Blurb taken from Chloe Neill’s official website:
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 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…
Firespell is the first book in the Dark Elite series by Chloe Neill. I bought it not long after it was released, and I think Chloe Neill is making a strong stamp in the supernatural romance genre with her Chicagoland Vampires’ series.
Firespell is a light-hearted and quick read, but unfortunately it didn’t make a huge impression on me. Not that the book is badly written, but I found it to be lacking in excitement and quite slow going in pace. Lily, the heroine, is a likeable enough character – she has a good sense of humour – but there was no distinction in her personality that made her stand out to me. The secondary characters did though, such as Scout, Michael and Jason who all have individual powers – especially Jason who has an extra edge to him, and who looks like to be the potential love interest for Lilly.
Yup, my main problem was that I found the secondary characters to be more interesting than Lily herself. Scout had more of a colourful personality than Lily, and made much more of an impression on me.
Lily does derive sympathy though, especially when you see her struggle with her parent’s decision with sending her away to boarding school for two years as they go on sabbatical – while professing that they loved her dearly. So at first, I did have this warning flashing through my head: Danger, Danger. Another YA book that features crummy parents! But thankfully, there is more than meets the eye with Lily’s parents who seem to have been lying to Lily about their choice of profession. In future books, I think that particular revelation will be very important (and the headmaster of St Sophia’s seems to be hiding secrets also).
The blurb sounds fantastic, but Firespell doesn’t actually show any demons or vampires – only The Reapers and the other members of the Dark Elite. The actual premise of their powers is quite interesting, and one that makes for a change where you choose to give your powers back, or keep them and become Reapers. The problem was, though, that you didn’t see the characters use their powers very much. IMO, it was more of a tell than show book. Firespell leaves you with questions rather than answers, but as I found it to be very slow in pace, numerous times I found my attention slipping away and losing interest.
But it does have promise, which was what kept me reading the book, and the ending was much more to my liking as it picked up pace. But I do hope we see more of the unexplored powers of Lily, and hopefully a lot more action in the second book. I did like that there was no angst ridden love in Firespell. Lily and Jason do have a connection, but it wasn’t in the nature of: OMG, I love you and I’ll die if I’m not with you. :D It was nice seeing a character who wasn’t focused 100% on getting the boy – a refreshing change.
So all in all, I did like Firespell, but IMO, it was simply lacking in action and slow paced for my taste for a 250 page book. I am going to pick up the second book in the series when it comes out, so I really hope that there is more action, and we see the demons and vampires. And hopefully the plot expands so we see more of this supernatural world that was vaguely introduced in Firespell
I give Firespell 3.5 out of 5 stars.