Madly by Amy Alward

Madly“I’ve seen real love. My parents have it, for one. There’s nothing one-sided about it. It’s about two people agreeing to face the world together, no matter the challenges. It’s about respect. It’s personal.”

Okay. Here’s the deal: I’ve seen plenty of bad-hype surrounding this book. People scoffing at the premise, the plot, the characters, you name it. but the reality for me was that this book was incredibly good fun. Sure, it’s a quick read (I read it over the course of an evening, having downloaded it for free from Riveted Lit), and it’s sure as heck not trying to tackle any hot button issues. But this is a book that knows what it is – a quick, fun, fantasy read – and does its job well.

It was so easy to slip comfortably into this adventure story, and to root for Sam as she goes on a mythical quest to cure Princess Evelyn before the kingdom falls apart. The chapters focused on Evelyn were hilarious – I mean, come on, she’s a princess who has literally fallen into instalove with herself – and I thought the Narcissus-twist was a good choice for a series like this one. It helped cement the mythical fantasy elements of this modern-times-meets-medieval-magic tale.

I thought the build-up throughout the story was well-done, with plenty of little twists and turns revealing this detail or that one just in time for you to always be on your toes about what’s going to happen next, and I liked Sam and her crew a lot. Zain is maybe a bit too sincere to be true, and Arjun and Anita don’t really get much page-time (and felt a bit forced into the story), but I could see how this is set up to become a series of lighthearted reads that I know I, for one, will be happy to get my hands on when they get released.

If you pick up Madly with the expectation that you’re going to be getting a complex high fantasy tale the likes of Tolkien, you’re going to be disappointed. This is pure YA and pure summer-reading fun. The thing is, it’s not meant to be anything else. If you’re looking for something relaxing, funny, and very interesting and well-written this is a good choice for you. The premise is original and the storyline has enough going for it to keep you going through the final pages. There’s even just enough of that token YA romance thrown into the mix to keep you swooning.

I had a great time reading Madly, and I think that with the right mindset, you would too. It was exactly the kind of book I was looking for while on vacation last week, and I’m already looking forward to reading the sequel, Royal Tour, this fall. 

Rating: 4/5 stars 

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