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Firespell

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When Lily Parker's guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, Lily was shocked. So was St. Sophia's. As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia's boarding school, Lily is surrounded by an ultra-rich bratpack. She's pretty sure her spoiled, petty, fashion-obsessed classmates are the most monstrous things she'll have to face, and surviving them and When Lily Parker's guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, Lily was shocked. So was St. Sophia's. As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia's boarding school, Lily is surrounded by an ultra-rich bratpack. She's pretty sure her spoiled, petty, fashion-obsessed classmates are the most monstrous things she'll have to face, and surviving them and their cruel practical jokes is proving even tougher than the homework... But on top of being the punchline to every joke, Lily's hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building. All building have their creaks and groans - but Lily could swear that she's being watched. The only thing keeping her sane, so far, is her roommate Scout. But something strange is going on there too - Scout keeps disappearing late at night, reappearing bruised and tired, and she won't tell Lily where's she's been... until, that is, a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school. Lost in the dark Lily hear's footsteps heading towards her - it's Scout and she's running from a real monster. Scout is part of a group of rebel teens with unique magical talents, sworn to protect the city against demons, vampires, and Reapers: magic users who've been corrupted by their power. Much as Lily would love to help, it's too dangerous without powers of her own - especially if she'd have to go up against the firespell herself...


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When Lily Parker's guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, Lily was shocked. So was St. Sophia's. As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia's boarding school, Lily is surrounded by an ultra-rich bratpack. She's pretty sure her spoiled, petty, fashion-obsessed classmates are the most monstrous things she'll have to face, and surviving them and When Lily Parker's guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, Lily was shocked. So was St. Sophia's. As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia's boarding school, Lily is surrounded by an ultra-rich bratpack. She's pretty sure her spoiled, petty, fashion-obsessed classmates are the most monstrous things she'll have to face, and surviving them and their cruel practical jokes is proving even tougher than the homework... But on top of being the punchline to every joke, Lily's hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building. All building have their creaks and groans - but Lily could swear that she's being watched. The only thing keeping her sane, so far, is her roommate Scout. But something strange is going on there too - Scout keeps disappearing late at night, reappearing bruised and tired, and she won't tell Lily where's she's been... until, that is, a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school. Lost in the dark Lily hear's footsteps heading towards her - it's Scout and she's running from a real monster. Scout is part of a group of rebel teens with unique magical talents, sworn to protect the city against demons, vampires, and Reapers: magic users who've been corrupted by their power. Much as Lily would love to help, it's too dangerous without powers of her own - especially if she'd have to go up against the firespell herself...

30 review for Firespell

  1. 3 out of 5

    new_user

    I was on the verge with this one, finger on the trigger, because nothing happened for fully a half of Firespell, but Chloe Neill did it again. She's one of the few authors whose settings are as engaging as her characters. She's intimately familiar with Chicago, and by the end of the book we know the Loop as well as Lily and her friends. She spares the time to introduce us to St. Sophia's boarding school with loving attention to class schedules and uniform, so that we're sitting alongside Lily. I I was on the verge with this one, finger on the trigger, because nothing happened for fully a half of Firespell, but Chloe Neill did it again. She's one of the few authors whose settings are as engaging as her characters. She's intimately familiar with Chicago, and by the end of the book we know the Loop as well as Lily and her friends. She spares the time to introduce us to St. Sophia's boarding school with loving attention to class schedules and uniform, so that we're sitting alongside Lily. It's all in the details and Neill peppers them economically throughout the novel -infodumps are never a problem with Neill, my word on it. Neill's strengths, as always, are her wit in commentary and especially dialogue. Her characters' script-worthy banter probably eat up only a few pages less than her exposition, if that, all together. I won't be surprised if Firespell's optioned for film. She's already fashioned an interesting wardrobe for the cast, described in a passing phrase because the author has an enviable fashion vocabulary. I didn't know they were called "baffled" jackets, but it's a data bank of uncommon, specific words, be they argot or descriptors, like that that allow her to describe a person or place in ten words or less and her care selecting them that allows her to leave a lasting impression. So yes, I am complimenting you on your diction, Ms. Neill, LOL. Her special care with language (e.g. she writes "The other’s still a frat boy in the worst connotation of the phrase" instead of "worst sense of the word," which is more instinctive but incorrect) suggests a genuine delight in a turn of phrase. Her pop culture references were engaging and fun without inundating the narrative. In general, she avoided repeating descriptors which keeps characters fresh and interesting. I appreciated that too. One gets tired of seeing "his cerulean eyes" again and again. Sometimes they're "indigo" and we also mention his dashing smile and so on. Ah, yes, did I mention the cute boys? Points for Michael Garcia and Jason Shepherd, also Derek and Sebastian and Daniel and before this becomes an awards speech, I want to say I expect to see Jason show his stuff in the next book-- show his magic, I mean. Er, nevermind, LOL. Also in the movie vein, she paints a scene pretty well. She establishes everyone's places in a scene, sometimes picks out some vivid imagery, and pauses on particular frames we've all seen in a blockbuster at some point, the girl falling to her knees as a big rock comes barreling towards her. She even describes the effects in a familiar way so they're easily imagined. The magic looks like a "green contact lens," LOL. Exposition as sparing as it is, however, these scenes actually move quickly, as they should. She keeps them exciting and gripping, unsettling where appropriate. The characters are unsettled where suitable and calm where suitable. These are reasonable girls and probably one of the better examples I've seen in the YA niche, and surprise of surprises, the heroine has a strong relationship with another female, which is rare in fantasy not surprisingly but an important aspect of the high school experience. It would be nice to nix the Mean Girls, but depicting interpersonal relationships with sensitivity is this author's strength, so she's ideally placed to write about Lily's growth as a junior in high school. I would say she's better at characters than plot, but the book did get exciting near the end and I'm assuming since we've already had the introductions that the next book won't take so long to get into the good stuff. So I'll be watching out for Hexbound , second book in the Dark Elite series. Don't look for a ton of angst and intensity. Her resolutions are a tiny bit neat but satisfying and tension continues in different ways.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Flannery

    This book takes about two seconds to read. It's miniature size is indicative of several things: (1) The plot is too hurried; (2) The love story is underdeveloped; (3) We don't learn enough about the characters; and (4) We have to wait for a lot of storylines to run their course through the series. In my two seconds (FINE, two hours) of reading this book, I did come to enjoy Lily and Scout's friendship. The aforementioned lacking love relationship was a big bummer for me, though. Jason sounds pret This book takes about two seconds to read. It's miniature size is indicative of several things: (1) The plot is too hurried; (2) The love story is underdeveloped; (3) We don't learn enough about the characters; and (4) We have to wait for a lot of storylines to run their course through the series. In my two seconds (FINE, two hours) of reading this book, I did come to enjoy Lily and Scout's friendship. The aforementioned lacking love relationship was a big bummer for me, though. Jason sounds pretty hot, but he was a douche for a lot of the book. Michael and Scout's snarky relationship was of much more interest. I wanted to like this book (and series) as much as I enjoyed Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampire series, which I devoured like it was made of an ice cream sundae. Sadly, I didn't, but I guess I will read the next one. *shrug*

