Wednesday, July 16, 2014


3/5 Stars

*   Meet 14-year-old Sean Malone. He has an IQ above 200, a full-ride scholarship to one of the country’s top universities, and more than one million dollars from his winning streak on Jeopardy. However, Sean wishes he could just be normal.

But his life is anything but normal. The US government manipulates him, using him as a codebreaker in pursuit of a drug lord and killing innocent people along the way. 

For reasons related to his personal security, Sean finds himself in Rome, building a new life under a new name, abandoning academics, and hiding his genius from everyone. When he’s 18 he falls in love. The thrills begin again when he learns that his girlfriend is critically ill and it’s up to him to use his intellect to find a cure, a battle pitting him against a multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical company and the demons of his past. 

Elixir is a story about identity, secrets, and above all, love.   *

I was provided with an advanced copy of Elixir to review and though the books cover promises an exciting tale of CIA operatives, running for their lives, and everlasting love, well... We know not to judge a book by its cover. 

The story was intriguing, a young genius winning it big on Jeopardy who gets accepted into college at sixteen and solves a puzzle never meant to be solved. He goes on the run with his legal guardian, his aunt, to escape a government plot to debunk the genius and force him into juvenile hall to keep the world safe from what he knows and the worlds cyber criminals.

With their Jeopardy winnings in hand, which the money somehow not immediately seized by the government to stop such a flight, he and his aunt take their newly purchased identifications and flee the country to Italy. Once there, Sean does not waste time in becoming a hoodlum and making bad decisions.

When his girlfriend mysteriously becomes ill he decides it is once again time to use his gift and discover the cure. He calls on his old professor with convenient connections to produce the cure that will save his loves life.

I have quite a few questions about the story line and happenings of this book, I'm no CIA/Government conspiracy expert, but I'm pretty sure Sean and his professor would not be able to pull this off. The dialogue is weak in terms of the government agents and everything seems to easily fall into place with no real struggle on Sean's part.

The book itself isn't written poorly, I think the story could have been tightened up and it could have used more details and descriptions. I fully believe an eighteen year old would behave in this way and at all costs save his girlfriend while risking exposing his identity while hiding from the government. The younger characters are spot on, it's the adults that need strengthening.

Anyway, in the words of, and in honor of LeVar Burton and his recent, awesomely successful Reading Rainbow campaign; You don't have to take my word for it.

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