Firespell by Chloe Neill
Series: Dark Elite #1
Published by Penguin on 2010-01-05
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
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Also in this series: Hexbound
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...
I picked up Firespell for the Debut YA Author Challenge – and boy am I glad I did! I had heard of Chloe Neill’s Adult Series, but nothing about them seemed to pique my interest. So I thought I’d test out her YA debut before I dove into the Chicagoland books.
Unlike a lot of YA out there right now, Firespell is based more around Lily and her new universe – rather than around her relationship with a boy. Although there is certainly a love interest (and I think I am right in foreseeing a future love triangle), her relationships with her BFF Scout and her absent parents take center stage.
Although I loved the universe and whatnot, what stole the show for me was Lily. She is insanely awesome – a sarcastic, sensitive, vegetarian, fashionista. If people call her a weirdo, she’ll just role her eyes and make some fabulously insightful comment. And her banter with Scout made me laugh out loud countless times!
Scout was another great character – a punky, funny, wanna-be-politician. She talks tough but is an amazing softie. Lily and Scout make the perfect duo.
But gosh, there are so many mysteries left by the end of the book. And although we get a nicely wrapped up ending – no cliffhangers here – there are still so many things I want to know! I cannot wait for the next book… and the book after that…. and the book after that…
Bottom line? This book is a must for all readers! Especially if you liked Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires Series! (BTW, anyone who compares it to the HoN series is out of their mind – completely different!)
Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine
Series: Morganville Vampires #3
Published by Allison & Busby, Penguin on 2007-10-02
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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Also in this series: Glass Houses, The Dead Girls' Dance, Kiss of Death, Ghost Town, Bite Club
Morganville is such a nice place to live...and die. If you don't mind that sort of thing. When Claire Danvers learnt that her college town was run by vampires, she did what any intelligent, self-preserving student would do: she applied for a transfer and stocked up on garlic. The transfer is no longer an option, but that garlic may come in handy. Now Claire has pledged herself to Amelie, the most powerful vampire in town. The protection her contract secures does little to reassure her friends. All of a sudden, people are turning up dead, a stalker resurfaces from Claire's past, and an ancient bloodsucker extends a chilling invitation for private lessons in his secluded home.
Rec for people who love: Buffy – aka action with a laugh and some love.
Thoughts: This series just goes from awesome to awesome.
Yet again, Caine delivers. This book is my favourite in the series (at least books 1-5). In MA, she gets right down to business – dealing with Michael’s new vampireness, the implications of Claire’s contract and adds even more new twists along the way. Yet again, Claire is put through the ringer – and it changes her. Don’t get me wrong, she is still the Claire we all love to love, but she does a fair bit of growing up in this book.
As for her relationship with Shane, gosh. It just gets better and better. It is hard to find a pairing where rooting for both sides just comes naturally – where you look at both sides of the relationship – but with Shane and Claire, it comes easy. It is quite a feat.
What makes this as my favourite in the series is the exploration of Claire’s intellect. Her education, and what she does with it, is pushed way past Hermione-like expectations. And let’s just say her interaction with her new teacher is… Mind-blowing.
Another thing I loved was how Caine dealt with the ever rising number of secrets that Claire is forced to keep. She hates keeping them, but knowing she has no choice, she does a really good job with giving vague answers. A definite change from the girl in the first book.
Caine also delves into the mythology behind Morganville – something that had been lacking in the first two books. Let’s just say it is more interesting than she had let on!
This book kept me up all night – again. So try to set aside a good chunk of time before you get started!