Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Review: Firespell by Chloe Neill

The last thing Lily Parker wanted was to be shipped off to boarding school just before her junior year. Unfortunately, she doesn't have much say in the matter -- and that's how Lily finds herself facing the imposing, dreary facade of St. Sophia's School for Girls. On the surface, St. Sophia's appears to be a typical high school filled with the usual freaks and geeks and catty cliques, but she soon discovers that there's a lot more to her new school than meets the eye. After futilely grilling her new roommate Scout about her late night disappearances, Lily's curiosity gets the best of her. But when she finally braves the labyrinthine passageways of St. Sophia's dungeon-like basement in pursuit of Scout, Lily might get more monstrous answers than she bargained for.

Chloe Neill spins a tale that is light, fresh and easy to read. The narration reads like a conversation with the heroine, and the main characters will instantly feel like the reader's best friends. Though the beginning of the novel feels a little contrived (why is Lily so obsessed with Scout's behavior? How does she sense that there is something monstrous in St. Sophia's?), the quirky characterization more than balances it out. Lily is energetic and adventurous, providing an interesting blend of wild imagination and cool level-headedness. Her character feels rounded and fully alive, drawing readers into her story with irresistible charisma. The stereotypical alpha clique with their catty angst is a little frustrating, but the narration provides a sassy, tongue-in-cheek humor that keeps the novel from falling headfirst into the teenage melodrama. The romance that develops over the course of the novel is also sweet and believable -- authentic teen infatuation, with the potential to be something more -- but none of the overdone love-at-first-sight that pervades too many YA novels. Overall, this novel is a fun, fast read that provides just the right mix of magic and mystery, snark and adventure.


Click here to order Firespell by Chloe Neill.

This novel is part of the 2010 Debut Author Challege.


lisa :) said...

magic and mystery, snark and adventure

That sounds like my kind of book! I'm sure the debut author challenge will be no problem for you too, as I feel like every time I stop over here I'm discovering someone new to read!

danya said...

I've heard good things about this one - it doesn't sound eye-opening or anything but it does sound like an entertaining fantasy read!

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

You pretty much hit the nail on the head, Danya -- it was a lot of fun, but it was fluffy.

Aylee said...

Yet another series I need to read! I've heard great things about Chloe Neill but never read anything by her. Her books definitely sound entertaining. I'm very much interested in the fact that you say there's no "love at first sight" relationship in this one.

Elodie said...

Thanks for your review Casey !! I'm adding this one to buy To BuY List !!

Lori said...

Terrific review!! I really enjoyed this book and the sequel! Lily and Scout are so much fun!!

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

So glad you enjoyed this book. I have this series on my list to start someday. :) But this makes me want to get to it sooner. :) Thank you!

Mary Ellen said...

I've read this book, and the 2nd in the series, Hexbound. I've read Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampires series and it's one of my favorites even though it's not YA. I think this series, The Dark Elite, is going to be a favorite series also. Your review really touched on all the important points I think and gave a real feel for the book.

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