Friday, September 2, 2011

Review - Firespell by Chloe Neill

New Girl.
New School.
Old Evil.

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...
It's been a long time since I've read a paranormal book. In fact, I'm pretty sure this is the first one I've finished this year. I got tired of the genre late last year, and this year just didn't have the desire to read it, or couldn't get into it when I tried. Luckily, when I picked up Firespell, I had a hard time putting it down. It was a really enjoyable read!

It started off a little slow, but I don't remember being bored, just not super interested in the beginning. I can't remember exactly when it picked up, but considering it's a pretty short book and too much of nothing-really-happening would have made me put it down, it must have picked up pretty close to the beginning.

One of the things I think made me really like this book, is that it's just a quick, fun read. To me, it played out a bit like one of the role plays I used to do on Shelfari (one of the good ones, mind you), only it centered around one character discovering a world of magic, instead of six or so characters doing the same thing (conveniently at the same time). The story got going fairly quickly, and kept going at a steady pace from there, always keeping me interested. It had some light, amusing moments, some action, and a bit of mystery (kind of predictable, but that didn't make me like it any less).

I even kind of liked the characters, which is really rare for me. They aren't some of my favorite characters in the literary world, and I didn't love any of them, but I did enjoy reading about them. They were likable and amusing, and I look forward to meeting them again in the sequel.

As much as I liked this book, I did have a few problems with it. Mainly, frequently recurring themes. Neill seemed a bit hung up on the word 'notwithstanding'. I can't count the number of times it was used throughout the book. Some other themes are head bobbing (as in 'I bobbed my head at her' not lazy head-banging) and addressing people by their last names. I found these to be a bit strange, particularly the name thing. Some of the slang they used seemed a bit off, too. But there was nothing big enough to ruin the book in the slightest.

The second thing that bothered me is a bit of a spoiler, but you kind of know it's coming, so at the same time it's not. Anyway, *SPOILER WARNING* I didn't really like the way Lily discovered her powers. The way she got them was fine, I guess. A little weird, but also somewhat interesting. But the way she discovered them was just... poorly written. I hate to sound harsh, but those are my thoughts. But then, discovery-of-powers is rarely done well, so you can't really fault someone when it's less than spectacular. *SPOILERS OVER*

Overall, I liked it. It was quick, interesting, and highly enjoyable. I now wish I hadn't put off reading it for so long; it must have sat on my shelf for about a year. It's kind of changed my opinion on paranormal books, which I'd all but given up on, now I'm willing to give the genre another chance. The ending wasn't exactly a cliffhanger, but it might as well have been. It certainly had the effect of a cliffhanger, leaving me desperate to get the sequel.

Head bobs notwithstanding, I give Firespell 4 octopi.

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