, by Kt Clapsadl

Firespell by Chloe Neill
The Dark Elite #1

New Girl.
New School.
Old Evil.

From the author of the Chicagoland Vampires novels.

A new series about a boarding school filled with something worse than homework.

Lily's parents have sent her to a fancy boarding school in Chicago filled with the ultra-rich. If that wasn't bad enough, she's hearing and seeing bizarre things on St. Sophie's creepy campus. Her roommate, Scout, keeps her sane, but keeps disappearing at night. When one day Lily finds Scout running from real-life monsters, she learns the hard way that Scout is involved in a splinter group of rebel teens.

They protect Chicago from demons, vamps, and dark magic users. It's too bad Lily doesn't have powers of her own to help. At least, none that she's discovered yet... 

When Lily was picturing her last two years of high school, she never would have guessed that she would be spending them at an extremely exclusive boarding school for the whose who of teenage girls. As she befriends one of her roommates, Scout, Lily starts to notice some pretty strange things happening around the campus. Funny thing is that they all seem to center around Scout and her mysterious disappearances. Lily learns the hard way that there are things that go bump in the night and she'll have to find a way to bump back. Or else.

I'll admit that the first half of this book gave me a sense of deja vu as it is like so many other YA books out there. Girl gets sent to a new school, she is tormented by the "mean girls" squad. She then befriends the outcast and finally some sort of paranormal element ensues, which of course leads the girl finding out she has some special power/skill/destiny/etc. However, I do have to give Firespell credit where it is due that the paranormal aspects felt very fresh and unique. I especially enjoyed the part about the paranormal powers/skills come with a cost. So many books have things come a little too easy to be realistic, making me very happy to see Firespell differ in that area. So I guess in the long run I can mostly forgive the "formula" beginning, even if it made for a very slow start.

It seemed a little odd to me that Lily didn't question her parent's decision to leave her behind when they went to Germany supposedly for a two year sabbatical. This instantly threw a red flag up for me because Lily described them as very close to her. Their reasoning of wanting her to have an American education seemed to be a paper thin cover for something else. However, I will say that I found this mystery to be quite intriguing and the desire to know the truth furthered my enjoyment of the book. Unfortunately, we really do not have any answers yet, but I am hopeful for some revelations to come in the next book. 

Despite my difficulty in attaching to the story until late in the book, Firespell was still a pretty solid read. I'm a big fan of Chloe Neill's Chicagoland series, and I thought it was more than time to try out her YA series. While at this point I cannot say Firespell quite lived up to my expectations, I do think there is plenty of potential for the next few books to really wow me. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.


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