When Samantha is summoned to the royal court of Nova for a secret mission, it’s her chance to put her training to the test: Princess Evelyn has taken an illegal love potion with disastrous effects, and Samantha, like her ancestors before her, is great at mixing potions. She may not be one of the naturally Talented—those who can heal or transform at the wave of their hands—but she is skilled nonetheless, and determined to find an antidote and cure Princess Evelyn.
The problem? Princess Evelyn took the love potion to make her best friend Zain fall for her—and it’s Zain who Samantha keeps encountering on her hunt for antidote ingredients. As forbidden sparks between them fly, Samantha is forced to wonder: will curing Princess Evelyn doom her own chance at love?
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A TINY BEAD OF BLOOD bloomed where the knifepoint pressed against the tip of her finger. She held it over the rim of a glass vial and watched as the droplet fell, turning the liquid in the bottom from pink to a dark, inky blue.
She’d always expected a love potion to be red, not blue.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
All it took was reading Madly’s opening scene to become head-over-heels excited to read this novel. A story with magic, competition, and a love spell gone wrong? It sounded totally like my cup of tea. I can say that after having already finished this novel, Madly is the type of novel that many readers entering the realm of YA will absolutely adore. It’s a light-hearted, amusing read that kept me guessing until the very end. Set in a world where magic is a common part of modern life, protagonist Samantha Kemi is the descendent of a long line of alchemists. Her life is average, at best, living as the only non-Talent daughter within her household. Under the rule of a monarchy that watches over the entirety of Nova, Samantha is called to arms alongside a multitude of other alchemists when a love potion (a brand of potion that is outlawed) gone wrong afflicts the kingdom’s beloved princess. Presented with the opportunity of a lifetime, Sam embarks on a quest of her own to discover a cure and save Princess Evelyn before it’s too late. However, in order to do so, Sam is forced to work against Zain Aster. Her biggest competition and a boy who she’s always thought had no idea she existed. But there’s something about Zain that Sam is drawn to and she isn’t too sure if it’s the result of something real or something magical. What immediately caught my attention with Madly was Alward’s prose. We are first introduced to a scene that is told in the third person, and the past tense, through the eyes of Princess Evelyn. It was absolutely gorgeous. One of the most riveting introductory scenes that I’ve ever had the opportunity to read. Everything about it—the word-choice, the structure—it all just worked. That being said, I was hyped to read more of this wonderful prose only to discover that the majority of Madly is told in Sam’s point of view. The only catch? All of Sam’s chapters are told in the first person, present tense. Throughout reading Madly I wished so badly that the entire story had been told as it had first been presented, as it was difficult to switch later on from present tense to past tense, third person to first person, and so on and so forth. The world of Madly gave me some very real Lunar Chronicles vibes in the best way. I loved the setting for how unique it was, and I adored the way that Nova had been established and introduced to the reader. The idea of a world filled with ‘Talented’ peoples and alchemists was intriguing, and the time spent within it was great. My only hope was that there would be a bit more elaboration throughout the novel addressing the backstory behind Nova and the kingdom’s history. In a world where you have magic and science existing alongside one another, I imagined that there might have been some sort of overlap or turmoil that had presented itself in the past? I hope that, should we get to look into the world of Madly again in the future, we learn more about the setting’s history. As for the romance inside of Madly, it’s the kind of novel that has romance that I think younger teen girls will adore. You have your sex-god handsome teenage boy possibly falling for the plucky, average girl that could be anybody in their mind’s eye. The romance was light and cute and left me cheering on the Sam/Zain ship. They were definitely my one true pairing while reading. And the ‘romance’ between Princess Evelyn and the new apple of her eye was beyond hilarious. I would recommend Madly to any readers who are looking for
Such a fun premise, a love potion gone horribly wrong sets the search for the cure, and our story is off and running. We meet Samantha, descended from a line of alchemists who’ve had a string of bad luck that’s not done wonders for their reputation. She’s competent, intelligent and above all, she wants to make a difference. But the traditionally crafted potions that her family is known for have fallen out of favor: cheaper, mass-produced synthetic concoctions are all the rage, and this sets up a confrontation between waiting for tried and true, or the quick satisfaction of the now. Samantha, despite all of her knowledge is still just a teen: she gets into scrapes and makes some decisions that aren’t always the best, but she is able to brush off, learn from it, and move on. And the variety of options available are wonderful: from familiar like planes and cars to teleporting through mirrors, the inclusions of familiar and mixing with the inventive creations are wonderful. And Samantha does not exist in a void: secondary characters bring interest and depth to the story, from best friends and family who both believe and support her quest to find the cure, to her relationship with her Grandfather: a man with many secrets but never failing to help her where he could. Then there is Zane – there is an attraction there, but as he is working with a competitor, his flirtations are slightly suspect, even as there is something in their relationship that rings true. Plenty of action, some danger and the omnipresent status updates on social media bring the fantastical into a familiar light, and keep the story moving forward. Alward carefully built this world with familiar and not so familiar elements. Gradually pieces and elements are presented in context, and these surprising inclusions leave the reader with clear visual imagery, picturing each element. With a gradual romance in tentative stages and characters that are intriguing and fun to know, this is a great start to a new series. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.