  3. 3 out of 5

    elena

    2.5-3 stars. It was fun and everything but not that great. I would have liked it a lot better, had I read it five or six years ago.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies

    Lily Parker's parents are on sabbatical teaching philosophy in Germany, and as such, they've decided to send her to a super elite school for rich girls called St. Sophia's, in Chicago. There, she is the target of beautiful, rich girl bullies (aren't they all?), and makes a friend in the quirky, unconventional (sounds familiar?) Scout. Scout seems to be hiding some secrets of her own, and Lily soon finds out that she and her family are not what they seem. This is possibly one of the most confusing Lily Parker's parents are on sabbatical teaching philosophy in Germany, and as such, they've decided to send her to a super elite school for rich girls called St. Sophia's, in Chicago. There, she is the target of beautiful, rich girl bullies (aren't they all?), and makes a friend in the quirky, unconventional (sounds familiar?) Scout. Scout seems to be hiding some secrets of her own, and Lily soon finds out that she and her family are not what they seem. This is possibly one of the most confusing supernatural stories I've read. I like boarding schools, I like paranormals. I should like this book. I do not. After reading this book, I still have no idea what the hell is going on, and who are these people anyway? The secret society and what they do is so poorly explained, and there is a half-assed romance in the story that's not even worth following. I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and will read the second book in hopes that the story will improve. Right now it's a mess and a half. There is no characterization at all, no thoughts and motivation behind the character. Lily is left almost completely undescribed, and I guess she's a normal girl? Only I don't read books about normal girls, I live the life of one. What's the fun in books, if not escapism? I want some insight into the characters, dammit.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Allison ☾

    Okay, the story was a tad choppy and the dialogue was silly. BUT this book was refreshing to me in a couple of ways. I've read a good bit of YA (particularly urban/paranormal fantasy) where I absolutely loathe the main characters, especially the female characters. This was not the case here, and it was SO nice. The 2 main characters are Lily Parker and her best friend, Scout. (It annoyed me that there was no particular reason why she was nicknamed Scout? I think her real name was Millicent Green o Okay, the story was a tad choppy and the dialogue was silly. BUT this book was refreshing to me in a couple of ways. I've read a good bit of YA (particularly urban/paranormal fantasy) where I absolutely loathe the main characters, especially the female characters. This was not the case here, and it was SO nice. The 2 main characters are Lily Parker and her best friend, Scout. (It annoyed me that there was no particular reason why she was nicknamed Scout? I think her real name was Millicent Green or something.) These girls are not pushovers, not at the mercy of hormones, and they actually go to class. I read an entire YA paranormal boarding school series earlier this year where I'm convinced nobody went to class after their first week at the school. I'm not going to go into detail about the story because it's your run-of-the-mill girl goes to boarding school, discovers secret magical group, finally discovers she has powers of her own, and saves the day. It was a cute and fun read. I want to read the rest, but unfortunately my library does not have the last 2 books so I probably won't be finishing the series until I can borrow it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alethea A

    A couple things saved this from being a 3: 1) Scout! 2) ok, Lily. I kind of feel like Scout is the main character, and Lily the sidekick. 3) the Brat Pack... bratty as they are, they're not completely horrible. What leans it in the direction of 3 stars: 1) Mary-Sue potential. I know, I know! I tried not to say it. But it's looming like an albatross in there. Only sequels will tell. Full review pending.

  7. 5 out of 5

    A.E.

    Firespell started too slow for me. I thought it spent too much time on Lily getting to school and getting settled. Then we have to meet the typical brat pack of mean girls. Then we go through what the food is like and, blah, blah, blah. That stuff doesn't interest me. I'm an action girl so get on with it! Let me get this out there. My main complaint about Firespell is that the action started too late in the book. From the synopsis I thought we would be getting to the fighting and supernatural bei Firespell started too slow for me. I thought it spent too much time on Lily getting to school and getting settled. Then we have to meet the typical brat pack of mean girls. Then we go through what the food is like and, blah, blah, blah. That stuff doesn't interest me. I'm an action girl so get on with it! Let me get this out there. My main complaint about Firespell is that the action started too late in the book. From the synopsis I thought we would be getting to the fighting and supernatural beings much sooner. We didn't. However, when we did it became fun. Lily's friends are part of this elite group with special powers that they use to fight against other young people who want to use kids with powers for bad stuff. There's a werewolf thrown in but there isn't much about his were-ness in this book. And there weren't a bunch of demons and vampires so I was a bit disappointed about that. I imagine we'll get more of that stuff in the sequel. The main characters are fantastic. Lily is strong, smart and creative and her reactions to her situations ring true. She is going through an emotional roller coaster between being seemingly abandoned by her parents, finding out they have been lying to her, trying to fit in, finding out she's hanging out with a magical bunch, dealing with magically powered enemies, checking out a little romance, and finding out she's got some powers of her own. Her best friend Scout is fun, sassy, loyal and sarcastic, and while she is tough dealing with the supernatural punks, she has her own abandonment issues and a vulnerable side. The friendship between her and Lily is wonderful. Not perfect - they have their ups and downs - but real. The relationships were my favorite part of Firespell. The budding romances were realistic and not the 'fall madly in love and I will die for you at first sight' kind of stuff. When it gets going, Firespell is a great adventure. The ending is fun and exciting and certainly sets up the sequel. The final pages introduce a new character that should be an interesting addition for the subsequent books. I enjoyed the characters so much that I will be happy to read the next in the series, Hexbound, coming out January 2011. I wish this one didn't feel like a such a 'set up' book. I would have liked more paranormal and action but it was a good read that I recommend with the caveat that the action takes a while to get started. If you're willing to stick with it, and lots of folks don't mind a slower start, Firespell delivers a lot of fun and thrills with a dash of romance for spice!

  8. 3 out of 5

    Shera (Book Whispers)

    Firespell was definitely an addiction. It reminded me of Kelley Armstrong's YA series. Not that they're a like, just both very addicting. Firespell takes a slower pace then most UF books, letting you enjoy the world Neill has created. The beginning of the books really helps to establish Lily so the reader can connect with her. Getting a feel for her family life, and how even though they're dumping her for their sabbatical in Germany Lily understands and loves them. But it doesn't mean she can't Firespell was definitely an addiction. It reminded me of Kelley Armstrong's YA series. Not that they're a like, just both very addicting. Firespell takes a slower pace then most UF books, letting you enjoy the world Neill has created. The beginning of the books really helps to establish Lily so the reader can connect with her. Getting a feel for her family life, and how even though they're dumping her for their sabbatical in Germany Lily understands and loves them. But it doesn't mean she can't feel a little spited and sarcastic about it. Lily ends up being one of the most mature characters I've read. She thinks things through and takes things in very mature strides. She can concede a point, even if she feels she's in the right. Lily's maturity does not take away from her sarcastic charm, and I greatly appreciated that. She's still a teenager after all, so juvenile behavior is still a go. For some reason I though this book was about seeing when people would kick the bucket. Instead, to my delight and surprise, I'm introduced to the Dark Elite. People who at puberty get special powers, spell casting, powers over elements, and even gifts of the wolfy persuasion. When the Dark Elite get older their powers return back to the universe. Unfortunately power corrupts and some cling to it. The power eats away at the soul of the wielder unless they use the life force of other people. The Dark Elite who choose this life style are nicknamed Reapers. (Which just tickles me!) Those who choose to do the right and give up the powers are called Adepts. The cast of Firespell is pretty standard. Lily, is a nerdy-sarcastic-trendy lass who could probably be on the top of the food chain at school, but chooses the forces of nerdiness. Her punk/goth new BFF, Scout, is the misfit of the school who talks big, but is really a softy. Veronica is the evil blonde with the cash and rudeness to fit the role of Lily's rival. Neill doesn't waist time getting these characters into their roles, I like to think Neill's just skipping to the good stuff. The Mean Girl group is pretty standard, even leading up to Lily getting locked into a basement closet. (Which was really silly as the character saw it coming ad still fell into their girly trap.) The love interests are pretty basic too. A werewolf lad, and a hint of an Evil, handsome, Reaper who helps her out. Even with the slow pace we get a lot of action packed in. Lily's new powers, a rallying rescue, defying authority, mysteries about Lily's parents that could change her life forever, and private school fun. Bottom Line: While this book is clearly not a genius piece of work, it is addicting and very fun. The sarcastic humor was healing to the soul. Certain cliffhangers about Lily's parents (and the good or not Reaper) leaves readers in desperate need for the next book. I can not wait to see were Neill takes this series! Until then I'll be checking out her Chicgoland Vampire series. Sexual Content: An almost kiss scene, Neill keeps it to hand holding. (But I'm cheering for that kiss.)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Ford

