August 31, 2012

Review: The Dark Elite, Part 1

The Dark Elite, Part 1 (Firespell)
Chloe Neill

Published: 02 August 2011

New American Library, Paperback, 458 p.
ISBN: 978-0-451023588-6

In the hallowed halls of St. Sophia's School for Girls, Lily Parker thinks her classmates are the most mostrous things she'll have to face.  But in the first two novels of the Dark Elite, Lily discovers just how wrong she is...

When Lily is sent away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, the only thing keeping her sane is her roommate Scout.  But Scout has secrets, and she often disappears in the middle of the night.  When a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs under the school and she's attacked by something that shouldn't exist outside a nightmare, Scout come to her rescue.  And she tells Lily the truth: She and her friends are fighting a secret war to protect Chicago against demons, vampires, and the corrupted magic users known as Reapers.
This is the first book in The Dark Elite series by Chloe Neill, and though I love her Chicagoland Vampire books I was a little hesitant about reading yet another YA series.  But, I've read so many good things about this series so I thought - what the heck? - and after reading Firespell last night I'm glad I bought it.
As with most paranormal YA fiction these days, you have a bunch of popular beautiful girls who rule the school.  They're mean and don't care who knows it.  On the other end of the scale you have the new girl who ends up becoming friends with a smart, quirky, but outcast girl.  And while the formula holds true for The Dark Elite, Chloe Neill has made it work for her.
Lily is a great character.  Smart and pretty, she is as curious as a cat about the new world in which she finds herself.  Scout is a smart and quirky goth girl who slips out at night, gone for hours, and returns without telling anyone what she's up to.  I love the banter between these two roommates, and when you add the nasty classmate Veronica to the mix, it's just YA gold.
Now, you can't have a YA series without a budding romance or two.  Enter Jason and Michael.  They're part of the reason Scout keeps slipping out, but not for the reason you think.  And while Michael and Scout seem to keep dancing around each other, Lily and Jason just seem to click.  However, Michael (and possibly Jason) seem to have attracted the attention of Veronica and Co.  This could get messy in the future ;-D
So, we've covered friends and enemies, plus a budding romance or two.  Now all that's left is the magic, so when Lily finds herself lost in the catacombs under the school she accidentally stumbles upon the reason Scout keeps sneaking out at night.  Caught in the crossfire, Lily pays the price for her adventure, and has now been drawn into the war with the Reapers.  To survive, Lily will have to learn to use her powers or else.

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