Monday, September 5, 2011

Book review for Elixir by Hilary Duff

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010
Pages: 336
Rating: 4 stars
Clea Raymond, 17, lives a charmed life. She travels the world with her best friend, Rayna, partying in countries near and far. Her mother is kept busy by her work as a United States Senator, but she loves her daughter with all her heart. And Clea has a cute guy trailing her every move–her bodyguard/voice of reason, Ben. Everything would be just perfect, except for the fact that her beloved father, a world-renowned surgeon, has gone missing while on a humanitarian mission in Rio. She can't stop thinking about him and his disappearance, and one night she stumbles onto something that might help her find him. Looking through photos she took on vacation, Clea notices a strange man who lurks in the background of every picture. Then, she starts having dreams about him. She's always a different woman in a different time period with him–and she always dies a brutal death. With the help of Ben, Clea travels to Rio to try and figure out the mystery behind her father's disappearance and the identity of the stranger in her pictures and her dreams. This entertaining book has a good mix of romance and suspense with a little reincarnation thrown in for good measure. Clea is caught up between the love she feels for the mystery man and the feelings she starts to have for Ben. Yet she soon figures out that there's more to this love triangle than she realizes. The fast-paced story will keep readers turning the pages until the very end. [Amazon Product Description]
I had never heard about this book until I read a (positive) review for it. I was more than a little surprised to find that Hilary Duff had written a book.  Yes, I thought that ya know, valley-girl Hilary Duff was like, totally too brainless to even like, ya know, read a book, much less like, write one! But despite that fact, I gave it a shot. Before I go on…you know those select books that completely engulf you in the life and problems of the hero/heroine and you can barely stop reading to eat and use the bathroom? Well, for me, this was kind of one of those books. I say “kind of” because, as always, I have some dissatisfaction to go with my praises.
So, first off, this is my take on the characters. Clea’s talent with photography was the one thing that made her unique. And that was about it. She was a completely normal 17 year old… aside from being reincarnated four times all throughout history. I kept thinking of her as a younger version of Hilary Duff, and maybe that’s how Hilary created her to be. I don’t know. Anyways. Rabbit trail over. When she first introduced Ben, I was thinking, “Ok, so Ben will be Clea’s big, strong, hot bodyguard all throughout the book, and in the end, they’ll get together and live happily ever after.” Was that how it ended? Nope. Not at all. In fact, halfway through the book, I began to think of Ben as a weak, wimpy, jealous little twerp. This leads me to… SAGE! Oh my gosh, Sage was HOT. It was so romantic that Sage was destined to fall in love with Clea each time she was reincarnated. Rayna really cracked me up with her little obsession with “soul mates” and all.
But there were some things that didn’t really make a whole lot of sense. First, they portray Ben as a hunk, and then when the real danger sets in, he’s trembling in the corner. Also, he seemed like a pretty cool, chill guy in the first few chapters, and then he becomes a jerk when Sage comes into the picture. I know that he was in love with Clea and all, but to make him so jealous of Sage that he becomes a numbskull; it really upset me and ruined his character. Next, it baffled me that one moment Clea is certain that Sage is some serial killer and is out to get her, killing her time after time. But then the next moment, she’s deeply and passionately in love with him, having a little love fest in Rayna’s car on the side of the road. Will someone please tell her to make up her mind?!? Also, one other thing that bothered me was the unnecessary language. There wasn’t THAT much, but just enough to irritate me. Lastly, the sexuality between Sage and Clea wasn’t needed. It just complicated things and added immorality to a truly captivating novel.
That aside, I enjoyed Elixir thoroughly and was dying for more the minute I reached the back cover. Going off of the way Hilary ended the book, I’m guessing that she plans on releasing a sequel. I’m counting the days till it comes out and cannot wait to see how all this ends. All in all, Elixir was entertaining, suspenseful, and steamily romantic, with only a few unnecessary tidbits of language and disgraceful behavior. If you are hungry for a good romantic paranormal, I suggest you try Elixir.
Quick Content Review:
Profanity- Mild to Heavy (Several words and God’s name is abused many times)
Violence- Heavy (Clea is murdered several times in her past lives, usually violently. Clea, Sage, and a group of other people are brutally slaughtered while trying to protect the elixir. Much description, so beware, all you who are squeamish! J)
Sexual- A mix between mild and heavy. (Rayna’s hobby is flirting with boys, and while in France, she goes home from a club with a guy she just met. Clea and Sage have sex in the passenger seat of his car and in one of Clea’s past lives, in the bottom of a boat. Nothing is described, but there is heavy kissing.)
Other Negative Content- Underage drinking at a club and wild partying on the streets in Brazil during Carnival.


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