Madly by Amy Alward is the first book in the Potion series. So far there are two books listed as part of the series on Goodreads but the author has stated that it will be a trilogy. Madly is quick paced, extremely fun and definitely falls on the lighter side of the fantasy genre. The story follows an alchemist named Sam who takes part in a kingdom-wide competition to find a cure for a love potion. As it turns out, the sole heir to the kingdom, Princess Evelyn, has accidentally consumed a love potion that was meant for someone else and she ends up falling, well, madly in love with herself. It was such a delight to read Madly and I’m really looking forward to it’s sequel, Royal Tour.
The story takes place in a world that is very similar to our own except that magic, alchemy and mythical creatures exist alongside technology. In the quest to find the cure for the princess, there are two main sides facing off. There’s Sam who comes from a long line of alchemists who still follow the old traditions and mix everything by hand. Then there’s Zain who comes from the family who won the last hunt and revolutionized potion making by propelling synth labs to forefront of the industry, resulting in their synthetic potions becoming the leading source of potions in the kingdom. There are several others competing but Sam and Zain, along with Emilia (an exiled member of the royal family) are the main focus of the story. I loved traveling along with them as they rationalized what would be needed next for their potions and I enjoyed all of the diverse settings they procured their ingredients from. Because they were always searching, and usually in the most dangerous of places, the plot advanced quickly and there was rarely ever a lull in the story. My favorite parts of the story involved mermaids and unicorns<3
As far as characters go, Sam’s was an interesting perspective to read from. When she’s first called to the palace and learns about the hunt, she’s met with resistance from her family regarding her participation, particularly from her grandfather. He used to be recognized as the best alchemist in the field but after the synths came out triumphant in the last hunt, he has completely misplaced his trust in the royals. Sam is a shy, family-oriented girl with a massive talent for potion making so going against her grandfather’s wishes is a hard decision for her to make. With the exception of Kristy who pairs with Sam during the hunt, the supporting characters were a bit underdeveloped but I’m sure they’ll have their time to shine in the next two books. I was a little underwhelmed by the romance but since I loved that overall plot and pace, it’s something I’m able to overlook. Again, I feel like there’s room for growth as the series continues.
Final Thoughts: Madly by Amy Alward is a cute and quick paced fantasy novel. It tells the story of Sam, a talented alchemist, as she competes against others in her kingdom to find a cure to a love potion their future queen accidentally drank. The princess falls madly in love with herself and as her behavior becomes increasingly destructive, the participants are met with a time crunch to find the cure. It’s the perfect book to pick up if you have a case of wanderlust and you’re craving a mindless beach read but still looking for a bit of magic (and possibly a unicorn and some mermaids).
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. (via Goodreads)