    At least I made it through this Chloe Neill book. I gave up halfway through the first book, Some Girls Bite, her more famous series, Chicagoland Vampires. This book is definitely for a younger audience, and compared to many books out there that are meant for teenagers, this one actually has the correct content. Meaning no swaring, no sex and the idea that best friends are more important than other worldly things. I am actually rating this book higher than it deserves considering all its faults. At least I made it through this Chloe Neill book. I gave up halfway through the first book, Some Girls Bite, her more famous series, Chicagoland Vampires. This book is definitely for a younger audience, and compared to many books out there that are meant for teenagers, this one actually has the correct content. Meaning no swaring, no sex and the idea that best friends are more important than other worldly things. I am actually rating this book higher than it deserves considering all its faults. This book was horribly written. The main character is flat. Most the dialogue seems forced and false. The Head Mistress is awefully written! It really needed a bit more editing since characters often stand up twice or grab their bags twice. However, the story itself is good. It is a nice concept which I enjoyed. Lily's best friend Scout is well written and has the most personality, she has depth to her. The story is set in Chicago in an old boarding school, a setting I really enjoyed. The book has alot of mystery about it and sneaking around in the dark. It sort of reminded me of Nancy Drew, but Nancy Drew meets Magic. I'll read the next book because the story interests me, but I will be gritting my teeth through the writing, unless there is suddenly a major upgrade.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    No this book isn't original, no this book probably isn't the best written thing ever, but what do I know.. What I do know is that I enjoyed reading it. Lily & Scout are my kind of girls. Witty, snarky and a lot of fun.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kala

    What did I think of this book? Silly, boring, cliche. I've never read anything by this author before, but apparently she has a really popular vampire series. I can't comment on that series, having not read it, but this one just falls completely flat. The plot is so cliche in YA these days. Girl goes to boarding school where mean girls are mean to her and the quirky punk/goth girl becomes her BFF. Girl finds out she has magical powers and meets some magical powered guy and they fall in love while What did I think of this book? Silly, boring, cliche. I've never read anything by this author before, but apparently she has a really popular vampire series. I can't comment on that series, having not read it, but this one just falls completely flat. The plot is so cliche in YA these days. Girl goes to boarding school where mean girls are mean to her and the quirky punk/goth girl becomes her BFF. Girl finds out she has magical powers and meets some magical powered guy and they fall in love while fighting bad guys. That plot describes at least half a dozen YA paranormals I've read in the last year alone. Lily Parker is the main character here and she's sent to St. Sophia's boarding school in Chicago at age 16. Her first day she meets the goth girl - Scout (no reason for this particular nickname ever given). Scout stays out late at night and instead of just giving Lily a logical reason for this (like say, sneaking out to meet a boy?) she hedges around and acts all weird. So of course, Lily decides to follow her. She discovers that Scout likes to wander around the tunnels beneath the school at night and that there are dangerous things down there that apparently can't open doors. Lily questions Scout hardcore about everything but Scout won't tell her what's going on. Lily keeps investigating. Mean girls eventually "trick" Lily into going into these tunnels where they lock her in a room down there. Lucky for Lily, there happens to be a key right inside the room! She opens the door and oh, look! There's Scout getting chased by a hot blonde and a cute boy who shoots some kind of spell at Lily and nearly kills her. Lily wakes up in the hospital to find she's got a tattoo on her lower back and Scout tells her that she's part of a "rebel" group of teenagers who fight evil magic users. Jason (another part of their group) shows up at the hospital as well. He's super mysterious and has a secret that takes about five seconds to figure out. "I'm not like the others." ... When Jason looked up at me again, the color of his eyes had shifted to green and then to a silvered yellow, like those of a cat caught in the light. And there was something wolfish about his expression. Man, that secret was so hard to figure out! When Lily gets out of the hospital she decides to call her old BFF that she hasn't spoken to since she started boarding school and has barely thought about (and doesn't mention for the rest of the book). She's about to call the BFF when she thinks to herself what was I going to tell her? That I'd met some magical weirdos who'd managed to rope me into their shenanigans? Lily followed Scout into tunnels, grilled her about everything, wouldn't let it go, and the magical weirdos roped HER into it? Whatever Lily. As soon as Lily gets out of the hospital, the mean girls show up and offer to take her shopping. She's all "Well, I know they locked me in a basement and I almost got killed, but I really feel like being normal JUST FOR ONE DAY so SURE, let's go shopping!" I mean, you've lived a normal life for 16 years and have known about magic for less than 2 days... I totally understand the need to feel normal for just one day. I also would totally want to hang out with a bunch of bitchy mean girls who LOCKED ME IN A DAMN BASEMENT. 100% logical. A few days later she's BFF's with Scout again. She goes to a meeting of the rebel teenagers and Jason pulls her aside for a talk. They talk for about one page and it was pretty boring (Jason basically just explains how dangerous things are for their small rebel group of teenagers fighting this larger group of evil magical teenagers). After this incredibly boring conversation, Lily thinks to herself: The moment I'd shared with Jason had been so incredibly phenominal, the universe had to equalize. Seriously? They didn't make out. They didn't have some profound amazing conversation. They said a couple sentences to each other that were basically reiterations of conversation Lily had with other characters a few pages earlier. A few pages later, Mean Girls strike again! They steal Lily's file from the headmistress' office! Lily gets it from them and finds out her parents are doing some sort of scientific research instead of philosophical research like she originally though. OOOOO! So. Lily and Scout have this stolen file. They decide their only two options are to give the file back to the Mean Girls (Uh, what?) or break in to the headmistress' office to return it. They can't just give it to the headmistress and explain what happened because that would make the Mean Girls hate them. I...what...the... fuck... ? Ok. Moving along. Lily finds out she has the magical power of... TURNING ON LIGHTS!! ... Moving along. Scout gets kidnapped by evil bad guys! Lily has to convince all the rebel teens to go save her! Fortunately they have a guy on their team who can "speak with architecture." Somehow this translates into "he can find Scout in 5 seconds." They go to the build where Scout is being kept and evil bad guys show up. The good guys are all "OMG WE ARE DOOMED!" Everyone stands there and looks at each other. Lily has a sudden lightbulb moment and goes "everyone crouch down!!" So the good guys crouch. She makes the room turn green and does a firespell of her own. All the standing up bad guys get knocked out. I don't know why they didn't just crouch since apparently firespell only works on standing up people, but whatever. Totally anticlimactic and silly, but YAY Lily saves the day! She then almost makes out with werewolf Jason, but then gets interrupted because their new rebel boss man gets an important phone call. "Saddle up, kids," he said. "We've got an assignment." "We'll finish this later," Jason whispered. "I promise." I believed him, so I offered him a wink, and we rejoined the others. I took my place at their sides, Scout squeezing my hand when I stood beside her, ready to take on evil in the Second City. The end! Can't you just see them all lined up in super hero outfits, walking together looking like badasses ready to fight crime?

