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Devoted (2011)

This sequel to Elixir continues a short time after the end of part I, in which Clea Raymond finally discovered the connection between the strange man, named Sage, and herself: they are soulmates. However, Sage has been kidnapped, and Clea has no idea where he is or whether he is still alive. She is trying to figure out how to save Sage but without her best friend Ben, whom she has difficulty trusting after everything that has happened. No longer able to sit still and do nothing, Clea eventually decides to make a deal with Sage's enemies, called Cursed Vengeance, in the hope of being able to see him again ... either in this life or the next. Hilary Duff has definitely grown as an author and this becomes apparent in her writing. Devoted is easy and quick to read, like Elixir, but it has a more intricate plotline with unexpected twists and turns to keep the reader curious. New characters have been added to the story, which causes the plot to thicken and become less predictable. I found myself wanting to know more, and especially the ending will leave many readers wondering about the third and last part of this series. Celebrities who decide to become authors usually stick with what they know, which ends in glamorous novels set in Hollywood. Duff seems to have really stepped away from this cliche and has written a paranormal young adult series, which many (especially teenagers) readers will enjoy and be captivated by. (JoH)

Elixir (2010)

Clea Raymond is the photojournalist daughter of a renowned surgeon and a prominent politician. She has always been in the spotlight but the pressure of it all got much worse after her father disappeared while on a humanitarian mission in South America. Almost one year after her father went missing and has been presumed dead, Clea starts to see the strange, shadow-like images of a haunting and beautiful man in her photos. For some reason, she finds herself attracted to him and when she meets him in person the connection she feels is undeniable. However, Clea's friend Ben, who also seems to serve as her bodyguard, warns Clea to steer clear of this man because he may be an evil entity. Of course, Clea doesn't listen, and before she knows it, Clea is on a mission that takes her, Ben and the strange man around the world in search of the truth about her father's disappearance. In the process, she finds some very unsettling truths out about her own life and realises she may be in a lot more danger than first thought. Singer and actress Hilary Duff should be praised for leaving the usual genre of Hollywood authors who write about nothing other than Hollywood and its cliches. But in this case it's quite unfortunate that it doesn't work too well. Clea is a hard character to invest in and the storyline is hard to actually enjoy. Elixir is the first in a series, so hopefully the second title will be structured much better. (AS)

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