Firespell by Chloe Neill
(A Debut Author Challenge novel!)
author’s website: Chloe Neill
release date: January 5, 2010
appeals to: Young Adult
length: 256 pages
overall rating: 4 Stars
*the back cover*
When Lily’s parents decide to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she is not happy. Lily’s classmates are the ultrarich brat-pack type – and if that isn’t enough, she’s hearing and seeing bizarre things on St. Sophia’s creepy campus.
The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout’s a little weird – she keeps disappearing late at night. When a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout, who’s running from a real-life monster. Scout is part of a splinter group of rebel teens who protect Chicago from demons, vamps, and the gone-to-the-dark-side magic users called Reapers. She lets Lily in on her secret, even though Lily has no powers of her own…or at least none she’s discovered yet.
I have been looking forward to reading this, so I was excited to get this book from the library, and it (mostly) lived up to my expectations. When I started reading this book, I thought that the beginning was a little bit slow moving. However, as I continued, I realized that Neill was just taking time to create Lily’s character. That time spent developing the character made Lily very easy to relate to. I could really understand her feelings and frustrations much more than I could have if the background hadn’t been established early in the book. I also enjoyed Scout and her quirky personality. Even the Brat Pack was amusing - they are the girls every teenager encounters at some point!
There are quite a few interesting twists in this book – with supernatural powers and characters being introduced or hinted at throughout - but much of the “action” is reserved for the last few chapters. There is a conclusion to the story presented in this book, but it is also very well set up to lead into a sequel. And, with the supernatural elements, secret societies, fun characters, and secrets presented in this book, I’m excited to read that sequel!
*short and snappy*
writing: detailed (but not boring) – Neill takes her time developing characters and setting up the plot
plot: slow to start, but it definitely picks up at the end
characters: Lily is well developed, but I feel like we don’t know everything yet. I think there is also a lot to learn about the “supporting” characters.
judging by the cover: an intriguing cover, but not necessarily connected to the plot
miscellaneous: You can read chapter one of this book on line here. Hexbound (the next book) is set to release in January of 2011.