  12. 3 out of 5

    Misty

    In Firespell, Chloe Neill expands on her take of underworld, paranormal Chicago (see the Chicagoland Vampires series). This time, Neill takes a foray into YA with the first book of her Dark Elite series, set in a Chicago boarding school where all is not as it seems. Of course. Lily Parker is ready to start her junior year of high school in Sagamore, New York, when her parents inform her that they are going on a research sabbatical in Germany for two years -- and sending her to an elite boarding sc In Firespell, Chloe Neill expands on her take of underworld, paranormal Chicago (see the Chicagoland Vampires series). This time, Neill takes a foray into YA with the first book of her Dark Elite series, set in a Chicago boarding school where all is not as it seems. Of course. Lily Parker is ready to start her junior year of high school in Sagamore, New York, when her parents inform her that they are going on a research sabbatical in Germany for two years -- and sending her to an elite boarding school in Chicago for the remainder of high school. Lily is packed off and installed at St. Sophia's School for Girls, in a new big city where she doesn't know a soul. That is, until she meets Scout Green, her slightly odd suitemate, who is prone to sneaking off in the night and seems to be harboring a secret. A secret that has to do with whatever's in the basement of the school. A secret that is dangerous, maybe even deadly. A secret that suddenly seems to include Lily herself, in ways she never could have imagined. What can I say about Firespell? It's not something that hasn't been done before; there are plenty of boarding school stories out there, and a good chunk of those stories have a magical slant with a new kid who finds herself in the middle of some magical feud, or the target of powerful mean girls, etc., etc., only to discover that she plays a bigger part in the battle than she thought. It's been done. And it will continue to be done, because for some unknown reason, we all seem enthralled by the idea, myself included. I mean, hell, I read all of the Gemma Doyle series, even though it's icky long and I didn't like it from page one. Firespell may not have been anything unusual, but it was certainly fun. Lily was a fine lead, but her friend and suitemate, Scout, stole the show. Scout was fun and quirky, and yes, I may be a little biased because her dorm room is overflowing with books which are organized by color. If you've ever been in my room (you haven't, and you never will), you would know that this makes her a girl after my own ♥. There was a bit of a mystery to the mystery. You know what I mean, right? You know something's coming, and you think you've got it pegged down, but there is a little doubt in your head. It was like that. It didn't go quite where I expected it. And Neill gave herself plenty of room to grow in the series. We get hints of other characters, but she judiciously avoided giving everything away in book one, so we'll get to explore them further as the series goes on, which is a good thing. A couple of them are swoon-worthy boys, if you're into that kind of thing. (You know you are; stop blushing.) There were some drawbacks, of course, aside from the somewhat cookie-cutter, slightly melodramatic plot, and these things were just sort of pet-peevish for me. Those of you familiar with Neill's adult Chicagoland Vampires series will know that there's a very collegiate, sorority/fraternity feel to it, with the different vampire sects being divided into 'houses' (think grown up Gryffindor), with house colors and coats of arms, and such. Firespell has a very similar feel, which is to be expected, as it is set in a school. I didn't have a problem with that, as such, though it makes me wonder if she's limited in her scope. What did bother me was the classification of the different magical beings in the book as JV and Varsity -- and then the continual repetition of these terms. Now, it's one thing to make an off-handed reference, but it just seems a little silly and thin when it becomes an actual element in the story. I'm not sure how to explain this without giving something away, but I just felt it was weak, and more so, irritating. Along the same lines, Neill seems to get stuck in these random patterns of weird word repetition, and it throws off the story. Now, this isn't a huge issue, and some people won't even notice it, but it's a pet peeve of mine because I believe that authors have a responsibility to put such insane amounts of thought into their work that they eliminate these little nuisances that break the reader out of the flow of the story. And after being a writing tutor for 5 years, these things jump out at me, and I can just feel them there, lurking, trying to drive me insane. I'm just saying. Perhaps my biggest pet peeve, though, is that Neill tries too hard at witty banter. She is funny, and when it works, it works. But she forces it too often, and sometimes, whether it's funny or not, it just makes the dialogue seem fake and the characters less believable. She needs to trust herself more to carry the story without one liners. Or to learn that not every person in this world is the one-liner type, so not every character should be, either. With a little more attention to natural sounding dialogue and character thoughts, I wouldn't have that much to complain about in Neill's writing. None of these drawbacks, however, would keep me from recommending this book. They aren't constant, they just crop up occasionally throughout, and they don't outweigh the book as a fun, fast, light read. So yes, Firespell has been done before. And it's fairly easy to see where it's going; nothing ever really came as a shock, and I doubt anything will as the series goes on. It may lean suspiciously towards the melodramatic, and it may have it's flaws in the style of the writing. That being said, it's still a fun read, and if you have to read one boarding school, supernatural story, why not make it this one? ps. I adore the cover.

  13. 3 out of 5

    Marguerite (Lady RH) ❀

    I really liked the first few books of the Chicagoland Vampires series, and I wanted to read young-adult-supernatural-boarding-school books (and still want), so I tried this one. And yes, I just tried. Because I DNF 50% (about). And I don't even know what to review about. It was a very confusing book and I felt the characters were really not developped at all. Halfway through the book I finally dropped it because I still didn't know anything about the MC. Lily right ? I can't tell you about the sto I really liked the first few books of the Chicagoland Vampires series, and I wanted to read young-adult-supernatural-boarding-school books (and still want), so I tried this one. And yes, I just tried. Because I DNF 50% (about). And I don't even know what to review about. It was a very confusing book and I felt the characters were really not developped at all. Halfway through the book I finally dropped it because I still didn't know anything about the MC. Lily right ? I can't tell you about the story, because I don't even know what it was... Oopsie. I probably just didn't do my bit, but I'm not trying it again.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Miss Bookiverse

    I stopped after 50 pages. I feel like I've gotten too old for these kind of books. The characters are all stereotypes (punky/gothicy best friend, blonde mean girl and her posse) and the wannabe-snarky voice of the heroine annoys me. Also the whole premise seems so unbelievable (parents leaving their 16 year old daughter alone in the States because they'd rather spent time doing studies abroad. And they don't even let her stay in her usual environment, she has to change states to go to a special I stopped after 50 pages. I feel like I've gotten too old for these kind of books. The characters are all stereotypes (punky/gothicy best friend, blonde mean girl and her posse) and the wannabe-snarky voice of the heroine annoys me. Also the whole premise seems so unbelievable (parents leaving their 16 year old daughter alone in the States because they'd rather spent time doing studies abroad. And they don't even let her stay in her usual environment, she has to change states to go to a special boarding school).

