Review: Elixir by Anna Abner

May Contain Spoilers


I was in the mood for a little zombie chaos, so when I received a copy of Elixir as part of a blog tour, I loaded it up and started reading.  Despite some reservations, I did enjoy this quick read, but I would have enjoyed it more if the protagonist hadn’t been so lacking in common sense.  She hates guns and refuses to carry one.  She is being attacked by a Red, a couple of guys save her by shooting the zombie, and she is upset that they didn’t try to reason with him first.  Uhhhh – dudette, you are one of the few human survivors of a zombie apocalypse!  Trying to reason with mindless, flesh-eating monsters will only get you killed.  Really?

I kind of feel like I should write this review as a list of pros and cons, so here we go!

Pros –

Lots of zombies chasing the terrified Maya after she emerges from the safe room her father installed in their house before he left for work and never returned.  Her father was a chemist, and he believed that he was THIS close to finding a cure for the 212R virus, which was turning everyone who didn’t die from it into frothing beasts, completely lacking higher brain reasoning.  When she runs out of water, she is forced to leave the safety of her little room, only to find herself fleeing from a pack of infecteds who want to eat her for lunch.

The zombies have a few weaknesses that give the surviving humans a chance to survive.  The virus has destroyed their sense of equilibrium so they can’t climb trees or walk up a set of stairs.  While they are fast and fiercely single-minded when it comes to catching a meal, this flaw makes things a little more interesting because the humans can seek higher ground, and then they have to puzzle their way away from the zombies. 

Pollard, one of the young men who saves Maya from the kid zombie, is my favorite character.  He wants to find a way to restore the world to the way it was, and he’s not afraid to put himself into danger to do just that.  When Maya wants to go to her dad’s lab to find the antidote for 212R, he doesn’t hesitate to go with her and protect her. 

Cons –

Maya often behaves irrationally.  I mean, to the point where she is severely lacking in common sense, has a death wish, or has somehow escaped Darwin’s theory of evolution.  She is just too stupid to live at times, but sadly, the only deaths are not her own.  She is hungry, dehydrated, injured, and exhausted, but instead of staying with Pollard and his little crew in a safe place, she stubbornly insists that she must carry on with her plan to get the elixir.  A few days spent eating, sleeping, and resting her sprained knee would have been the best investment of her time, but no!  Off she hobbles, putting others in danger and getting someone painfully killed.

Maya’s mother was killed in a horrific moment of domestic violence, and now she has a deep aversion for guns.  While I can understand how losing her mother like that would make her leery of guns and the people waving them around, the world has changed.  If she didn’t want to go packing, fine, but don’t berate and judge others poorly because they believe it’s now necessary to carry a firearm.  Her rage at Pollard for asking questions.  NEVER.  before saving her hide from the Red made no sense.  The kid was going to eat her.   The was beating her, most likely to her death, with toy steel trucks.  There was no need to ask questions, other than – is this chick worth the hassle of saving??

Maya has made it her life’s single task to find the elixir that might or might not exist.  She and Pollard’s group suspect that there is a military presence at Camp Carson.  Wouldn’t it make more sense to go there and ask them to retrieve it for them?  It’s not like Maya could do anything with it.  If she did find an antidote, she knew that the next step was to find scientists and equipment to mass produce the serum.  If she gets killed before getting the serum to people who know what to do with it, she’s just destroyed everyone’s last hope for a cure.

I sense that a love triangle is brewing between Maya, Pollard, and Ben, the zombie.  Ugh.  I hate love triangles.  And I wanted a better explanation for why Ben wasn’t a mindless, flesh consuming monster.  Instead, he follows Maya around like a puppy, defending her from other Reds, occasionally uttering a vague, “Mmmmmmm.”  Why?  We never get an answer in this volume as to why he’ is different from others of his kind.

The cliffhanger ending is a bummer.  Major league!  These books are short, less than 170 pages each.  It would have been better to package them together in a single download, rather than having Elixir just grind to a halt.  Very frustrating!  A quick check over at Amazon shows that they were all released on the same date – Feb 26 – so the only reason for breaking them into installments seems to be to make the cash register ring more often. 

Despite my reservations, I did enjoy Elixir.  The entire series is available for rent if you are an Amazon Prime member. Otherwise, be aware that there are three books in the series (that I know of), and they are all quite short.  I’ll have a review of the next book as soon as I can fit it into my reading schedule.

Grade:  B-

Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours

From Amazon:


The red plague has devastated the human race, turning billions of people into zombies with red eyes and an insatiable hunger for human flesh.

The 212R virus sweeps through the population so quickly a possible cure is left to rot. Seventeen-year-old Maya Solomon may be the only survivor who knows where it is. But to reach the lab in Raleigh, North Carolina she will have to outrun the infected boy tracking her every step and cross into a city swarming with monsters.