Title: Welcome to Potion Con
Author/Publisher: RK Ashwick
Price: free with newsletter sign-up
Welcome to the Scar, a city built in a winding, soaring ravine. Once a year, alchemists, healers, potion-makers, merchants, scholars, and many others gather for Potion Con — and there is nothing Ambrose would like more than to attend Potion Con and meet his hero, Cyril Hartsfeld. Unfortunately, Ambrose is an apprentice of Master Pearce, who has no use for such a ridiculous waste of time. Fortunately, Ambrose has friends who convince Master Pearce that Potion Con would be a good learning opportunity for Ambrose. Double unfortunately, Potion Con is filled with people, and Ambrose is mostly terrible with people. But how can he pass up the opportunity to hear his idol speak? And maybe, just maybe, it won’t be as hard to make new friends as he thinks ….
What an utterly adorable story.
I came across an ad for Welcome to Potion Con, the free incentive to sign up for author RK Ashwick’s newsletter, and figured why not? I’m so glad that I did. Ashwick has created a warm and delightful world where magic is an everyday wonder and different species all mix together in relative peace. Humans, elves, orcs, gnomes, and many others fill the streets of The Scar and the narrow aisles of Potion Con. Blue-haired elves rub elbows with pink haired humans and towering orcs and diminutive gnomes, and there is no stigma around one’s sexuality or gender. People are people and treat one another decently.
Well, mostly. Poor Ambrose is in for a surprise on that front, but he has the courage to face down his fears and rise to the occasion. Good for him.
Welcome to Potion Con is the prequel to Ashwick’s A Rival Most Vial, a queer romantic cozy fantasy. Personally, I can’t wait to read it.
Recommended to fans of Dwarves and Daisies by Scott Walker, the Lady Jewel Diviner series by Rosalie Oaks, Scales and Sensibility by Stephanie Burgis, and The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths and Magic by FT Lukens.
[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]