Written by Amy Alward
Fantasy, Romance, Adventure
Published July 2nd 2015
Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia
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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 Zoro Aster 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.
The Kemi Potion Shop is falling apart, never mind business not being as bustling as it once was. Synthetic potion makers have taken over the market, driving the little family owned business into disrepair. When Sam and her gruff grandfather are summoned to the palace, the elderly alchemist and his protege called to action to find a cure for a toxic love potion. It seems Princess Evelyn has been poisoned by her own hand, concocting a love potion for an unrequited crush but consuming the mix and falling in love with her own reflection. Her life is in danger and teams from all over Kingstown have been called to participate in The Hunt, a dangerous adventure into the Wilds to obtain the ingredients needed to create a cure.
Along with Finder Kirsty, the odds are stacked against the duo who not only have an exiled royal turned rogue to contend with but Zain, Evelyn's own crush and heir to the Aster synthetic potion empire.
The Potion Diaries was a lovely mix of fantasy, adventure that reads more as a mature middle grade, than young adult series. It follows the story of Sam, apprentice alchemist who lives in the family owned potion store. The Hunt offers Sam a chance for the Kemi Potion Shop to be financially viable once more, provided she finds the cure first. A fantasy modern day setting, it was lighthearted and fun, but the characters seemed far younger than they claimed. The few chapters from the Princess Evelyn's point of view were snort worthy. The potion intended for unrequited love, somehow she ends up consuming it herself and falls in love with her own reflection she affectionately calls Lyn. The Princess playing coy with the mirror, claiming she's found the love of her life was ridiculously funny and only added to the overall lightheartedness of the storyline.
The romance was the only down point and was used as a tool to add further interest. Zain didn't seem all that genuine and often put his father's wishes and Hunt before Sam. She often questions how genuine he is and whether his interest in her was little more than furthering his family's investment in the competition. Team mate Kirsty was more of a vested party than a friend, and although she claimed to be one of the world's best Finders, she let the inexperienced Sam do most of the work instead. She didn't add anything to the storyline and wouldn't have been missed, apart from driving to each destination.
Amy Alward has crafted a fun and lighthearted read for fans of middle grade fantasy, treasure hunts and adventure. Highly entertaining and looking forward to continuing on with the series. Really enjoyed it.