The Final Formula - Becca Andre This review also posted at A Bookish Compulsion

I was sucked in to The Final Formula from the very beginning by the immersive world-building and quirky and lovable characters. Ms. Andre builds a believable world balanced between normal humans, Old and New magic as told from one balancing between the magical and mundane: an alchemist who is without magic of her own but can create magical slaves and potions. I loved the face that while I gained an understanding of the political make-up of this world, politics wasn’t shoved down my throat. Instead this world grew from minute details and character interaction making the places feel real and tangible and the tensions and alliances more easily understood.

The characters in this book were intelligent, charming, frustrating, caring, bull-headed, funny, sweet and sad. In other words they were everything good characters should be. I found them to be both accessible and realistic, containing both strengths and flaws some of which were indistinguishable from the other. The main protagonists had me rooting for them until the very end and even with some twists and turns I cared about their journey.

If I had one criticism of this book it would be the plot itself. There were times when it dipped into trope, and some twists I found trite, while others I plain didn’t like but in the end I still believed. So, despite all the neat ribbon wrap-up that was a tad too quick for my liking (and a bit far-flung and fetched) and the should-have-known-betters I enjoyed the journey The Final Formula took me on and, more, would happily ride again to see what happens next.

As one last note, I have to express my dissatisfaction with the cover of this book. It almost dissuaded me from buying as it has the dark and creepy thing going and I’m not into the blood-spattered walls of creepiedom. If I hadn’t read the sample first (which was likely picked up on a recommendation as I doubt I would have clicked this cover on my own), I definitely would not have picked up this book based solely on this cover. And yes, I know, “don’t judge a book by its cover” but really would that be an adage if it wasn’t applicable? With millions of books to choose from having a quality cover that accurately depicts the story is an important element and one that I feel this publication is weak on.