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Review “The Potion Diaries”

Title: The Potion Diaries |Author: Amy Alward |Publisher: Simon & Schuster |Series: The Potion Diaries #1 |320 pages

I bought this book on a whim, after finding out about this series in a short story anthology I was reading some time ago. Naturally, I decided to read the whole series first, before I start with the short story that I found on a whim. As you do.

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.

Judging by the pastel covers and the blub you would maybe think that this book is a little silly. Well, let me tell you, it’s not. I was utterly impressed by the world building. Have you ever wondered if good old fashioned magic and new technology can go together? Do they always have to be seperated in this world? Maybe not. Amy Alward has cooked up an impressive mixture of technology, magic and good old fashioned alchemy, cleverly put togehter.

The wordbuilding is what has drawn me deeper into this book but there is more to it that just that. The main character, Sam, is a relatable, pleasant character – for the lack of a better description. What I mean is, that I didn’t feel the need to roll my eyes when reading about her, not like some incentive is pushed at me. She is just a teenage girl with problems and a special gift, that she herself doesn’t see as too special in a world full of magic, while the old crafts are slowly forgotten. She has to deal with a lot of pressure and she’s giving it her best shot. I just plain liked her, that’s what I’m saying.

Most of the book is written in first person told from Sam’s perspective there were also chapters that shows Princess Evelyn’s descent into madness, her desperate wish for love and happiness inmidst of all the rules and expectations placed on her and I thought that was a very interesting choice. It also gives the reader certain clues of the how and why and unravels everything very slowly while the main plotline follows Sam hunting for ingredients.

While the main focus is on the Wild Hunt and the quest that comes with it there is also a little lovestory in there and while it’s obvious from the start how this is gonna end, I still think that the story was cute and that fans of forbitten love/enemies-to-loves will like it.

Sure, there are a few questions I still have and some things that need some clearing up for me. (I’m not sure if that’s just me though. It could be that I was just not paying attention enough?) All in all I still think it was a well rounded story.

In the end, I can say that I really enjoyed diving into this world that was a intersting and wonderful mix of rustic old-fashioned and shiny modern stuff, of alchemy and magic and technology. It had a likeable main character within a fast-paced and actionfilled plot and I loved following the story, the Hunt, the mystery. I would warmly recommend you to give it a shot and I’m happy to have found such a (mer-)pearl.

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