For some strange reason, one of the best times for me to completely immerse myself in books is after a night out. Although I still have the fountain of youth on my side in terms of hangovers, my tired brain is still trying to find a reason to cringe at me for the things I knock over or strange texts I’ve sent. I’m such a relatable teen. We all know how books provide the perfect escape, so while my body pulls itself together it’s a great time to join another person’s world for a while.
After finishing Storm of Swords, my thoughts lingered to a book my best friend had given me when I last saw her. This book was The Potion Diaries, by Amy Alward, which is one of the eight books chosen for the Zoella Book Club. As much as we can get skeptical about Youtubers taking over the world, you can’t deny that this book club is only doing a world of good. Getting young people to read is the opposite of a problem. What I like is the fact that there are books like The Potion Diaries which are mainly quite lighthearted and fluffy, alongside darker reads aimed at older readers like The Sky is Everywhere and of course one of my favourites, Fangirl.
As a result, I read The Potion Diaries in a mere few hours. It was an easy read, relatively immersing and I liked the concept of the story. I did like how it incorporated the new world of social media and technology with the traditional role of princesses and royalty, even if the whole division between normal people (called “ordinary” people here) and special, different people (called “talented” people) is a trope that’s quite overdone. You could see there were attempts to subvert these tropes, and we do learn that not everything can be done with magic.
Naturally, our protagonist, Sam, is an ordinary girl with an extraordinary gift, who tries to stay out of the limelight and is desperate to save people. As a result you could predict that it was going to be a happy fluffy romantic ending, especially as the crush is mentioned in the blurb, therefore it almost screamed out that they were going to be together in the end. Despite this, Alward does a pretty good job of keeping us on our toes, but although she presents all the reasons why he’s not a good person, Sam still seems to love him too easily. Maybe I’m too cold hearted, who knows. I was pleasantly surprised that there wasn’t a second love interest, and although there were plenty of opportunities there, I’m glad that was avoided. There were also hints to things like sex- but in all honesty, the blunt and almost random reference made me cringe a little. Then again, maybe it’s a symbol of how young people suddenly discover more adult things, but I didn’t think it was necessary.
Overall, it was a fun read, and definitely a lighthearted break from Game of Thrones. I think it will definitely appeal to younger readers and people who are trying to get back into reading, despite some of the overused tropes.
One last note: do books being written in the present tense bother you? I wasn’t sure whether to go into that or not because I’m worried it would seem like a really petty thing, but comment boxes are there for a reason, I guess. Let me know.