Thursday, January 30, 2020

Madly by Amy Alward

Madly by Amy Alward
Release Date - September 29, 2015
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  384 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**borrowed from the library**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
Magic. A daring hunt. Romance. Madly has plenty of things that will draw in a reader and keep their attention. It's a mix of fast paced adventure with a fluffier tone. It's a quick read that manages to be both an action packed adventure and a zany comedy at points. It is a story where everything that can go wrong will absolutely go wrong, but it feels like everything will be okay in the end all at the same time.

Samantha, a young alchemist, is thrown into adventure when a hunt for a cure to a love potion is called. She's brave, driven, and proud of her talents. Her loyalty to her family is admirable, as is her resourcefulness. Her desire to win comes from wanting to help the Princess, but the prestige that it would bring her family is a very welcome bonus. I liked that her motivation was a bit of both. It rang true and still ensured that the reader liked Samantha. She was ambitious, and kind which is something that girls are not often shown to be at the same time.

The treasure hunt style of the plot makes for quickly turning pages. Following Samantha on her journey collecting potion ingredients means plenty of different locations, and magical creatures to discover. It kept my interest in the story going as I could not wait to see what came next and what Samantha would need to collect to save the day.

There is a bit of a forbidden romance going on that is just as sweet as the rest of the book. Most of it is fairly predictable, but it just adds to the sweetness of the rest of the book.  It felt paced properly, and offered a few surprises that kept that element of the story moving just as quickly as the rest of the story. Love, and love potions, are a big part of the book. As is humour. The humour of this book is something that really worked for me. The comedy of errors that plagues Samantha's journey is part of this books charm. It's not just this that provides some comedic moments. The Princess' condition, at first, is quite laughable. She's obsessively in love with herself to the point of absurdity. While the reality of her situation does grow increasingly more dire, it is the earlier moments that set the tone of the book.

This book would be one that I would give a younger reader who is wanting something in between a middle grade and an upper young adult novel. It really is a bridge between the two and I predict that kids that age would devour this book. It's tailor made to appeal to them, and offers a chance for them to expand their reading horizons. It is certainly one that I want to introduce my niece to.

This book is part of a series, but it feels very self contained. Those weary of cliffhangers and dangling plot points should rest assured that this book stays away from those. It feels more like the series will just follow the same characters on a different adventure with some overlapping plot points threading it together. The main story arc of this story has a definitive ending, which I personally enjoyed.

This book was a lot of fun to read. Its enjoyable, entertaining quest will keep readers engaged and offers a lighter introduction to the fantasy genre for those readers who may just want to test the waters. I can certainly appreciate this book for what it is, and encourage anyone who is looking for exactly the kind of read this book offers to pick it up.

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