The Potion Diaries – book review

The Potion Diaries

The Potion Diaries is an alluring and magical book, written by Amy Alward.

When Princess Evelyn accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. What could just seem as extreme and unusual narcissism has disastrous consequences. The longer the Princess goes untreated, the more destructive her powers become. So a nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, risking death at every corner.

Samantha Kemi, an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent, is the daughter of once-respected alchemists who have fallen into hard times. Winning the hunt would save their reputation, but does Sam even have a chance against the dazzling powers of the ZoroAster megapharma company? And how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and enemy, in the meantime? With the whole world watching, Sam must save both her family’s reputation and the Princess’s life… before it’s too late.

*

For the most part, I really enjoyed reading this book. It was fun and exciting and just light, easy read. The thing that was most enticing about this book was how it is described as ‘The Hunger Games meets The Princess Diaries’. Seeing as I love both of those, I though that was a promising beginning. Although when I started reading this book, I found it hard to see the similarities between The Potion Diaries and the other two titles mentioned. I guess everyone is dubbing new books as ‘the latest Hunger Games’, and while I loved The Hunger Games a lot, I was pleased to read something new entirely. This book is different to anything I’ve read, probably because I don’t really read a lot of books about magic and making potions and all that jazz. But I can definitely say it was a really enjoyable book to read and I’m very happy I picked it up.

The thing I liked most about this book was the adventure. I loved being taken to all different parts of the world on Samantha’s travels and that enabled me to learn more about the world she lived in and the types of people and things that could be expected. The adventures she went on were by far the most exciting parts of the book, however this is where my biggest criticism lies. I think it may be possible that Samantha went to too many different places. Sometimes I wondered why we were going to this new place and whether it was really necessary. Some of the things Samantha did felt unimportant and as though those scenes were just there to fill space. At times, reading these scenes did feel as bit tedious because there seemed like there was no real purpose to them. However, I enjoyed the majority of this book and I’m pleased with the way things worked out, so I’m still smiling.

For the most part, I really loved spending time with all of the characters and getting to know them. Samantha was by far the one I felt most connected to. She was so invested in the hunt to find the ingredients to make this potion and that made me want her to succeed. She was such a devoted and fun character to get to know and I’m looking forward to spending more time with her in the books to come. Princess Evelyn, on the other hand… Don’t even get me started on that spoilt, ignorant brat. I understand that she had to behave and think that way because of how she was poisoned or maybe just because she was a princess, but I really hated her. This book is told in dual point of view, Samantha’s and Evelyn’s, and I really resented reading from Evelyn’s point of view. Her chapters were often repetitive and she was just really annoying. I know that it was important to get to read from Evelyn’s point of view to understand just how much this potion had affected her, but I think this book would have benefited from making the Princess just a bit more likeable. Honestly, I couldn’t care less what happened to the Princess, as long as she didn’t intrude on Samantha and her love interest.

And that brings me nicely to the romance aspect of this book. Of course, wherever there is a love potion involved, you’re bound to find romance. I loved not really knowing the truth behind Samantha’s love interest (who shall remain unnamed as to not spoil) and what his real intentions were because it kept me guessing and made me want to keep reading. However, at times, there romance felt a little young. For example, who in their right mind would forgive someone as easily as Sam did on multiple occasions? I liked this guy, but I didn’t fall in love with him and I didn’t swoon over him. There was nothing really about him that made him stand out or seem unique, he was just there, being the same as every other love interest in the history of YA. Sometimes I just want to see someone as extraordinary as Jace. Or Will. Basically a Herondale. That’s all I want in this world: a Herondale. I really need to reread those series… But in all seriousness, some of the characters in this novel lacked depth, and I hope they have more substance in the next book.

Overall, I quite enjoyed reading this book and I’ll definitely be picking up the next one as soon as it’s available! I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens next with Samantha and I loved living in her world. I’d give The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward a score of 8 out of 10. If you like books that contain one spoonful of magic, two of intrigue, a pinch of royal drama and a generous splash of romance, give this book a try!

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!

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