Series or Stand Alone: Dark Elite series, book one
Release Date: January 2010
Author Site: http://www.chloeneill.com/
My Rating: 3.5/5
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…
It seems boarding schools in the reading world all have a deep dark secret or house some pretty “gifted” students (and I don’t mean academically speaking). However, despite having similar elements to other books out there, FIRESPELL is a pretty solid start to a series that shows a lot of promise. A little slow to start, the action picks up pretty quickly and includes characters that are sure to make readers want more!
I must say “the new kid in a boarding school” thing was a slight drag but I thought author Chloe Neill did a pretty decent job on adding some new twists to the popular fad in paranormal young adult books out now. First off, St. Sophia is an all girls boarding school. Located in Chicago, St. Sophia’s prides itself outstanding academic achievement and developing crucial networking skills to make it after high school. I enjoyed the fact that the headmistress is unlikable at the beginning. Cold and distant the reader isn’t quite sure if she is on Lily’s side or not. However, I found myself liking her towards the end of the book. Her character doesn’t change much personality wise but background information and new knowledge gained from the story shines a different light on her.
The Brat Pack was another element that I’ve seen before. However, FIRESPELL’S brat pack had a different kind of hierarchy. Some of them are definitely more evil then others and I’m interested in seeing how they add trouble to the next installment in Lily’s story. As for Lily herself, she was totally likeable. I enjoyed how down to earth and honest she was. Her newly found best friend, Scout was definitely a show-stealer though. Independent, quick-witted, full of spunk and humor, she definitely makes a dynamic companion for Lily. I’m really interested in reading some more background info on the BFF.
The actual supernatural part of the story revealed quite a lot. Sometimes I felt I was given a little too much information at some points but overall it’s interesting as hell. The good vs. evil aspect is definitely different than what’s already out there and I’m looking forward to discovering more about the Dark Elite. I also see a lover’s triangle that could possibly be forming and I admit I’m super excited about that. Without going into too many details… I’m torn between Jason and Sebastian. I’ll definitely go into more when I get to book two. For now, go read the book to see what I’m talking about =)
While FIRESPELL didn’t blow me away I still really enjoyed the book, especially towards the end. I’ll be picking up a copy of book two, HEXBOUND, when it comes out in January.