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A Novel of the Dark Elite, Book 1

Lily Parker is having a bad start to her junior year in high school. Instead of spending it with her friends in her hometown, her parents have accepted an academic sabbatical in Germany. Instead of letting her stay with her best friend, they decide to send her all the way to Chicago to boarding school. St Sophia's is an academic boot camp filled with rich girls putting the icing on this cake. The only good thing to come out of being all alone in a strange city is meeting her roommate and new best friend Scout. Right from the beginning, Lily knows that there is something up with Scout. She goes out every night and doesn't come back until late. She can't tell Lily what is going on so Lily decides to follow her, worried for her safety. What really is going on is far stranger than she could have imagined. Then an accident occurs and she is hurt. After Lily recovers, Scout disappears. Will Lily turn her back on Scout's world or will she jump into the fray in order to help her friend?

I really enjoyed Firespell; a fun way to spend a couple of hours! Lily, the main character, is an interesting girl. She has a solid sense of self, of her own individuality. While this makes her a little more confident than I was at the same age, it goes along with her personality. Her reactions to all the curveballs she is thrown in a short amount of time are very believable and made me feel for her. Thank goodness she has a friend in Scout who is awesome. They really make a great team. Scout is part of a small group of kids that can do magic. They come into their power at puberty and have it all through their young adult lives. They use that power to protect the citizens of Chicago from all the things that bump in the night. Then, when the time comes, their members choose to give up the power before it consumes them from the inside. Another group, the Reapers, chose not to give up their power. In order to hold on to that power they drain the life force of young people who are depressed. This makes it easy for the junior members of the Reapers to bring them into the senior members. While on the surface, Firespell seems to follow the trend of several YA books I have read in the past year, it should not be overlooked. Ms. Neill has written a solid urban fantasy, with an emphasis on the urban that manages to be spunky and cute while still kicking butt. Ms. Neill definitely loves Chicago making it her town of choice in both her series but I love that about her books. In Firespell, however, it is practically another character as so much of its architecture is important to the plot. This is a great story that emphasizes friendship and responsibility rather than name brand clothes and getting a boyfriend. That doesn't mean there isn't a hint of romance but it takes a back seat to beating up the bad guys! I can't wait to see what Scout and Lily get up to in Hexbound.

Book Blurb for Firespell

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...

Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2011 4.50