Series: The Dark Elite #1
Published by Signet on 5 January 2010
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Source: Kindle Purchase
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...
Firespell was intriguing enough to keep me reading, and the ending also made me want to find out what happens next.
Firespell was a bit like other YA fantasy series, where the young protagonist is sent away from home, enters a new school and finds out that there is more to the world around her than she first thought. Lily is a likeable character, she’s not drama queen, and she deals with her parents going to Germany for a sabbatical without her, and being sent from New York to Chicago quite well. The dynamics of the students in her new school is similar to that of most other stories taking place in high-school, there are the snobs, the brats, the nerds and the ‘weird’ kids… Lily seemed to be able to fit in most anywhere, even if Scout was the first to try to befriend her.
The story itself is fairly straight forward, Lily realizes that there is something going on very soon after arriving at St. Sophia, mostly because she sees Scout leave late at night, and only coming back at 3am. Of course, Scout wasn’t at liberty to share anything with Lily about what she was doing, so she was being very vague in her answers, while still being as honest as she could be. The friendship between Lily and Scout was one of the strong points of Firespell, because it was strong and loyal, just like I enjoy.
Of course, there were also some mysterious and very good-looking boys from a nearby private school for boys, and Scout knew them well. That was just another mystery Lily wanted to figure out. As the story moved forward, both Lily and the readers find out more about what’s going on underneath St. Sophia and the city of Chicago. I loved the aspect of the underground tunnels that were more like labyrinths, and possible for keeping someone – or something – out.
Firespell is intriguing enough to make me want to continue reading The Dark Elite, and of course, Neill’s writing is great. Written in first and third person point of view, mostly from Lily’s perspective and with dialogues to keep the pace nice and easy, the story unfolded naturally without any hitches.
I didn’t want to be a St. Sophia’s girl. I wanted to be me, Lily Parker, of the dark hair and eyeliner and fabulous fashion sense.
The board members had told me that St. Sophia’s had been a convent in its former life, but it could have just as easily been the setting for a gothic horror movie.
At the tables sat teenagers. Lots and lots of teenagers, all in stuff that made up the St. Sophia’s uniform: navy plaid skirt and some kind of top in the same navy; sweater; hooded sweatshirt, sweater-vest. They looked like an all-girl army of plaid.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: