Yet another novel I finished at 5am. 😛
This is the second book in the Elixir series that is co-written by the celebrity Hilary Duff and another writer called Elise Allen. To be completely honest I wasn’t very keen on the first book, but I decided to read Devoted anyway as I was curious to see where the storyline would go.
It was an interesting experience, especially since I could barely remember what happened in the first book! But luckily about a third of the novel was recapping so some of the details did start to come back to me.
Please note: For those of you that haven’t read the first book Elixir this review may contain spoilers about previous plots and characters in the series. However, for those of you who have read the previous book, this review will not contain any major spoilers about the book Devoted. 🙂
Clea Raymond found her soulmate in the mysterious and handsome Sage, discovering that they had loved each other through many past lives, all of which ended tragically. Clea wants nothing more than to prevent history from repeating itself and to be with her true love. But there are dark forces in the world: people who want to destroy Sage and the elixir that makes him immortal.
Sage has been taken, yet Clea is certain he is still alive and will stop at nothing to find him. Together with her friend Ben, she enters into an uneasy alliance with Cursed Vengeance, an ancient faction that can help lead them to Sage. But Clea must get to Sage before Cursed Vengeance does, or risk his death at their hands. And with Ben’s role in Sage’s kidnapping – and their past lives – Clea questions whether he can be counted on at all, and if she’s really saving Sage…or just leading them to repeat their disastrous pasts all over again.
Whoa, so that blurb pretty much tells you what the entire 350 pages are about from Clea’s perspective. What it doesn’t tell you however, is that parallel to this is another story with a new set of characters we are introduced to – a family that like Sage have also drunk the elixir of life. They roamed the world for many centuries happily without a care in the world, until one day their bodies could no longer keep up with the elixir. They are left with a cursed life, their souls remain while they can no longer touch, feel or eat. The family in order to get their bodies back plot against Sage and Clea’s relationship, but little seven year old Amelia has developed a conscience.
Confused? Yeah I was too. The whole plotline of this book is a little mental to be honest. I would have trouble describing what Devoted was about to a friend, which I guess is a sign of bad writing. The plot just feels all over the place, there is too much going on, and too many unexplained details and plotholes. We are spoon fed all this information and it is assumed that we won’t question it. But guess what, just because this is a young adult book doesn’t mean that we have the brains of four your olds!
There were a lot of cool ideas in Devoted about the mythology of the elixir of life which was refreshing because I wasn’t expecting it. However again, a lot of it didn’t fully make sense, and once I had all the information I found I was actually routing for the bad guys to win rather than the good guys! Now, call me crazy but I don’t think that was Hilary Duff’s intention. 😛 However, that being said it did still keep me reading and there was something vaguely compelling about the whole thing, even if it was to see what wacky ideas the author’s would come up with next.
The writing varies a lot, I don’t know if this is because it was written by two different people collaborating but it’s a bit all over the place. Some of it is really quite good with interesting phrasing and well chosen words, yet other parts had me screaming synonyms!! The writing style is also very flowery, which although I quite liked it because it’s nice to escape to a rosy world it gives everything a bit of a superficial feel. There were also some really ridiculous passages that annoyed me, for instance: “Sage saw the parts of me I didn’t share with anyone… the weak parts I scratched and clawed at every day… and he loved me anyway.” No, no, no, no, no, NO. CONTINUITY COME ON. At no point in the first book did she share anything remotely emotionally deep or intimate with him, that is a completely invalid statement you loon.
Devoted is definitely better than its predecessor in terms of writing though, even with all the above complaints. In Elixir it felt very detached from the story, both emotionless and impersonal but this book feels a little more lively, interesting and slightly better thought out (although lets face it, that’s still not saying much :P).
The main problem with this book however, is the characters and the fact that our lead Clea is an idiot. A self centered, hypocritical idiot. When she is upset or really happy about something her friends will automatically be super happy/empathic towards her giving her advice or a long speech about how things will get better. What does she do when the situation is reversed? Gives them about three words in reply. Thanks bm for life I think not. Equally throughout the entire novel Clea seems to need everybody else around her to point out the obvious, and even when they point it out, SHE STILL DOESN’T BELIEVE THEM. AHHGJGFF. Consequently she constantly gets into trouble for yepp, you guessed it, doing idiotic things. The relationship between Clea and Sage is also ridiculously unrealistic
but not in a swoon this is cute but unbelievable way, in a sickeningly annoying way. Luckily, there was minimal romance in the entire book due to the fact that Sage is held captured for most of it, and I think this is why I enjoyed this book more than the first!
Ben has the potential to be an interesting character as Clea’s best friend/almost lover (yes that’s right people, we have a love triangle! Because what’s a YA book these days without a love triangle? *sigh*) yet unfortunately any potential he has is squandered by Clea’s constant undeserving criticism and mistreatment of him which just makes him become annoying. Epic fail.
Amelia and her twisted family on the other hand were much more interesting, even though their hostility towards Amelia was totally unbelievable. It was nice to be introduced to some different and slightly less frustrating characters!
I have to admit though, even with all the complaints I have about this book overall, I still kind of enjoyed reading it. I wasn’t desperate to pick it up whenever I could but it kept me reading and yet again I’m curious to see what Duff will do with the third book.
I would recommend Devoted to those that have read the first book Elixir, and to readers that like flowery writing, action, teenage pining and paranormal romance. Also those that can overlook some seriously facepalm characters!
Writing Style: 3/5
Character Development: 2/5
Would I recommend this book? I wouldn’t go out of my way to but possibly to the right person.
Book Cover: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9729681-devoted