Queenbe Monyei
Nalia and the Potion Maker

Brought to you by OBS staff member Annabell Cadiz

Synopsis: In the once beautiful Aetheria, a spreading evil stems in the great Land of The North. It is a world that has been ravaged by vengeance and fury.

But Nalia knows nothing of this world. She doesn’t even know that she bears one of its most coveted and sacred gifts, a gift that has killed many and forced others into hiding.

When an unusual visitor escapes from the other world to find her, he claims that her gift is vital in order to save his world. Her task won’t be easy: find the great potion maker whose memory has been stolen, if he’s even still alive.

There, Nalia meets the strong yet gentle Lyris who can heal anything with his touch. Soon she discovers that his powers run deep as he slowly begins to mend the pieces of her heart, shattered by her own tragic family and a haunting secret; a secret stemming before she was even born.

A heart wrenching tale of death, betrayal, and the dark side of unrequited love.

Review: Nalia has always been a shy and introverted girl. After she losses her father, Nalia disappears even further into herself. Her mother is distinct and somewhat cold since Nalia has so many features of the very man her mother had loved and lost. Weird small actions begin to take place around Nalia whenever her emotions are heightened: a mirror breaking, a tree sprouting where there had never been one, a mysterious stranger seems to be following her around. After a terrible day at school, Nalia returns home only to find a mysterious stranger under her bed! He introduces himself as Mr. Gubs and has come to reveal to her destiny. The magical world of Aetheria is in trouble and Mr. Gubs is in need of Nalia’s very special gifts to save it.

Nalia and the Potion Maker was full of delightful characters and a fun filled magic reminiscent of The Chronicles of Narnia to a small degree. The various potions were one of the best parts. Poto is a genius potion maker and I wish I had him as a friend. Lyris was such a loveable character. He is noble and caring, plus, he has the ability to heal. Mr. Gubs was a cute little character. He reminded me of a miniature grandpa. Nalia, the main character, started off shy and closed due to the pain she felt from losing her father. She grows a little and matures in strength throughout the novel but I wouldn’t place the label of heroine on her. She barely knows how to use her gifts. Lyris or Poto are always saving her. She is better at getting herself into trouble than out of it.

I did enjoy certain aspects of the story behind Nalia and the Potion Maker. Full of whimsical magic and a plot of full heart, I found myself rooting for Nalia and her crew to overcome the evil of Agithara. Poto’s guilt toward what happened to Agithara and his loss was moving. I also really loved the idea behind Nalia’s gift. She was able to create anything from her imagination.

But there were aspects of the novel I feel need work. The narrative was very flat. Everything that takes place within the story is constantly being told to the reader rather than shown. It is hard to grow a good connection with the characters or what is happening within the plot because my imagination never really had the chance to picture the story. I had also felt I was reading a book from the perspective of a ten year old than a fourteen year old. The dialogue was a bit rough, feeling forced in certain areas and bland in others.

Nalia believes in her abilities and in what Mr. Gubs tells her about Aetheria too quickly. She questioned him for about a second before just jumping in and doing whatever he told her. She is rather boring throughout the beginning of the novel. The connection between Lyris and Nalia happens too suddenly. He declares his willingness to protect her no matter what from the instant he meets her. I am not a fan of insta-love because it is too unrealistic. Lyris and Nalia know NOTHING about one another but they are already declaring themselves to each other. I just didn’t buy it, especially since Nalia acted more like a ten year old than a fourteen year old. Nalia seemed too immature to fully understand her powers or what was going on around her.

The constant repetition throughout the novel was a bit unbearable. The character would say something then the very same thing would be repeated in the narration. At times, I had to skim pages because it was just too frustrating.

I would recommend to the author to attain a really good content editing. Nalia and the Potion Maker has the potential to be a wonderful and heartfelt novel but the characters need better development, the plot needs more length to grow, and the narration needs to be shown rather than told.

Nalia and the Potion Maker is a light hearted read and has beautiful ideas, but the execution can use some work.

I would still recommend reading the book. There is a heart and a soul to the story that many books are missing nowadays.

Thank you to author Queenbe Monyei for granting me the privilege of reading her novel. To learn more about the author and her novels, check out her blog here.