MADLY Blog Tour – Book Review and Guest Post
Welcome to our stop during the blog tour for Madly by Amy Alward! This blog tour was put together by Simon and Schuster Canada and runs from September 29 – October 6.
As part of this tour, we were able to review a copy of the book and Amy provided us with a written piece – “How Books Cast Their Spell On Me”.
veronica | Once in a while you just have to read a book about magic. It’s fun, light and entertaining. Madly by Amy Alward was exactly what I needed post Harry Potter. (Yes, I know it’s been many a year since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.)
Samantha Kemi comes from a long line of skilled alchemists. While she might be an Ordinary (no magical power), her expert ability to mix potions is enviable. Her sister Molly shows great Talent (magical powers) but in order to send her to the best school to further develop her Talent, the Kemi’s must sacrifice all. Once the go to alchemists to the Royals, they’ve been pushed aside for the synths, the new age alchemists who use synthesized ingredients rather than organic ingredients harvested by Finders.
A Hunt is called because Princess Evelyn has been poised with a Love Potion, of her own making and falls madly in love with herself. As Sam embarks on a wild adventure to locate and acquire the necessary ingredients to find a cure, she crosses paths constantly with Zain Aster, the son of the largest synth company. As they are thrown together by circumstance, Sam and Zain fall in love, because of course.
Alward has created an interesting yet detailed world that makes you wonder which countries she based her countries on. Characters are more than one dimension but not overly complex. Sam is strong, intelligent yet will follow her heart, even if it means sacrificing what she wants for the betterment of her family and kingdom.
Madly is a wonderfully crafted tale full of magic, adventure and a bit of suspense. While written for a much younger audience than the typical YA reads, Madly will leave you wanting more because what’s better than a made up world that has all of our modern conveniences? And magic. There’s nothing better than magic.
September 29, 2015
How Books Cast Their Spell On Me
by Amy Alward, author of Madly
Hands up if you have ever waited by the letterbox for your invitation to Hogwarts? I know I have. I have always believed in magic. Growing up, I dreamed of waving my wand to cast spells and of finding an old cast-iron pot in which to mix potions.
Even when I (eventually) came to terms with the fact that that I did not have magical powers of my own, books allowed me to escape the real world and indulge my imagination. For a few hours, I could believe their magic was mine. My local bookstore and library became gateways to a million different magical worlds – and reading became more than my favourite pastime – it became a way of life.
My love of reading the fantastic led me to become an editor at a large science fiction and fantasy publisher, working with some of the very best authors in the field. I immersed myself in worlds wonderful, diverse and strange – from Robin Hobb’s Riverwilds, to Westeros in A Game of Thrones, to the spaceship of James Smythe’s The Explorer. These authors challenged and stretched my imagination, and I loved having a hand in bringing their books to market.
Yet the most magical books for me have always been children’s books. I wanted to write a book to sit alongside the books that inspired me most – like Howl’s Moving Castle, The Chronicles of Narnia and His Dark Materials. Inspiration struck when I learned about a positively ancient word for love potions, philtre, from a thoroughly modern source – Twitter. This intersection between old and new led me to daydream of a world where magic existed alongside our modern technology (so that Muggles like me didn’t have to miss out). A world populated by magical creatures – mermaids, abominable snowmen, unicorns – alongside planes, smartphones and social media.
Out of this daydream came Madly. It’s the book that brings my childhood fantasies to life, set in a world where magic and technology intertwine. It’s about a princess (more Kate Middleton than Cinderella) who gets poisoned by a faulty love potion. It’s about an apprentice alchemist who dreams of researching and mixing new cures for a big corporate potions company, but instead is tied down by loyalty to her family’s apothecary. It’s about a seemingly powerless girl struggling to forge her own path in a world that favours those with the ability to use magic.
And so if Madly helps you escape, for a while, into a world where magic is real, I’ve done my job. This one is for the believers.