12 December 2011

Review: Elixir by Hilary Duff

Title: Elixir
Author: Hilary Duff

Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal, Romance)

Publisher: Simon Pulse           
Published: 2011 (first published 2010)

Paperback: 327 pages

Stand alone or Series: #1 in the Elixir series

Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

My thanks to Andrea, Claire and Anika at Jonathan Ball

A soulmate for life…or death.

Seventeen-year-old Clea Raymond has felt the glare of the spotlight her entire life. The daughter of a renowned surgeon and a prominent politician, she has become a talented photojournalist who takes refuge in a world that allows her to travel to many exotic places. But after Clea’s father disappears while on a humanitarian mission, Clea begins to notice eerie, shadowy images in her photos of a strange and beautiful young man – a man she has never seen before.

The premise behind Elixir is intriguing, but unfortunately this book doesn’t quite deliver on its potential.

Although I wasn’t blown away by the book, Elixir’s cover is gorgeous. I love the image of the handsome young man in the piece of film and the way that he is placed so that he and the young woman are almost able to kiss. There is a real sense of yearning and of the two of them reaching out to each other across time and space. It suits the story perfectly.

Some reviews I’ve seen have had an issue with Elixir based solely on the fact that it was written by Hilary Duff. I really don’t care – a book could have been written by the Queen of England and if the story is any good I’ll like it. However, I do feel that Elise Allen, the author who helped Hilary Duff with Elixir­, deserved more than just a mention in the acknowledgements.

The premise behind Elixir really interested me and I loved the idea of this mystery man suddenly turning up in Clea’s photographs. I think that a lot more could have been made of the mystery and her search for him. There are immortals, secret societies and secrets galore in this novel and yet somehow the story remains flat. You would think that with all of these ingredients that there would be plenty to keep you turning the page. Duff didn’t capitalise on the fertile ground that these elements should have provided and instead Elixir manages to be a mediocre read.

Clea is a likeable character and her grief for her father gives depth to her character. The only problem I had with her was that she often made silly decisions that were out of place compared to her usual behaviour. I found Sage, the mystery man, to be rather a flat character and I battled to really care about him. This meant that I couldn’t really get into the romance between Sage and Clea. It felt lacklustre.

Elixir is the start of a new series and I hope that the books that follow will make better use of the story’s potential.

Rating: 5

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