The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward

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The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward

Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Samantha is a mixer of potions extraordinaire. Which is just as well, because someone has to save a princess who has fallen in love with herself. Daft premise, really, but carried out with such gusto, that you can't help but like it.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: July 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1471143562

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Samantha is a mixer of potions extraordinaire. Which is just as well, because someone has to save a princess who has fallen in love with herself. Yes, you heard right! You might not think this is the most enormous problem - princesses are so spoiled and pampered, is it any wonder they fall in love with themselves? But this isn't what's happened. Princess Evelyn has taken a love potion meant to make someone else fall in love with her. And the resulting havoc caused by the wrong person taking the right potion leads to some very unstable magic that could threaten the very kingdom itself.

Hence the Wilde Hunt, a national quest to find the ingredients for a cure.

So. The Potion Diaries is set in a modern world of magic. The old alchemists and wise women are no more. Magic has been corporatised. And the mega-corporations, like ZoroAster, have cornered the market. Sam comes from a long line of potion mixers and her family were once very high up in that world. But their influence - and wealth - has waned in this era of mega-corps, and winning the Wilde Hunt would go some way to restoring their fortunes.

The narrative progresses nicely along with two points of view - Evelyn's and how she is coping with being in love with a reflection; and Sam's, as she goes through the various tests and quests and challenges, and how she feels about Zain Aster, who is both adversary and love interest.

It's a daft premise, really, but somehow Alward pulls it off. She writes with great gusto and clear enjoyment and so the book is a pleasure to read. Both her central characters are relatable in their own ways, but I found more common cause in the commonsensical, dogged, determined Sam. Evelyn provides the comic relief in her potioned-up nuttiness.

The blurb describes The Potion Diaries as The Hunger Games meets The Princess Bride. I have to be honest. I think readers expecting such a story may be disappointed. Aside from challenges - and every fantasy story has its quests - there really isn't much in common with The Hunger Games. This isn't a gritty story. It's a kindly story about nice characters with clearly delineated baddies and a very cheerful, upbeat tone. And readers who like that kind of story will absolutely love it. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

If The Potion Diaries sounds like a book for you, you might also enjoy Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones or Tanglewreck by Jeanette Winterson.

Buy The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward at Amazon You could get a free audio download of The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward at Amazon.com.


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