Friday, April 9, 2010

Book Review: 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.

Scout’s a member of a splinter group of rebel teens with unique magical talents, who’ve sworn to protect the city against demons, vampires, and Reapers, magic users who’ve been corrupted by their power. And when Lily finds herself in the line of a firespell, Scout tells her the truth about her secret life, even though Lily has no powers of her own—at least none that she’s discovered yet…

I picked up Firespell after seeing it on numerous blogs, and added it to my 2010 Debut Author Challenge list. I'm still debating how I feel about the story, because there were things that I really enjoyed, and a few things that pulled me out of the story.

What I enjoyed most were the strong characters in the book. In particular, I thought that Lily was a strong, mature girl. She reacted pretty reasonably to being completely uprooted and shipped off to a prestigious boarding school. Lily was befriended almost immediately by one of her roommates, Scout. She was another strong character. She a loyal friend to Lily, despite only knowing her for a short time, and she had made the choice to use her abilities in a positive way. There was also a group of mean-spirited popular girls, nicknamed "the brat pack" , who served to make life more miserable for Scout and Lily. By the end of the book I realized that the brat pack was relatively harmless. Obviously they were obnoxious, but they paled in comparison to the real villains of the story.

My main issue with the book was the pacing of the story. Despite the interesting characters, the plot was slow-moving for almost half of the book. While this lack of action gave me a lot of time to learn about Lily, and to question what was really happening at St. Sophia's, I would have enjoyed a bit more action. Firespell ends in a setup for a sequel, and I'm fairly certain that the issue of pacing won't be an issue. I would like to learn a little bit more about the individual abilities of the Adepts. I'm also looking forward to Lily confronting her parents about their lies.

I'll be reading book 2, and it's a worthwhile read if you don't mind a slow start.

By Chloe Neill
Published by Signet
256 Pages
Rating: C+


Tales of Whimsy said...

Great review. I like your lettered rating :)

Monster of Books said...

I've read a bit of this, and I agree on the slow start part.

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