Title- The Potion Diaries.
Author- Amy Alward.
Publish date- July 2nd, 2015.
Publisher- Simon and Schuster.
RRP- $16.99 (AUD)
(A Brief) Synopsis:
When the Princess of Nova drinks the love potion she made, trouble is the only thing that can come for it. So the Potion Makers throughout the country are called to participate in an event to create a potion and save her.
Thank you to Simon and Schuster for this review ARC!
Image Source: Simon and Schuster AU.
What I thought:
I admit, in all fairness, that I was not convinced on the way The Potion Diaries was sold to me, as a reader: a mix between The Hunger Games and The Princess Diaries? Even without having read the latter series, the idea does not intice me into reading a book that is a supposed mix of the two. I can't even imagine how a book could possibly be a mix of two so very different ideas- lucky for me, I didn't feel those vibes. Here's what I got that was similar:
- there's a princess
- a bunch of people are called together to participate in a competition to heal said princess from love potion-induced madness
- someone is eliminating said teams offscreen (no deaths, mind)
- there's a kind-of "forbidden" romance (and insta love) between contestants on two opposing teams
- there is a diary, though it's more like a recipe journal
And that, as far as I could tell, was it.
This was an original, intriguing idea (though I'm not personally feeling the need for there to be a sequel) and I would have rather gone into it not anticipating an odd race between killer princesses. Though actually, I'd love to see Libba Bray tackle that.
But the way this story played out didn't turn out to be as enjoyable, captivating or interesting as it could have been. I felt like it was aimed at a slightly more juvenile audience than I personally can enthusiastically read- in the writing style, actions and reactions of the characters.
Samantha, the protagonist, doesn't feel to me like more than an incomplete shell. I don't feel like I got to know her, apart from the fact that she a. is a very talented potion maker, she b. had long liked this one guy, and c. she abandoned her friends (only to be let off her subsequent guilt far too easily) without real thought.
We also get to meet the Princess Evelyn, poisioned by the love potion she made for, ah, that one guy, and now falling deeply for the person she believes her reflection to be. I didn't enjoy these alternate POV chapters- they were a way of showing Evelyn getting progressively volatile in her illness, but I just got the picture of a princess who was young, reckless and irresponsible.
The world of The Potion Diaries is one of the most intriguing aspects of the novel; it's a place where technology is incredibly advanced, yet they have unicorns and abominals and magic, potion making. Something I had issue with a few times during the novel was that the media, who were tracking the Wilde Hunt, were so easily controlled. If there's an evil lady going around and taking out the participants they're videoing, surely they'd get it on camera at least once? Or even just get her on camera. They didn't even get wind of the Princess' illness until, presumably, it was released officially- they certainly hadn't gotten wind of it when the potion makers had been told and given the chance to participate, which means not a single one of them sold out?
Some other notable instances:
- hashtags exist in this world!
- as do references to being a withering vine.
- Though Sam and her Finder Kirsty decide to stay under the media radar, once they're presented with the opportunity of having a journalist tag along with them they agreed immediately...
- this book involves a moment that felt like it was a little too familiar to THG, involving Peeta and Katniss' sleeping arrangements.
- Oh, and the media? They turn on Sam for no actual reason and get a bit of girl hate going on. I don't even know.
- Did I mention insta love?
- Also: easy forgiveness.
And I'm done.
Lies. I'm not done at all.