Since Sage was kidnapped, Clea has no way of knowing if he is alive or dead. And even though she has only just discovered they were soulmates, she feels like a part of her is lost forever. What’s worse, she can’t even turn to her best friend Ben—because every time she looks at him, all she sees is his betrayal. But waiting for something to happen is not an option, so Clea is ready for action. Suffering through dreams of seeing Sage with another woman, she makes an uneasy alliance with Sage’s enemies and sets out to be reunited with Sage…in this life or the next.
Elixir left us with an frustrating Clea Raymond. I knew it would happen, it’s not exactly rational to expect Clea to be “normal” again after having her soulmate, Sage, kidnapped by a group of shady men. Duff, in an interview with MTV, that Devoted is as exciting as Elixir. But Devoted shines more than Elixir in many ways. I wince every time I have to read through Clea declaring her undying, destined love to Sage, but the plot takes a huge twist with the introduction of new characters.
At first I was taken aback with the ghost-like family. They just sprung out of nowhere. I thought it was just Clea hallucinating out of extreme depression, but I was relieved to find out that she hasn’t gone insane yet. Duff’s creativity shines through with the creation of Amelia’s family. They are victims of the Elixir who in desperation to keep living for eternity, devises a plan for them to exist has mere “conscienceless.” They have amazing mental powers allowing them to be telekenetic, psychic, and to materialize wherever they wish. They are a unique bunch, and a pleasure to read. Amelia, the youngest of the family, opts to help Clea despite her family’s disapproval. Amelia’s mother, Petra, has lost all sense of humanity, and seeks to eradicate her daughter. Seven-year old (or twenty-five hundred year old, depending on how you look at it) Amelia is admirable, she is willing to sacrifice her existence for her morals, and she is also Clea’s only hope. Amelia and Clea switch off the role of narrators throughout the novel. Amelia overshadows Clea, simply because Amelia’s supernatural powers are just more intriguing than Clea’s lovelorn preachings.
In summary, Clea is in an emotional rollercoaster, she does stupid things and takes out her anger on the wrong people. The back cover claims Clea “wasn’t raised to be a weak person,” but she clearly shows her flaws in Devoted. She can’t seem to do much without Ben’s help. Despite ignoring Ben for weeks, she goes right back to ask him for help once she figures out she needs Ben’s intelligence. It seems like Clea can’t do anything without a an by her side. The back cover goes to to claim Sage saw the parts Clea “didn’t share with anyone…and [loved her] anyway.” which made me wince. I don’t know what Clea doesn’t share with anyone, she is clearly an open book; she can’t even tell a lie without her best friends knowing in five seconds flat. Clea is obsessed with Sage, unable to see Ben, who clearly loves her for her flaws as well. I can’t say I am rooting for Ben either because he retaliates against Clea by dating a gorgeous assistant and he also seems largely unreliable (not only did he get held hostage and find pesky ways to taunt Clea.) Whatever hate is harness in the first novel for Ben turns into pity. He is the poor friend who missed the opportunity for a love confession, not to mention that he is fated to not get the girl anyway.
Clea goes an hunts down another group of shady people called the Cursed Vengeance to beat up the original group of shady people called Saviors of Life. Cursed Vengeance is straight up bad-ass. Despite their military training and deadly arsenal of weapons, they are straight to the point; they don’t spend time plotting some elaborate lan, if they want you, then they kidnap you. I guess being cursed to a life where you are destined to die before thirty makes you cut to the chase. My favorite character is Sloane, the leader of Cursed Vengeance. She wants Sage dead, but she is merciful, and she also isn’t afraid to swear.
To my pleasure, there is relatively more action than romance in Devoted. Though both of Clea’s love interests get new lovers. Ben turns to the gorgeous, intelligent Suzanne while Sage sets his sights on Lilia who eventually convinces him to release his bond with Clea. Clea gets jealous and impulsively seduces Ben…
Elixir was problematic for me in its many plot holes, Devoted had fewer of them. I hope it’s a sign of Duff paying extra attention to honing her story planning skills. Why in the world would you go into Walmart and buy a duffel bag packed with knives anyway, isn’t that just dead weight? And why in the world wouldn’t the store clerk call the police? Just because the abandoned subway station was a bomb shelter, doesn’t mean it gets electricity. How can it go undetected by the electric company? If Clea wanted to save Sage, wouldn’t it be smarter just to hug him so that when the dagger strikes, it would hit her instead?
Unfortunately, the mystery surrounding her missing father while prominent in the first novel completely disintegrated in the second. Clea seems to forget, or give up, on finding her father because…she has her soulmate to save. Fathers obviously take a backseat to lovers, at least that’s how Clea works. It feels like the reader is supposed to assume her father is dead though that is never made tacit.
After finishing Elixir, I immediately picked up Devoted to quench my thirst. Devoted, like its predecessor, Elixir, is set up for its final conclusion. Unlike Elixir however, Devoted opens the story to more potential and Clea is not left swallowed in lovelorn depression. I knew to brace myself for emo Clea in Devoted (it was like Bella without the blank pages, fetal positions, and crazy motorcycles.) The conclusion wasn’t exactly a cliffhanger, but I was left curious. The love triangle Duff created just might turn into a love rectangle (or square? or quadrilateral?) Overall, I can see Duff’s writing improve exponentially: she has created a enthralling love story filled with well-developed characters and thrilling action. Duff’s talent for taking the paranormal genre and making it her own, has me excited for her next work.