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.