Verdict: At its heart, ELIXIR is a captivating love story.
Teenaged genius Sean Malone just wants to be normal. In the aftermath of an impressive run on Jeopardy at only 11 years old, Sean is free to explore the world but remains unhappy. He solves an impossible problem, forcing him to flee the country under an assumed name. In Rome, he falls in love but that relationship seems doomed when she contracts a fatal disease. Sean must return to the life he left behind to save his love.
ELIXIR follows Sean Malone, a young genius struggling to find normalcy in a world that views him warily. Sean rocketed into the limelight after winning over a million dollars on Jeopardy earning him the moniker, “Smartest Person on Earth.” With the money and his through-the-roof IQ, Sean finds himself at a top university. He lives with his aunt (his parents died years before in a car crash), and has friends and a mentor. However, Sean fails to find an iota of a normal life. He unknowingly creates an algorithm that can destroy any firewall by solving an unsolvable equation. The solution brings him to the attention of the NSA. The NSA abuses his algorithm and he winds up threatening the NSA and several powerful people. The FBI agrees to help Sean by faking his death and smuggling him out of the country. Sean and his aunt flee to Rome and live for years somewhat peacefully. Raising hell as a graffiti artist, Sean stumbles into and falls madly in love with Natasha. All is well until she contracts Ebola during a family vacation. Sean uses his dazzling intellect and algorithm to brute force a cure, which only attracts more attention onto him. A corporate hitman, a CEO, and many more obstacles stand in the way of Sean saving Natasha’s life.
Ted Galdi masterfully tells the tale of Sean’s journey from troubled genius to savior of humanity. The story’s pacing can slow down leading to disparate plot lines. However, everything connects in ELIXIR’s climax. Once the climax brings all the disjointed events together, the plot gallops forward with tense action. The reader connects with Sean emotionally thanks to Galdi’s apt writing and fleshed-out characters. As with any thrilling story, the reader never winds up where they want to go but Galdi does an excellent job of capturing and holding onto the imagination. This is an adventure spanning countries sprinkled with action and laced with endearing humor. Galdi’s writing really shines when viewing the world through Sean’s eyes, especially about Natasha.
In a world that sees him as a walking brain, Sean wants only to fit in. He finds his place with the magnetic Natasha, until she succumbs to Ebola with less than a week to live. Sean grapples with self-identity, a remorseless hitman, and a fatal disease to save his love and cement his happiness.
At its heart, ELIXIR is a captivating love story.