Thursday, 2 July 2015

Review: The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward

The Potion DiariesThe Potion Diaries 

Author: Amy Alward
Series: The Potions Trilogy
Pages: 320
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia
Release date: 2nd July 2015

Synopsis (Goodreads)

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: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I hadn’t heard of The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward but I was quite curious about it when I received a copy from Simon & Schuster Australia, described as The Hunger Games meets The Princess Diaries, I was intrigued but I didn’t feel any similarities at all unfortunately.

Told in dual POV’s from Princess Evelyn and an Alchemist apprentice, Samantha Kemi it’s a story about a poisoned princess and the race to find a cure to save her between the alchemist societies.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Princess Evelyn unfortunately; she has poisoned herself by swallowing her own love potion which inadvertently made her fall in love with herself. She came across as self-absorbed and boring, I much preferred Samantha’s POV, she was more entertaining and felt more believable and I liked her reasoning for being involved in the hunt; there was also a small amount of romance between Sam and her competitor Zain Aster.

The Potion Diaries was an odd book for me at times, I never quite understood what was going on and some parts were quite repetitive. The modern day setting with magic still being prevalent felt strange and unusual. What I did enjoy about this book was the element of surprise, I never could quite grasp what was going to happen which I appreciated. I also really liked Sam as a character, she felt genuine and her involvement in the hunt for the ingredients for the antidote was entertaining, she was a resourceful character and talented as an alchemist.

The Potion Diaries is a light-hearted read and despite the few problems I had I still liked the adventure, the unique story-line, the battle with the evil Kings sister and the humour. It was written well and despite the strange setting and not being able to take it seriously it was enjoyable.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for the opportunity to read and review The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward.

Amy AlwardAbout the author: Amy Alward (nee McCulloch) was born in Kingston-upon-Thames, UK, and moved to Ottawa, Canada, when she was 11. She attended Immaculata High School, where she developed a love of geeky things like science fairs, yearbook, RPGs and The Lord of the Rings. After high school she started studying at the University of Toronto, where she graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in English, specializing in Old English and Medieval literature (her love for Geoffrey Chaucer will never die).

After a year out backpacking around Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia (you can read her travel blog here), she moved back to London, UK, to find a job in publishing. After three years at HarperVoyager, where she worked on some of the top SF&F brands in publishing, she moved to Penguin Random House Children’s Books to be editorial director.

At the beginning of 2011, she signed with the amazing Juliet Mushens of The Agency Group for her debut YA fantasy-adventure duology: The Oathbreaker’s Shadow and The Shadow’s Curse.

In 2014, she signed with Simon & Schuster for Mi> Madly (US/Canada)/The Potion Diaries (UK&Comm), which is due out in Summer 2015.

She continues to be addicted to adventure, coffee and really great books.


  1. Aww! :( I'm sad that you didn't like this one more because I was really looking forward to reading it. I don't like the sound of the Princess at all.
    And repetitive parts drive me crazy.
    I'll lower my expectations when I'm going to read this one.
    Lovely review, Sharon. I hope your next read is better!

  2. It sucks to be confused while reading. Yeah, don't think I will grab this one.

  3. Yea, I can't see how you could take this one seriously. It doesn't sound like it quite makes it as a humor book even if there were humorous bits to it. Hope you next one is amazing.


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