  15. 3 out of 5

    Vinaya

    I've had Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampires series in my TBR pile for a while now. After reading Firespell, I'm thinking I just might give it a try. After inauspiciously beginning the new year with The Candidates, it was a relief to know that I could and did move on to better things. There's nothing spectacularly new in Firespell, the first in the Dark Elite series. And may I add, by the way, how hard it's getting to find a good stand-alone book these days? And the ones I do find, end up sounding I've had Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampires series in my TBR pile for a while now. After reading Firespell, I'm thinking I just might give it a try. After inauspiciously beginning the new year with The Candidates, it was a relief to know that I could and did move on to better things. There's nothing spectacularly new in Firespell, the first in the Dark Elite series. And may I add, by the way, how hard it's getting to find a good stand-alone book these days? And the ones I do find, end up sounding incomplete and unfinished. You'll know what I'm talking about if you've read Robin McKinley's Sunshine. That book was an exercise in frustration, I tell you! In any case, I've kind of given up expecting the new, the unique or even the well-thought-out in Young Adult fiction. Most audiences don't seem to expect it, in any case. If books like Hush Hush and The Candidates get rave reviews and fan followings, there is no hope for literary greatness in this genre. But while Neill may not be this year's candidate for the Man Booker, or even the Hugo, Firespell is a charming little read. Lily Parker has been sent to boarding school while her parents are on a 2-year sabbatical to Germany. St. Sophia's School for girls, a converted convent for rich brats, is gloomy and mysterious, with convoluted underground tunnels and strange monsters lurking above- and underground. Lily almost instantly makes friends with the school misfit and her suitemate, Scout Green. Almost as instantly as she alienates the schools rich-and-popular brat pack. A little snooping around, and she finds out the reason for her best friend's regular disappearances, the secret life of the boy she's crushing on, and the story behind the hollow-eyed girl who's threatening her friends. But all is not as it seems in Lily Parker's 'normal' life. Why have her parents been lying to her all her life? What secrets does her headmistress hold? What is the truth behind Lily's own powers? Firespell creates more questions than it answers! First off, I liked Lily Parker. She is one of those heroines who is adventurous and spunky without coming off as either an adrenaline junkie or TSTL. Even her minor meltdown as she discovers her own powers is understandable and sympathy-worthy. I also appreciated the fact that the boarding school was in the Loop, in downtown Chicago, instead of in a dark, mysterious, isolated Gothic structure in the middle of a forest, halfway up a mountain, in the middle of nowhere. I also really liked her relationship with Scout. Scout's character is well-thought out, and I'm guessing Neill plans to flesh it out further into the series, so I'm satisfied with the glimpse I've been provided now. However, these character-glimpses are also my main problem with the book. Firespell is more like a teaser than an actual book. Everybody has a mystery, nobody's mystery is fully sorted out and there are way too many questions, which is going to make the next book something of an encyclopedia. However, considering that Chloe Neill managed to make Firespell as light as a meringue while still retaining the seriousness of the storyline, I am looking forward to Hexbound. But I'm really, really hoping the thing with Sebastien doesn't develop into a triangle. Don't do it, Chloe, don't fall into the triangle trap!

  16. 3 out of 5

    Kelly

    There are YA books that translate well to an adult audience, and there are those that are best appreciated by their actual target audience. I suspect Firespell is one of the latter. I found it an average read, but I think I’d have really liked it at the age of thirteen or so. Case in point: Here is how magic works in the Dark Elite series. If someone has magical talent, that talent manifests at puberty. From puberty to the age of twenty-five, the magic is a really cool enhancement. But after the There are YA books that translate well to an adult audience, and there are those that are best appreciated by their actual target audience. I suspect Firespell is one of the latter. I found it an average read, but I think I’d have really liked it at the age of thirteen or so. Case in point: Here is how magic works in the Dark Elite series. If someone has magical talent, that talent manifests at puberty. From puberty to the age of twenty-five, the magic is a really cool enhancement. But after the age of twenty-five, the person must give up magic, or else it becomes a corrupting (and addictive) force. The people who don’t give up their magic, called Reapers, have to steal the life force of young people in order to keep exercising their powers. I keep thinking about this as a metaphor, and about how well it fits the way I saw the world when I was a teenager. I would look at adults back then and it always seemed that some of them had given up some essential “spark” they’d once had, and that others got a kick out of making sure none of the younger generation got to have any fun. Moving on to the plot, Firespell is a novel in the “teen goes to boarding school and discovers magic” vein. Lily, the heroine, is sent to a posh girls’ boarding school in Chicago while her parents travel to Germany for research. She quickly finds a friend in quirky Scout, whose mysterious nocturnal excursions arouse Lily’s curiosity. She makes enemies, too, in the form of a trio of “mean girls.” When she learns that Scout’s secret is that she’s part of a team of magical adepts, her life changes forever… The friendships are great; I really loved Scout and sweet, nerdy Lesley. I mostly liked Lily, too, though she had a moment about halfway through the book where she did something both unwise and insensitive, and had me mad at her for a while. Another strength of the book is Chloe Neill’s portrayal of Chicago. It’s one of my favorite cities and I had a strong sense of being there while reading the book. There’s a romance, too, though it’s a bit skimpy. Lily seems mostly interested in Jason because he’s good-looking, and the two of them spend way too much time snubbing each other. An older reader may find this annoying. FirespellFirespell is just a beginning; Neill introduces a lot of ideas and doesn’t explore them all here. For that, you’ll have to continue on to the next book, Hexbound.

  17. 3 out of 5

    Kim

    Firespell is the first book in a new series, the Dark Elite, by Chloe Neill. It's a fun read, albeit one which suffers a bit from a common problem with the first book in series---it spends a lot of time setting up the premise (an intriguing one, to be fair) and not as much actually moving the plot forward. Which means the second and subsequent volumes may hold my interest a bit more. Lily Parker lives in upstate New York with her parents, professors of philosophy. When the senior Parkers take a s Firespell is the first book in a new series, the Dark Elite, by Chloe Neill. It's a fun read, albeit one which suffers a bit from a common problem with the first book in series---it spends a lot of time setting up the premise (an intriguing one, to be fair) and not as much actually moving the plot forward. Which means the second and subsequent volumes may hold my interest a bit more. Lily Parker lives in upstate New York with her parents, professors of philosophy. When the senior Parkers take a sabbatical in Germany, Lily does not accompany them, but is instead sent to St. Sophia's boarding school in Chicago. While there, Lily runs in with a "brat pack" of snooty mean girl-types; she also becomes good friends with her roommate, Scout, who has a habit of sneaking out late at night. It turns out that Scout is an Adept, one of a magically gifted group of youngsters fighting against the Reapers, who preserve their magic past its sell by date by stealing the energy of others. Lily wants to join Scout and the other Adepts, but can she help them when she has no magic of her own? There are a lot of things to like about this story, despite its flaws. I really liked the relationship between Lily and Scout, and the way Lily stood up to her bratty classmates. Neill does a good job of depicting the banter between her teenage characters, and it's fun to read, but it also slows the plot down. My synopsis doesn't go any further than the blurb on the back of the book does, yet by the time you know this much, you're already at the middle of the book. I was also rather lukewarm about a romance that doesn't quite manifest itself, but maybe teenage readers would appreciate this element more than I did. I was reading for the supernatural element, and was dismayed by how long it took to arrive. And my final quibble---another one which may improve as the series goes on---was with the number of characters who were introduced and left to flounder. I had a hard enough time keeping the brat pack straight; when you get into introducing the members of the Enclave, the situation became quite hopeless. As the series goes on, I hope more of them will gain purpose and personality, but right now they are just more names and faces to keep straight. I'd call Firespell a fun read, a cute introduction to a series with promise, and I hope in later installments the wrinkles will be ironed out.

