Saturday, July 25, 2015

Review: The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward

Title: The Potion Diaries
Author: Amy Alward
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Adventure
Source: Simon & Schuster Australia

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.
Review by Nara

It's really not very often that I feel the urge to use the phrase "fluffy high fantasy book", but it's definitely one that I'm pulling out for The Potion Diaries. It reminds me a bit of a book named Poison by Bridget Zinn- it has that same "fun and light" sort of vibe that isn't often seen in high fantasy.

I have a feeling that my expectations were slightly too high going into this book because of two reasons. The first is that Amy Alward is actually also known as Amy McCulloch, author of The Oathbreaker's Curse- a book I really enjoyed. The second is that amazing blurb by Sarah J Maas, who is one of my favourite authors. Because of these two pieces of knowledge I think I expected maybe a bit too much from the book. I mean, I could see that it was probably going to be a fluffy sort of book from the cover and blurb, but somehow I expected a little more? That's not to say I didn't enjoy the book though. It was still a fun read, and it being short, I feel like the amount of time I invested in it wasn't wasted compared to how much entertainment I got out of it.

The plot is a pretty straightforward adventure, with Samantha completing a variety of small tasks to eventually achieve her goal of making a cure for Princess Evelyn (who accidentally takes the love potion meant for her crush and falls in love with herself). Some of the tasks were actually quite creative, although I did have a bit of trouble with suspension of disbelief with how easily our protagonist was able to complete some of the tasks (or how luck just seemed to be on her side- basically the equivalent of: oh look! There's an ingredient on the side of the road which is the exact one I needed for this potion!) I also found it a little unrealistic how she was able work out ingredients for potions that absolutely no one else thinks of. I suppose she could have been particularly intelligent though.

While it was undoubtedly not a book that particularly shocked or made you think profound things or gave you many feels, The Potion Diaries is still a book worth reading when you're in the mood for something quick and fun.

Liked it
Overall: 7/10
Plot: 3.5/5
Romance: 3/5
Writing: 3.5/5
World Building: 2/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 3/5