Author: Jennifer Echols
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Thriller
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Source: Publisher-provided ARC via Edelweiss
Summary: Nothing up her sleeves…or so she’s been led to believe.
Showgirl Holly Starr is sick and tired of assisting her dad, a celebrity magician, in his Las Vegas casino magic show. As soon as he keeps his promise to her and shares the secrets to his tricks, she can break out on her own. But can she really make it? For years Holly has taken medication to stave off crazy hallucinations that she can levitate objects. Just when she thinks she’s ready to make a career and a life for herself, her medicine—and her luck—run out.
Elijah Brown suffers from a similar delusion—that he can read minds—and he’s out of medicine too. Determined to save himself and his old flame Holly, he kidnaps her and takes her straight to the source, a town high in the Rockies where their medicine is made. What they discover there leads them to suspect their powers are not imaginary after all…and neither is the intense attraction they feel for each other.
They make a pact to stick together as they return to Vegas to confront the people who kept them in the dark so long. But soon they’re pitting their powers against each other in a dangerous world where the nightlife is seductive, domination is addictive, the sex is beyond belief…and falling in love is murder.
☆: DNF – There are no words. Except the ones I managed to turn into a review somehow.
What happened? I’ve read a novel by this author before (Forget You) and though I didn’t care for that either, it had nothing to do with the writing. Levitating Las Vegas, which is actually a drama instead of the comedy it is marketed as, is unlike any novel she has ever written and that isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Echols’ prose was fine in the previous experience I had with her. Then again, that novel was written in first-person. As evidenced by long, dry passages revealing how their world works in only the first two chapters (passages that effectively rob the novel of what could have been a great “do they or do they not really have these powers?” psychological perspective) and descriptions that are either hamfisted or dull, third-person narration is not her forte. Elijah and Holly are flat on their own and what brings them together other than their powers is a mystery to me.
The scheme keeping the empowered teens from using their powers has too many holes in it for me to find it plausible that it ever worked. Did Elijah and Holly never think about doing a Google search on their condition out of curiosity? They never missed a dose ever? Did the organizers of the whole scheme really expect these teens not to be angry that they were lied to for years, diagnosed with a fake disorder that ruined their lives, and taken off the medication without any warning? The answers to all these questions being “yes” is outlandishly unlikely even for a novel where people have psychic abilities.
There are also more than a few moments I find iffy at best. A fourteen/fifteen-year-old girl working as a showgirl in a small bikini? This blatant sexualization and exploitation of a minor bothers me and it strikes me as odd that the casino–even when ruled by parties sympathetic to empowered people like Holly and her father–would allow this due to negative publicity. Then there is the use of “transvestite” multiple times when “cross-dresser” would have also worked. Transvestite carries a rather negative connotation with it; while I wrote this review, I overheard people use the word as an insult/derogatory term.
This makes two strikes for Echols. I have one other book written by her (Love Story) and if I find it not to my tastes when I flip through it, that will be the end of it with me and this author. I made it to page 200 out of 300 before I gave up, realizing this wasn’t going to be my thing.