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Elixir by Ted Galdi - Review


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I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Ted Galdi's first novel entitled Elixir is part YA political thriller, medical mystery, and action-adventure. It's a fast-paced page turner that takes off quickly and holds your interest throughout. Lots of action, adventure, and suspense in this globe-trotting thriller with a teen genius at the helm.

Elixir follows Sean Malone a 14 year-old past Jeopardy! champ with a 250 IQ. As part of an Independent Study for his Computer Science class at SoCal Tech, he's been working on The Travelling Salesman Problem which is supposedly unsolvable, but when Sean sets his mind to it he is able to solve it in a matter of hours. Sean's a little disappointed that he's able to do it because he was really hoping for something that would stump him. As a result of his work, the government uses his algorithm to track down a drug lord and kill innocents along the way. In order to keep himself and his family safe, Sean is placed into a protection program where he's relocated to Rome under a false identity and everyone in his past life believes he's dead. We meet back up with him as an 18 year old living a completely different life as James Crates. When his girlfriend falls terminally ill, he realizes he's the only one who can come up with a cure in the few days she has left to live. He's forced to face his past head-on and a billion dollar pharmaceutical company along the way.

I'm glad I gave this advance copy of Ted Galdi's work a try. I know I'll be keeping my eyes open for what he does in the future based on the strength of Elixir.

The story is essentially divided into three sections. In part one we get to know a 14 year-old genius who gets in trouble for being so smart. For the duration of part two, we are introduced to his new life as 18 year-old James Crates. Finally, in the third part, my personal favorite, Sean is forced to do everything in his power even if it means returning to the life of a dead teen in order to save the life of the girl he loves. All three sections work well together, but the story really comes to fruition in the incredibly intense finale. I wouldn't say the story ever gets boring, however, the second part is the slowest in comparison to the rest, but it is essential to see Sean's journey as it builds up to his girlfriend Natasha's sickness.

As for the characters, they're all pretty engaging even Dante, the villain from the final part. I wish Natasha got to be a little more active in the story, but her personality is infectious (pardon the pun) and it makes sense as we discover more about her that Sean would walk through fire to do whatever he can for her. For Sean, it's refreshing to see a genius level character to behave the way he does. His intellect isn't all there is to him, it's just one of the many pieces making up his character. He can't help his smarts and he's always looking for a challenge, particularly one that might stump even him. In regards to the minor characters, I wish Fabrizio and Kyle had more page-time.

Overall, I highly enjoyed Elixir and recommend it to fans of action thrillers. I think this could make an action-packed adaptation for the big screen. I will be looking for all future works by Galdi!

I read this book between July 10 - 17, 2014 and my review is also available on Goodreads.


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