The Potion Diaries (or Madly)
Author: Amy Alward
When Princess Evelyn accidentally gives herself a love potion a hunt among Nova’s great alchemists is called to find the ingredients and undo the spell before the Princess loses all control of her magic. The first thing I thought when I read the synopsis of this book (which I read as Madly from Amazon) was that would be me.
I mean I would be the girl accidentally giving herself a love potion and falling in love with herself (as Evelyn does). Yep, sounds like something silly I would do.
Evelyn is cute and Alward actually does a really good job of not making those scenes too outrageous. But the main character is actually Samantha Kemi, the latest generation of a famous family of alchemists. They used to be the favorites of the royal family but have been pushed out by the big pharmacies and the manufactured synthetic potions they can mass produce.
I enjoyed the story. I enjoyed the magic parts and the scavenger hunt aspect and liked the fact that Sam was a smart character who was not above the ambition to put her family back where she believed they belong. Even if it meant (sadly) making a few mistakes and stabbing a few people in the back along the way.
For what it was I thought the world-building was pretty good here. There’s a lot of history between the Kemi’s and the royal family as well as some of the competitors. The admittedly small inclusion of the media was a nice touch to provide a bit of world color along the way.
I thought the romance with the son of her main competitor Zain Aster (also from the family who stole from her family) was fairly bland. On top of being pretty typical for this type story. Can you trust him? Does he really like her? Can you feel sorry for him or is it all just a ploy? I thought Evelyn’s relationship with herself had more chemistry.
I honestly wish Sam and Zain had been way reduced or completely left out so that it was just Sam, her family and the hunt with interludes of a losing control Princess Evelyn along the way.
Recommend: Yes. It’s a fun fast little fairy tale for people who like magic and globe-trotting scavenger hunts.