  18. 3 out of 5

    Donna

    Rating: 3.5 starsChloe Neill has fast become one of my favorite writers so when I saw she had a new book coming out, I just knew I had to pick it up. Plus, I thought Firespell was such an enjoyable read that I'd share it with my 13 year old stepdaughter, Jessica. And I figured it would be a neat idea to have a review here by a person in who is in the targeted audience for this book. Below my ramblings is Jessica's thoughts on Firespell.I liked that this story is based in the bustling, windy city Rating: 3.5 starsChloe Neill has fast become one of my favorite writers so when I saw she had a new book coming out, I just knew I had to pick it up. Plus, I thought Firespell was such an enjoyable read that I'd share it with my 13 year old stepdaughter, Jessica. And I figured it would be a neat idea to have a review here by a person in who is in the targeted audience for this book. Below my ramblings is Jessica's thoughts on Firespell.I liked that this story is based in the bustling, windy city of Chicago in an old gothic style school. It was so easy to imagine the numerous tunnels running under Chicago, filled with things unimaginable. This set the atmosphere for me, giving everything a since of old mysteries waiting to be discovered. The story itself had many interesting and mysterious twists that keep me interested. For the most part I enjoyed reading Firespell. The beginning half of this book moved at a slower pace than I would've liked but the last half picked up the pace with an exciting ending. And there is twist to plot about the use of magic itself, that I'm very curious as to how it will pan out in the end for all the characters involved.Again the best part of a Chloe Neill novel for me was the characters. I love Chloe's ability to create companion characters that you can't help but feel the same passion and closeness as you do for the main characters in a story.This first novel has certainly laid the ground work for the next in the Dark Elite series and I look forward to seeing where it goes. Jessica’s Thoughts: Rating: 5 starsI have to say Lily was one of my favorite characters. If she's being challenged by the brat pack or even a bunch of monster she doesn't back down even if she wants to. Scout was another one of my favorite characters. She was very unique and I just couldn't wait to see what funny thing she had in store for me next.There aren't a lot of books that make me want to read them over and over again but Firespell has me hooked in like a fish. If I could I'd read it again and again until I knew every line.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Wardrip

    Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo.com Lily's parents just broke the news that they're taking a two-year sabbatical in Munich, Germany - and that she's not invited. Immediately, Lily has visions of staying with Ashley while going through the SATs, college application process, and the prom. Her daydream fades as her mom breaks the news about a boarding school in Chicago. The first day at St. Sophia's raises questions for Lily. She's so unsure why she's enrolled. Most girls have been comin Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo.com Lily's parents just broke the news that they're taking a two-year sabbatical in Munich, Germany - and that she's not invited. Immediately, Lily has visions of staying with Ashley while going through the SATs, college application process, and the prom. Her daydream fades as her mom breaks the news about a boarding school in Chicago. The first day at St. Sophia's raises questions for Lily. She's so unsure why she's enrolled. Most girls have been coming here for years. She does connect with one of her suite mates, who could be her new best friend. But Scout has a secret, and it involves sneaking off until the middle of the night. Scout's not about to fill Lily in just yet, so unable to hide her curiosity, Lily follows her one night down into the depths of the school in a maze of twists and turns. She stays behind a locked doorway until she hears Scout on the other side. Lily has tons more questions that Scout refuses to answer in order to keep her safe. Trouble follows Lily around, and before long she falls victim to a prank and ends up locked in a room in the basement. By the time she figures out how to unlock the door, she runs into Scout and two boys running for their lives. Together, they race for the door to escape, but Lily get hit with magic and goes down. She wakes up in a hospital and forces Scout to spill the secret. Once she finds out, she wishes she didn't know quite so much. Chloe Neill starts off her YA debut with a bang and never looks back. The mysterious school, bratty classmates, secret societies, and one best friend combine together to make an awesome start to a new paranormal series.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cherry Mischievous

    The world building is a slow build-up to a great architecture. The end result was beautiful and believable. I would give it a 4.5 out of 5. The story-telling quality was good and I would give it a 3.5 out of 5. The character development was superb and as a reader, I can connect with Lily and Scout. Here is the kicker: Towards the end, the good guys team and the bad guys team had a drama talk which read like a badly scripted movie. The book is trying to make me believe that teenagers (raging hormon The world building is a slow build-up to a great architecture. The end result was beautiful and believable. I would give it a 4.5 out of 5. The story-telling quality was good and I would give it a 3.5 out of 5. The character development was superb and as a reader, I can connect with Lily and Scout. Here is the kicker: Towards the end, the good guys team and the bad guys team had a drama talk which read like a badly scripted movie. The book is trying to make me believe that teenagers (raging hormones, emotions and all) would just stand around and watch newbie friend exchange info with the bad guys team leader in a high-stress rescue situation. WTF! In my experience, teenagers jumps feet first and bounce with energy. Specially with all that adrenaline pumping in their veins having to do a rescue stint. I therefore find these scenes inconsistent. And this is not the only "inconsistent scenario" in the book. So, "suspension of disbelief" would have to drop to zero. That scene there, needs a lot of work. It also tells me that this author has a lot of imagination but little true understanding of teenagers. From my point of view as a reader, if somebody wants to write YA, he/she needs to understand, or at least research, teen behaviour because it'll show. Overall, I would rate this book a 2 out of 5. Borrow this book from the library rather than waste your money buying it. Cherry www.cherrymischievous.com

  21. 3 out of 5

    papalbina

    There are parts in this book that are ok, the main character and her friend are a bit interesting and some mysteries kept me reading, but mostly this book is ridiculous. The main character arrives at this boarding school in Chicago while her parents take a 2-year trip to Germany to do research. She's mopping around about her bad luck for two seconds until she mets her new BFF, a girl who appears to have secrets. Well, the relationship between these two is nice and funny, but a bit far-fetched. W There are parts in this book that are ok, the main character and her friend are a bit interesting and some mysteries kept me reading, but mostly this book is ridiculous. The main character arrives at this boarding school in Chicago while her parents take a 2-year trip to Germany to do research. She's mopping around about her bad luck for two seconds until she mets her new BFF, a girl who appears to have secrets. Well, the relationship between these two is nice and funny, but a bit far-fetched. Why?, you'll ask. They become BFFs almost instantly. For the plot, that is important but, come on! But not only that friendship feels rushed... Everything in this plot is rushed. I understand that the book is very short and there's no way to develop the subplots or the characters in a better way, but you can introduce them a little bit better, and not as if a chunk of an unidentified substance, supposedly eatable, has just landed on your plate (do u get the image? I didn't have much sleep this night to be writing in English at 8 am xD). Anyway, in the end the plot and the mystery and who the bad guys are were a bit too much of the eyes-rolling type (especially because the explanations were mostly WTF), but I might read the second book only to know what the mystery surrounding the MC's parents is xD Let see (said the blind man)! :)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I loved this book so much, I bought it a while ago and only recently decided to read it, and I'm glad because I just love Lily and Scout, their relationship is so great and funny. I never wanted the book to end. Lily's sarcasm is perfect and I cannot help but laugh. I also think Jason is just beautiful. I don't want to write more incase I confuse this book with the second one because I have already read it and it was just as good at this one in my opinion. I cannot wait to read the third one.

