Author: Amy Alward
I have had good luck with cover buys in the past. But I regret this purchase.
In Madly, a princess accidentally poisons herself with a love potion. Then a bunch of alchemists participate in a contest to try to mix up a cure. This contest is called the Wilde Hunt because adding a random 'e' to the end of a word makes it totally Old Timey and Legit.
Cara is the latest apprentice in a long line of family alchemists. She participates in Ye Olde Wilde Hunte to try to turn her family's fortunes around. They have basically been put out of business by a corporation that makes potions with synthetic ingredients. But everyone knows that if you make something in a lab that is effective and cost-efficient, that is WAY LESS GOOD than the Old Timey way of doing things.
Cara wants to prove that her family is still awesome at mixing potions, so she joins the Hunte and repeatedly gives up. Wait, what? THAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.
Cara rejoins the hunt because someone tells her to. Actually, she spends literally the entire book getting bossed around by all of the other characters. I kept thinking that EVENTUALLY, she would step up and claim her birthright and kick some ass.
Then Cara faces a crazy person with a gun. She finally snaps! "Finally," I thought, "She's going to do something clever to save herself and her companions!" Nope. She saves herself by falling off of a cliff. I KID YOU NOT.
On top of this, Cara uses the word "hashtag" in conversation. So she is The Worst.
Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that some light racism would really make this book complete. Don't worry, Madly has that too! Cara meets some Indian people who live in a village in the jungle, and they give her curry and are generally lovely. THEN Cara notices that one of the kids has magic! This is terrible because the child is in the middle of nowhere, wasting her gift on her family's tradition of farming. Cara wonders if she could somehow get the girl back to Civilization where she could attend a "proper school." She is disappointed to learn that she is unable to "save" the girl. Despite the fact that the girl's village and home seem pretty great, Cara muses about how much better her own life is.
The writing is inconsistent as well. When the princess accidentally drinks her own potion, she has been "poisoned." When Cara deliberately gives her grandfather a truth serum, he has been "potioned." In addition, the royal family in the book are simply "figureheads," but also if the princess dies, the country will descend into economic and magical turmoil. SIGH.
You may want to buy this book for someone you hate (link is to Amazon).
Full disclosure: I bought it, and I have regrets.