By Bridget Zinn
Published 2013 by Disney Hyperion
Kyra is the Master Potioner of her Kingdom - nothing to snark at as she's only 16. But she's also a fugitive - she tried to kill the princess, her former best friend. Kyra is the only one who knows why she tried to kill Ariana, but she knows it has to happen. Can Kyra find a way to save the kingdom?
Okay, I requested this one in e-galley because it has a great fantasy blurb, plus there is mention of an adorable pig. That's hard to resist - how often do you get an adorable pig in fantasy novels (and this one doesn't talk!)? From almost the moment I started reading this one, I had a smile plastered on my face. This is an incredibly charming, imaginative and fun fantasy tale that left me feeling lighthearted and happy. How do I count this novel's charms? Let's try.
First, Kyra - oh, what a great heroine! She is smart - incredibly smart - and supremely talented, funny and sarcastic, self-sufficient and loyal. She is a fantastic character. I loved hearing her story piece by piece as she reminisces over the past that has led her to being on the run for attempted murder. I loved all the little quirks that define Kyra as a unique character - her distaste for witches, her unusual friendship with Ariana, her overwhelming desire to be the most successful Potioner in the land. Kyra is an easy character to root for and I was completely smitten.
Second, the other characters - Fred! Oh, Fred! I love his charming aloofness, his sense of humor, and his relentless teasing of Kyra. Ariana - another backstory I love, she is no run-of-the-mill princess and it explains the relationship between Kyra and Ariana perfectly. Arlo - ew, what a slimy bad guy. Though I feel we didn't really get the whole story with Arlo, he was a suitably sleazy villain.
Third, the world - I love that Zinn's world supports both science (in the form of Potioners) and magic (with witches and assorted other magical creatures). I love Rosie (she's the adorable pig I mentioned) and Fred's dog, Langley - even the animals are bursting with personality in this book. I love that Kyra absolutely does not want to be responsible for Rosie in the beginning, but, of course, who wouldn't be won over by an enchanted pig?
In case you can't tell, I adored this book for its sweetness and charm. Though Kyra and other characters are all 16 or older, there is nothing objectionable in this book, making this a great read for fantasy-loving tweens and teens. I definitely recommend this one and was saddened to hear of Zinn's passing, knowing that it likely means not many, if any, more books from her. To read more about the author and how to help spread the word of this lovely novel, check here.
Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via NetGalley.