Saturday, October 8, 2011

Review: Elixir by Hilary Duff

Release Date: November 2010
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Genre: Teenage, Fantasy
Received from Publisher
RRP: $16.99

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.

I originally requested this book because I received the sequel unexpectedly in the mail. I new that there were going to be bad things written about it simply because it was written by a celebrity. I knew many people would try and ground this book down to nothing based on who had written it without giving it a go. And by that I mean reading the book with an open mind. Overall I think I was surprised and entranced by this beautiful yet typical fantasy/romance.

The main character in this book has some parallels with Duff's life. Clea is somewhat famous and is constantly being watched by the paparazzi and has to use a pseudonym for her artistic career choice because people won't accept her photos under her real name (yep she's a photographer). However, because it's a fantasy this book appears to be nothing like Duff's actual life (unlike Lauren Conrad's L.A. Candy) and is written quite well (also unlike Lauren Conrad. I think the author probably tried to include aspects from her own life because she was more familiar with how someone in that situation might behave or live.

Another thing that i know people won't like about this book is that it is a typical romance. I am not one of those people. I think that a typical romance is nice and familiar and comfortable. The book did not feel scary or weird or really sexed up. So the fact that the book was interesting and wasn't one of those three things made me feel more welcome to read it. I think that the only reason I would have a problem with a YA fantasy/romance would be if the writer didn't give their own spin on an idea. If you don't like romances though this book is not for you. I really don't understand that though. If the quality of the writing is good and the characters are believable why does it matter how they fall in love. Some people are just love-haters.

The love triangle in this book started a little early into both relationships. This was good because it didn't position the main author as a promiscuous person and it seemed more likely to happen. The relationships were very complex despite the typical story-line. Clea actually got to know the mystery man Sage in her dreams, so it wasn't really love at first sight. Also it took her a while to warm up to him which was more believable. On the other hand she has a male friend that she's known forever that she discovers has feelings for her. So it's not a thoughtless, careless,  overly trusting kind of love-at-first-sight relationship, but it's not entirely real either. Also the book wasn't some crappy tween-age story where nothing happens; The characters aren't entirely innocent and haven't been saving themselves for five hundred years. This seemed so true especially in this day and age.

I really enjoyed the way the book was written. I was a little surprised at how smart it was, but what I really enjoyed was the atmosphere Duff created. This book was like a breath of fresh air and reminded me a little of a rainy summer day or an afternoon walk down the beach. It reminded me a little bit of different characters that Duff had played or songs that she has sung. It seemed to fit in with her personality in that way.

The things I enjoyed most about this book were the individualistic touches that the author added to the story-line. Things like the method of becoming immortal being through an elixir which I have never read before, A face showing up in pictures, A recurring love-triangle and Irises (a flower which popped up in different lifetimes). It was these things that told the book apart from its contemporaries.

Overall I think the book was great. There were a few things that seemed a little bit unoriginal, but my dislikes were balanced out by Duff's creativity and writing style. I think this book is worth 4/5 stars. I don't recommend this book to anyone who dislikes celebrity authors or romantic story-lines that involve themes of immortality or reincarnation. This book was a cosy read and a nice surprise. I recommend it to people who enjoyed books like 'Hunting Lila' or 'My name is memory'.

'Elixir' is the first book in this series.
The second book is 'Devotion'.

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Chey said...

Great review! I agree that some people won't give it a chance because it was written by a celebrity. To be honest, the first time I saw it, I thought it was an autobiography or something. haha. I didn't even look at the summary, but I enjoy Duff. I used to be a fan of Lizzie McGuire, anyhow. I'll have to get it one of these days and see how I like it. I've seen a lot of good things about it.

Amanda said...

I read this book right after it came out and I've been looking forward to the sequel ever since! How did you receive a copy of Devoted? I'm jealous ;)

Natalievintagegirl said...

from a very kind pubisher! Yeah I'm keen too. I think Duff may havve had some help writing it, but all authors have editors and what not.