  23. 3 out of 5

    Tammie

    It was a fun read. In some ways it is sort of a cross between Evernight and The Mortal Instruments. I'll definitely read the next book in the series (I'm assuming there will be another one).

  24. 3 out of 5

    Evelyn Cuellar

    Reseña completa en Books FD Hechizo de Fuego es una novela que empecé sin expectativas y aunque tiene sus buenos o malos momentos, fue una lectura “entretenida” y que es cierto me falta profundidad, desarrollo en muchos aspectos, que la narración no se pierda en detalles tontos de una adolescente ingenua, enamorada y que las escenas de magia, acción, fueran más extensas ya que me parece se soluciona las cosas demasiado rápido y hay escenas que siento muy largas que no me aportan nada, pero tambié Reseña completa en Books FD Hechizo de Fuego es una novela que empecé sin expectativas y aunque tiene sus buenos o malos momentos, fue una lectura “entretenida” y que es cierto me falta profundidad, desarrollo en muchos aspectos, que la narración no se pierda en detalles tontos de una adolescente ingenua, enamorada y que las escenas de magia, acción, fueran más extensas ya que me parece se soluciona las cosas demasiado rápido y hay escenas que siento muy largas que no me aportan nada, pero también hay que destacar que hay diálogos divertidos, que aunque ya no estoy en ese momento en que me enamore de adolescentes, o las niñatas me desesperen, pero poniéndome en situación aunque me desesperan y más la prota, es que en general son personajes lindos, que es una historia para mi, bien hilada y contada, que la pluma de la autora es fluida y sencilla y que usa las descripciones justas para ambientarnos, que amé la portada, y sí, peca de ser muy juvenil, que quizá por lo mismo se pierde lo urban fantasy en momentos, pero por lo menos a mi me entretuvo y distrajo después de algunas lecturas intensas de amores nada fáciles, y cumplió… una lectura para pasar el rato sin complicaciones.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dark Faerie Tales

    Quick & Dirty: A solid start to a new series with magical world-building, a touch of wicked humor, and lurking danger. Opening Sentence: They were gathered around a conference table in a high-rise, eight men and women, no one under the age of sixty-five, all of them wealthy beyond measure. The Review: Lily Parker is just your average middle class teenager. Her life in upstate New York is drastically changed when her parents decide to go on a two year sabbatical to conduct research at a German U Quick & Dirty: A solid start to a new series with magical world-building, a touch of wicked humor, and lurking danger. Opening Sentence: They were gathered around a conference table in a high-rise, eight men and women, no one under the age of sixty-five, all of them wealthy beyond measure. The Review: Lily Parker is just your average middle class teenager. Her life in upstate New York is drastically changed when her parents decide to go on a two year sabbatical to conduct research at a German University. Lily is devastated when her parents tell her that she will have to attend an elite boarding school in Chicago. Naturally, when Lilly arrives at St. Sophia’s, she’s confronted with your typical “mean girls” scenario. They’re also affectionally known as The Brat Pack. However, Lily makes fast friends with her new roommate, Scout. Lily knows that Scout is into “something” because she’s always disappearing late at night. When Lily decides to do some investigating on her own, she inadvertently gets caught up in a magical war taking place beneath the city of Chicago. The book starts out pretty slow, but ultimately I was invested in the outcome. I wanted to see what happened to the characters and see what mysteries were revealed. Lily is certainly a compelling character. She struggles with her new environment and with issues of parental abandonment. I really enjoyed the interaction between Lilly and Scout, which felt very authentic. The offbeat humor that they share is very endearing. In contrast, I felt that Jason’s character lacked both depth and character development. He seemed like an afterthought. I never felt as if he had chemistry or an emotional connection with Lily. Otherwise, the vivid secondary characters hold plenty of promise. The mythos surrounding the Reapers and Dark Elite powers is intriguing. I was left with a few questions, which I imagine will be addressed in the next installment. Overall, Firespell is a solid entry into a new series. I definitely want to learn more about this multilayered world. Ms. Neill delivers a vivid setting with a mix of danger and secrets. It will be interesting to read the events that unfold and what’s revealed in the next installment. Notable Scene: The floor rumbled beneath me again, and I heard a growl, a roar, like the scream of an angry animal. I heard shuffling, the sounds of fighting, but I could do nothing but lie there, my body spasming as pain and fire and heart raced through my limbs. I blinked at the colors that danced before my eyes, the world-or the portions of the floor and room that I could see from my sprawled out position on the floor-covered by a green haze. FTC Advisory: Penguin provided me with a copy of Firespell . No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. In addition, I don’t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.

  26. 5 out of 5

    OpenBookSociety.com

    For author Chloe Neill’s debut into the world of Young Adult fiction, I must say she has knocked it out of the ballpark! Firespell is one of the BEST Young Adult novels out there (in my humble opinion)! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book! The characters are developed well. The pacing of the story is perfect, beginning at medium speed then throwing you forward, into one hell of an adventure! The descriptions are just enough to help you capture the story without feeling overloaded or as if the author is t For author Chloe Neill’s debut into the world of Young Adult fiction, I must say she has knocked it out of the ballpark! Firespell is one of the BEST Young Adult novels out there (in my humble opinion)! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book! The characters are developed well. The pacing of the story is perfect, beginning at medium speed then throwing you forward, into one hell of an adventure! The descriptions are just enough to help you capture the story without feeling overloaded or as if the author is trying too hard to impress you. The humor in Firespell was just AWESOME! Sarcasm on pretty much every page which made me feel right at home with these characters and their story. Scout and Lily are wonderful female leads young girls can look up to. Scout is spunky, sharp minded, quick with her tongue, and straight forward. She isn’t afraid to stand up for herself or others. She also has a quiet vulnerability which makes Scout both strong and beautiful. Lily is laid back, open minded and open hearted, bold when she needs to be, and a true friend. Both Scout and Lily are sarcastic and the friendship they share reminded me of my best friend Bridget and myself. It’s honest and genuine. They don’t ever try to impress each other, they just let each other be themselves without restrictions, great lesson for young people to learn (even some a little older *wink*). Michael and Jason are great male leads, even though you don’t get to see them as much as I wish. They are both dripping with HOTNESS wrapped in SEXY! Jason was my favorite though. He is sweet, honest, and mischievous. If Jason was real I’m pretty sure there would be a lot of girls running after him (this one included hehe). All of the secondary characters are also well developed. You get to see each personality and don’t feel like any of the characters were thrown into the story to fill a space in the plot. The plot itself is loads of fun! Wonderful to read a new take on the world of magic. There wasn’t once I was bored in this story and had to fight myself to put it down so I could actually take of other things I needed to do. But as soon as I was done, I was jumping back in for more! I love that there was no sex or drugs or vulgarity. Chloe Neill proves a GREAT book geared for young adults can be written without insulting their intelligence and without the need of following a so called “trend” (most young adult novels now a days of have WAY too much sex, drugs, useless violence, etc in them to be considered not just suitable for young adults but good in general). If you haven’t read Firespell GO BUY IT!! This is one purchase you will most DEFINITELY be happy you made! And the sequel, Hexbound, comes out on January 4th, 2011. Can’t wait!! brough to youby OBS staffer Dawn

