feeling quite frustrated. Other times, I couldn’t help but laugh! Without spoiling anything, there’s a particularly funny scene involving Samantha, her grandpa and the dinner table that gave me a chuckle.
On the whole, The Potion Diaries was interesting and I wanted to know what was happening next. The story was engaging, and I had that need to know if Princess Evelyn would be okay. The romance was a little cliched, but even that I didn’t mind so much. It certainly hooked me in, and is the first in a trilogy, so I’m interested to see where the books go from here.
If you like cute and quirky reads pitched at a younger audience, then this is definitely a read for you. Pay no attention to the hype comparisons and enjoy this book for what it is; fantasy, adventure, and a quest to save a princess!
What did you think of this book? Did you enjoy it?