Book Review: Elixir by Ruth Vincent
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fae
Series: Changeling P.I. #1
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse (May 2016)
Author Info: ruthvincent.com
Wendy’s rating: 3 of 5 stars
With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Mabily Jones has been trapped as a human for 22 years after being betrayed by the Fairy Queen. Once a powerful fairy, Mab is now just a regular girl trying to make her way in New York City. The story opens with her applying to be an unpaid intern with a private eye. Despite the series’ title, the “P.I.” angle doesn’t seem to hold much sway on the over all plot, save to get her to a club where a young woman has gone missing. When she arrives, she discovers that this is no normal club, but a place frequented by fae. It’s run by a roguishly dark and handsome man named Obadiah Savage who, unsurprisingly, has some secrets. The two are forced to work together when they are seemingly framed for murder. The only way to clear their name and get to the bottom of the bigger mysteries that bind them to the Fairy Queen and Elixir — the liquid that gives humans a high, but is the very life of the fairy realm — is to travel to the very realm that Mab was evicted from. Mab must deal with the reality of a Fairy Queen who lied to her and has been stealing children from the human realm — and who holds an even bigger secret that could shatter everything Mab believes.
The elements of the plot have the potential to be very dark, but Vincent succeeds in not falling into that trap, particularly with Savage, the obligatory love interest. Savage has the dark and brooding sexy thing going on and Mab’s attractive is instant, but we quickly find out — if we trust Mab’s gut feeling — that he’s a guy with reasonably good intentions. The character isn’t dragged through the paths of dark secrets and potential betrayals, allowing Mab’s focus to remain on her mission as she learns more about the Fairy Queen’s antics.
The plot also has the potential to dig more deeply into fae mythology, but Vincent only gives this a cursory nod. When Mab crosses back into the home of her birth, the world building falls flat. What ought to be a wonderous place of magic, feels like a movie set where I can too often see behind the scenes and know that it’s not real. The writing as a whole has this problem, skirting along to touch on the various urban fantasy points of interest, without really giving them enough attention or enough uniqueness.
When the book hits its climax, I found that I was not as invested as I wanted to be. I liked that the story was not the typical dark storytelling we often find, but the revelations did not seem to weigh as heavily as they should have, mainly because Mab spends so much time telling us how she feels instead of being allowed to show it, a problem that can come from the choice to write in first person.
Overall, an interesting start to a new series, but I hope that the “changling” and “P.I.” part of the series takes on greater relevance in the future to bring more meat to the plot.