Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Firespell: The Dark Elite by Chloe Neill


As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia's boarding school, Lily Parker thinks her classmates are the most monstrous things she'll have to face.
When Lily's guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she was shocked. So was St. Sophia's. Lily's ultra-rich brat pack classmates think Lily should be the punchline to every joke, and on top of that, she's hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building.
The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout's a little weird - she keeps disappearing late at night and won't tell Lily where she's been. But when a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout running from a real monster.
Scout's a member of a splinter group of rebel teens with unique magical talents, who've sworn to protect the city against demons, vampires, and Reapers, magic users who've been corrupted by their power. And when Lily finds herself in the line of a firespell, Scout tells her the truth about her secret life, even though Lily has no powers of her own - at least, none that she's discovered yet . . .

Forget the House of Night, it's time to join the Dark Elite . . .

When I read the blurb for Firespell I was reminded of the House of Night but also of Hex Hall so I was interested to see how this book differed. Initially, it didn't seem to differ that much. Lily is sent to a boarding school, much against her wishes. Once there she carves a place for herself with Scout her snarky new best friend who shows her around. Almost immediately Scout starts disappearing and soon Lily follows her only to discover that Scout is not just a privileged girl at a posh school. She has a secret and Lily is drawn into her world out of concern for her new friend.

I'm not sure if it's my respect for the underdog but I love that Lily has no powers. It allows the reader to empathise with her amazement and confusion at the new world she finds herself thrown into. Lily's determination to find out what Scout is up to gets her involved in a strange world of magicians. I love the new breed of magicians that Neill has created; each one has a specialist power like the control of fire. Powers first show themselves at puberty but once the magician reaches adulthood they need souls to keep their powers from draining them. Scout's group fights against these magicians and try to stop innocent people being harmed.

I love this idea and it gave the book a real core of good against evil. The array of secondary characters are great too like the sexy-with-a-secret Jason or the hideous Mary Katherine. I especially like head teacher Mrs Foley who was suitably scary. The dialogue was quite snappy and sarcastic but not annoyingly so - I quite enjoyed it. The only bad thing I can say is that there wasn't enough book for me. I don't mean that it's too slim; it's a solid 246 pages. I wanted more of the characters, more information on the evil magicians, more on Jason and Lily. The book has a satisfying conclusion but I wish I'd read it when the second book was available so that I could go straight onto it to get a bit more depth on how Lily copes with all the changes that she's experienced. I enjoyed Firespell, I just want more of everything in the sequel.


asamum said...

Oh no I think you have me hooled on another series :D
Thanks, I think ;)
Great review :D

heidenkind said...

I have this book on my shelf, but I haven't read it yet. I do really enjoy Chloe Neill Chicagoland Vampires series, though!