Review Blog

Sep 21 2010

Firespell by Chloe Neill

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Dark elite, Book 1. Orion, 2010. ISBN 9780575095403.
(Age 14+) Lily's parents have sent her off to an elite boarding school in Chicago. It's the last place that she wants to be. The other girls at St Sophia's are rich and snobby, and play cruel practical jokes. The only person who makes her life bearable is Scout, and she disappears at night, going off on mysterious jaunts, which she refuses to talk about. Then one day Lily finds Scout running from monsters and her life is changed forever. She discovers that Scout belongs to a group of rebel teens that have sworn to protect Chicago from demons, vampires and Reapers who use magic powers. Does Lily have the power to join this elite group?
This is an engrossing story that kept me reading to the end. Told in the first person by Lily, the main character, the book has an entertaining and witty voice. I enjoyed Lily's descriptions of the school and its rich pupils and empathised with her attempts to fit in. I particularly liked the character of Scout, who is depicted as strong and caring and I look forward to seeing more of her in further books in the series. The boys from a nearby boys school were less memorable as characters. Lily is attracted to Jason, the boy who is more than he appears, and he is a sufficiently attractive hero to keep girls interested in the romance in the book. I anticipate that these characters too will be more fleshed out in future books.
Neill is adept in creating a setting that makes her world come alive and has the writing skill to make it memorable. I found the descriptions of Chicago engaging, and St Sophia's, with its corridors, crypts and strange appearance, is certainly more interesting than some of the boarding schools featured in other vampire books. This is because Neill has an excellent way with words, and her dialogue and descriptions of shopping certainly provided moments of hilarity.
I raced through this book, enjoyed the action, and am sure that girls who are into the vampire genre will love it.
Pat Pledger

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