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lori (Pure Imagination)

    Lily is expecting her junior year of high school to be normal. How can it be anything but normal in her small town of Sagamore New York. Lily's parents have other ideas. When they get the opportunity of a lifetime--to do research in Germany for two years--they send Lily to boarding school. Yes, you heard right, boarding school. Snotty rich girls, plaid skirts, headmistresses and all. How can it get any worse? Lily is about to find out. In a genre laden with boarding school dramas how can one poss Lily is expecting her junior year of high school to be normal. How can it be anything but normal in her small town of Sagamore New York. Lily's parents have other ideas. When they get the opportunity of a lifetime--to do research in Germany for two years--they send Lily to boarding school. Yes, you heard right, boarding school. Snotty rich girls, plaid skirts, headmistresses and all. How can it get any worse? Lily is about to find out. In a genre laden with boarding school dramas how can one possibly stand out? Ask Chloe Neill. She did an excellent job of making Firespell stand out above all the others. How, you may ask. By writing exceptionally interesting fun characters. Lily and Scout were definitely my favorite part of the book and definitely two of my favorite characters I have read in a long time. The banter between the two was laugh out loud funny at times. They were witty and intelligent as opposed to airheahed and dense. They were just an all around hoot to read about! Not to mention all the great side characters. From the snotty girls to the hot guys, they were all exceptionally well written. The premise of the Dark Elite was very intriguing. I always love books where there is an array of powers and not just vampires or werewolves. I can't wait for the second installment to learn more about everyone's different powers and the Reapers. This one definitely leaves you wanting more! All in all Firespell is a must read for any paranormal junkie! Chloe Neill is a great new voice in YA. http://www.pureimaginationblog.com/

  28. 5 out of 5

    xtina

    I expected more from Chloe Neill A huge fan of Chicagoland Vampires, I was thrilled when I heard Chloe Neill had started a new series for young adults. I promptly ordered Firespell on my Kindle and sat down for what I was sure would be a delightful few hours distraction from the agony of waiting for Richelle Mead's Spirit Bound (which was FANTASTIC, by the way). Several pages in, my thrill promptly died. The plot in this thing was painfully predictable. The characters lacked the pizazz of the Chic I expected more from Chloe Neill A huge fan of Chicagoland Vampires, I was thrilled when I heard Chloe Neill had started a new series for young adults. I promptly ordered Firespell on my Kindle and sat down for what I was sure would be a delightful few hours distraction from the agony of waiting for Richelle Mead's Spirit Bound (which was FANTASTIC, by the way). Several pages in, my thrill promptly died. The plot in this thing was painfully predictable. The characters lacked the pizazz of the Chicagoland Vamps. Where is the steamy chemistry? Where is the spunk? The intrigue? The main character, whose name I cannot even remember, she bored me so much, was entirely one dimensional. I barely cared whether she lived or died. Her punk/goth best friend could have been interesting if she managed to transcend her stereotype, but alas, she did not. As for the male characters, blargh. Booooooring. Mopey blue eyes and a werewolf secret are not enough to create a compelling character. Give me banter, give me depth of character, charisma! - and I will read forever. Neill is on the right track with Eric of Chicagoland Vampires...and I guess it's possible that the male leads in this new series will eventually develop into interesting people as the series progresses. I'm just not sure I have the motivation to continue reading to find out...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Holli

    This one has an odd rating system. On one hand it was really really bad but on the other hand it was pretty fun. This is a very slow paced story about two girls who become bff's at a boarding school where "something" supernatural happens outside those walls. We don't find out what that something is until about halfway thru the book which is pretty anti-climatic. Dare I say A touch boring even? Nothing much happens at all until the 80% mark. Yet...I liked it. I lovr stories about boarding schools. This one has an odd rating system. On one hand it was really really bad but on the other hand it was pretty fun. This is a very slow paced story about two girls who become bff's at a boarding school where "something" supernatural happens outside those walls. We don't find out what that something is until about halfway thru the book which is pretty anti-climatic. Dare I say A touch boring even? Nothing much happens at all until the 80% mark. Yet...I liked it. I lovr stories about boarding schools. I always wanted to go to one when I was a student. This story has this in spades. A lot of it is her daily life at school which I enjoyed. I am awfully sick with the cold and flu so this book was about perfect to read. It makes it a little hard to finish a trilogy since so little happens and the logic of this world is kijnd of confusing and irrelevant at times. The characters in the "secret group" are very shadowy and not fully formed. So, u know the facts. Make the decision for yourself whether u migjt like the book or not. Happy reading! ----------Update Not going to finish series bcz I have found out that none of my questions will be answered in the 3rd book. The authors website stated that there are no plans for a 4th book at this time. The 3rd was published 2012. It is now 2105.....sooo.....I doubt there will be anymore.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    FIRESPELL, a paranormal mystery/urban fantasy, is the first in a new series of books by Chloe Neill. I haven't read anything by this author before but I am impressed. It has a great storyline, likeable characters and well-written relationships. Nothing pretentious, it is just a smooth easy read. I believe it is aimed at teens and young adults but older people should enjoy it also. Lily Parker, sixteen and from upper NY is shipped off to an all-girls private school in Chicago while her parents are FIRESPELL, a paranormal mystery/urban fantasy, is the first in a new series of books by Chloe Neill. I haven't read anything by this author before but I am impressed. It has a great storyline, likeable characters and well-written relationships. Nothing pretentious, it is just a smooth easy read. I believe it is aimed at teens and young adults but older people should enjoy it also. Lily Parker, sixteen and from upper NY is shipped off to an all-girls private school in Chicago while her parents are doing research in Europe. Hesitant at first she soon becomes BFF with Scout, develops a 'chemistry' with Jason, avoids the Brat Pack and tries to steer clear of the Reapers. Everyone is not whom they appear to be and that is part of the fun when you read this book. Some reviewers may compare it to TWILIGHT by Stephanie Meyers but whether you liked that book or not don't avoid reading FIRESPELL. The plot is different and you will anxiously await for the next book in this series. I really don't want to give too much more away so you can be drawn in to the narrative like I was. While I am waiting for the next novel of The Dark Elite I am going to search for Ms. Neill's other books. Enjoy!

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