Sunday, December 11, 2011

Elixir, by Hilary Duff

Elixir wasn't bad, but I'm pretty sure it was only published because of the author's ready-made fan base.  That's rather a kick in the gut to all those non-famous but much better writers out there collecting rejection after rejection. 

The banter wasn't as clever as intended.  Repetition and over-drama weakened the prose.  The rather superhuman characters felt flat.  And why on Earth would a senator's daughter be so easily recognizable in places like Japan and Brazil?  SPOILER ALERT:  The ending felt very "Empire Strikes Back":  the romantic lead kidnapped, the other two members of the love triangle wounded and waiting on the space station (airplane) for the next installment.  Unanswered questions about the father.  The big difference, however? I was dying to see "The Return of the Jedi."  Hilary Duff's next book?  Not so much.     

I really liked the creepy bit about this mysterious guy showing up in the background of all her best photos.  My favorite part of the book was when she discovered this, and tested it by snapping photos around her bedroom.  It gave me chills when she found his image in her closet, staring out at her.  However, it never really explained how this happened.  Nor did it explain (SPOILER ALERT) why Clea and Ben are reincarnated over and over again.  We don't need full explanations of these type of plot elements, but when so much hinges on them, and we have no explanation at all, it feels a little too convenient.  

I'm not the biggest fan of supernatural. I like fantasy better.  Many elements that would be right at home in fantasy just strike me as corny in supernatural.  I suppose that's because fantasy is NOT our world, but supernatural's pretending to be.  Terms like the "Elixir of Life" and a secret society called "Cursed Vengeance" almost made me laugh.  But that may not be Duff's writing.  It may be the genre in general, and my own personal bias.    

Like many other reviewers, I don't really like the message, so common today in YA paranormal, that if you meet a dark, mysterious, handsome, and rather dangerous stranger, who may or may not be trying to kill you, and you decide for some reason that he's your soul mate, you should immediately sleep with him.

The plot was interesting enough, with some really nice details here and there.  It kept my attention.  Like I said, it was an OK book. 

But Hilary Duff, you've already had more than your 15 minutes of fame.  I think it's great that you're trying your hand at writing.  The rest of us, however, have to practice and polish and write and rewrite—for years, sometimes—and then pray that anyone will even look at more than five words of our query.  And we do this all without a co-author.  So if you're really passionate about it, keep writing, but never take for granted the advantage of your name in this highly competitive market. 

My rating:  3

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