Elixir – Hilary Duff

elixirOn The Cover: Clea Raymond has felt the glare of the spotlight her entire life. The daughter of a renowned surgeon and a prominent Washington DC politician, she has grown to be a talented photojournalist who takes refuge in a career that allows her to travel to the most exotic parts of the world. But after Clea’s father disappears while on a humanitarian mission, Clea’s photos begin to feature eerie, shadowy images of a strange and beautiful man—a man she has never seen before.

When fate brings Clea and this man together, she is stunned by the immediate and powerful connection she feels with him. As they grow closer, they are drawn deep into the mystery behind her father’s disappearance, and they discover the centuries old truth behind their intense bond. Torn by a dangerous love triangle and haunted by a powerful secret that holds their fates, together they race against time to unravel their pasts in order to save their lives—and their futures.

Published: 2010

Why I Chose It: When I found out that Hilary Duff wrote a book I totally wanted to check it out!

The Review:

I was pretty excited when I started this book. I like Hilary Duff’s music and I was totally curious about her book. Clea is a fairly likeable character. Even though her parents are in the public’s eye, she comes across as pretty humble and down to earth, which I really appreciated. I liked that she was a photographer and that she kind of hid behind her camera to view the world. She just felt like a real person and I initially liked her.

The further I got into the book the story was less about Clea’s photography and more about the mystery around her father’s disappearance. There was actually a lot of interesting content. As a humanitarian, Clea’s father does a ton of research into cultures and their histories, so as Clea starts to look harder for him she also starts to delve into this research. I was intrigued by all the books that her father had, and the references to mythology and ancient cultures that Clea kept reading within his work.

But as for the actual storyline, the book just kind of dives into the action and never lets up – in a bad way. While I like a book that has a lot of action in it, I also appreciate a bit of downtime between bursts of action, which this book did not contain. For example, there are a few points late at night when Clea should have gone to sleep, giving the story a natural break. Instead she decides to stay up at look at her pictures (then gets horribly creeped out by the random man appearing in all of them). She ends up staying awake for days at a time, and yet appears to act normally. I’m sorry, what normal person wouldn’t be a zombie by that point? When Clea does end up sleeping, she starts having intense dreams about the random man. There were no natural breaks or rests in the story. It was like the story was trying to stay intense the whole time, but  it just ended up feeling very forced.

I also felt like the book didn’t contain a lot of fresh material in it. While I totally appreciated the use of mythology and cultures in the story, not much else was unique enough for me. There was one idea that I was truly intrigued with: the idea of soul mates being reincarnated every few hundred years and reuniting. Pretty cool. But surrounding that idea was some pretty repetitive ideas. It really felt like every other YA I’ve read recently.  For example:

Loved one missing or hurt? Check.

Ancient religion/cult chasing after girl for unknown reasons? Check.

Hot mystery man? Check.

Love triangle where girl must choose between best friend and mystery man? Check.

Honestly, the whole book was basically a checklist of all the ingredients I had seen before. On top of all that, the ending was ridiculously blunt. The story just ends. In the middle of an intense, omg what’s gonna happen to mystery man, girl is really pissed of at everyone moment, it just completely cuts off. When I reached the end I couldn’t believe that’s how the book finished and I was pretty upset. Now, I have learned since I finished this that there are actually two more books in the story. While I’m glad the the story will have a better completion than that, I’m still disappinted that this first book ended so abruptly, with no indication that there’s actually more.

I guess that the farther I got into this book, the more disappointed I was. There were some really interesting concepts – things like the reincarnated soul mates, and some of Clea’s father’s research. But besides these concepts, I thought the story was pretty poorly executed. While I’m going to read the other two books to see where the story goes, I have to say I was really hoping for so much more.

Rating: 2 / 5

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