Saturday 17 July 2010

FIRESPELL by Chloe Neill

As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia's boarding school, Lily Parker thinks her classmates are the most monstrous things she'll have to face. When Lily's guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she was shocked. So was St. Sophia's. Lily's ultra-rich brat pack classmates think Lily should be the punchline to every joke and on top of that, she's hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building. The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout's a little weird - she keeps disappearing late at night and won't tell Lily where she's been. But when a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout running from a real monster...

This is another YA book that I'd been looking forward to reading, so when I got started and found Lily's voice to be casual, clever, sarcastic, and fun... I was instantly sucked into this world she's only discovering herself.

Lily Parker has just been sent off to St. Sophia's. A boarding school for girls located in the heart of Chicago. She's not too happy about it, but her parents have been offered an opportunity of a lifetime in their academic lives and there's no better place to put her. So, she gets there, tries to settle in, and meets a girl called Scout. Scout looks like a bit of a rebel, and when Lily notices that she's sneaking back in really late at night, she can't help but be curious.

Of course, Scout isn't willing to share. So the next time she sneaks out, Lily follows her to the basement. Where it looks like Scout's running from something. In the meantime, Lily meets two other friends of Scout's--boys who attend the male version of her boarding school. And also gets acquaintanced with the 'brat pack', three obnoxious girls who decide to play a prank on Lily because she's obviously chosen the wrong friends to hang out with. When they lead her to the basement and shut her into a janitor's room, she's able to make it out, but that also leads her to Scout's secret. And gets her injured.

After that, she's pretty much dragged into a secret world of magic that a small group of teenagers is trying to keep balanced. They moonlight as protectors of humans who have been targeted by Reapers--tainted magic users--and each have a power of their own. Lily doesn't seem to fit in at first, but as the days go by and she starts to realise that her parents might be keeping a few secrets from her, she once again gets in too deep. Especially when the Reapers take Scout.

Firespell is a page-turner that gradually introduces you to the characters, the city, and the hidden world they live in. Lily's voice was snappy and snarky, and her conversation exchanges with Scout are awesome. There's even a little hint of romance that takes a bit of a rollercoaster ride, but I can't wait to see where things go with the mysterious blue-eyed Jason. And also, very importantly, because this is a first POV-written book, I really liked Lily. She's a cool, interesting character who's slowly finding out that things in her life aren't as simple as they seemed.

This was a very entertaining book, and a terrific start to a new series that I can't wait to read more about. Another awesome book to add to the list!

Firespell: Dark Elite #1, July 2010, ISBN 978-057-509540-3, Gollancz Paperback

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