Title: Firespell (Dark Elite #1)
As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia’s boarding school, Lily Parker thinks her classmates are the most monstrous things she’ll have to face…
When Lily’s guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she was shocked. So was St. Sophia’s. Lily’s ultra-rich brat pack classmates think Lily should be the punchline to every joke, and on top of that, she’s hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building.
The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout’s a little weird—she keeps disappearing late at night and won’t tell Lily where she’s been. But when a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout running from a real monster.
Scout’s a member of a splinter group of rebel teens with unique magical talents, who’ve sworn to protect the city against demons, vampires, and Reapers, magic users who’ve been corrupted by their power. And when Lily finds herself in the line of a firespell, Scout tells her the truth about her secret life, even though Lily has no powers of her own—at least none that she’s discovered yet…
After her parents announce they are going on a research trip, Lily is suddenly moved to St. Sophia’s School for Girls, a boarding school in Chicago. Lily soon finds out there are mysteries in the school, including her room mate disappearing during the night and something very secretive and possibly deadly in the basement.
I had previously tried Chloe Neill’s ‘Chicagoland Vampire’ series and I did not like it at all. I thought the main character was very silly and I didn’t like her or really care what happened to her. However, the juvenile attitude I disliked in the ‘Chicagoland Vampire’ series is what works in here, because it is a young adult novel and Chloe Neill’s writing, for me, is much more suited to this age group. I didn’t mind the melodramatic edge to this, as it really fit into the boarding school theme.
Lily is a likeable character, and whilst she sometimes can be overly dramatic, I did warm to her in the end. It was very interesting to see the boarding school through her eyes, and uncover the secrets with her. The secrets and mysteries are slightly predictable, but it did still feel unexpected when I read it. The writing can be funny at times, and the banter between the characters is sometimes witty but mostly comes across silly and doesn’t work.
There is a slow build up, but once the story gets going I appreciated the world building, because it is a good, believeable atmosphere for the characters and the setting.