Saturday, 8 December 2012

Review of Chloe Neill's Firespell, Hexbound, and Charmfall (Young Adult, 10/10)

 I've decided to review this trilogy as a whole rather than individually because otherwise you'll get a bit fed up with me saying 'this series is awesome'. First I'll present covers and details of the books, then the normal review will begin 

(Book 1 this edition March 2012, 304 pages, Summary from Orion)

Forget The House of Night, it's time to join the Dark Elite...

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 . . .

(book 2, 272 pages, this edition May 2012 Summary by Orion)

Lily Parker is new to St Sophia's School for Girls, but she's already learned that magic can be your best friend . . . or your worst enemy.

So they say absolute power corrupts absolutely. But it turns out even a little bit of magic can turn you to the dark side. That's why Lily has to learn how to control her newly discovered abilities and quickly, on top of avoiding the snobs who think they run her school, nursing a crush on a cute sophomore with a big, werewolfy secret, and fighting the good fight with her best friend Scout as they take on Chicago's nastiest nightlife - including the tainted magic users known as the Reapers.

All that's even before Lily's invited to a private meeting with Sebastian. He's hot, he's powerful, and he's offering to help her harness the magic flowing through her veins in a way that no one else can.

He's also a Reaper.

Lily can't help but be suspicious of his offer. But she also needs his help. It seems that the line between good and evil isn't quite so clear as she thought . . .

(book 3, this edition February 2012, 256 pages, summary from Orion)

High school can be a battlefield, but for Lily Parker, surviving at St. Sophia's School for Girls is a matter of life and death'

Protecting Chicago from the dark side can be an exhausting job, especially when you're a sophomore. So when the girls of St. Sophia's start gearing up for Sneak, their fall formal, Lily decides to join in on some good, old-fashioned party prep - even if it means not giving demons, vampires and the twisted magic users known as Reapers her undivided attention.

But when a Reaper infiltrates the school, Lily doesn't forget what she's sworn to protect. She reaches deep into herself to draw out her magic - and finds that it's gone. And it turns out she's not alone. A magical blackout has slammed through paranormal Chicago, and no one knows what - or who - caused it. But Lily knows getting back her magic is worth the risk of going behind enemy lines . . .

Themes: all girls' boarding school, mystery, secret society, magical powers, horrible monsters, protecting innocents, being flung in the deep end, creating strong friendships and powerful enemies, blurred lines of good and bad, lots of humour, moderate amount of peril and danger, super mean girls, sneaking around after lights out, family secrets, finding and losing trust in people, the delights and downfalls of boarding school food, neat plot twists, some teen romance, a tissue will be needed.

Nayuleska's thoughts

This series is mega awesome! I've read 1 of Chloe's books before, so I had an inkling that I'd love it. Love it I did. Lily stumbles into something huge and gains a fantastic power. The powers are unusual ones which make them stand out among all the other paranormal powers there are in fiction. The way everything was explained to her wasn't at all info-dumpy. Little by little she learned a bit more - and more and more she was exposed to danger. Sometimes she flung herself right into it to protect those she cares for. She has major issues with her family, which on top of everything else makes mean girls at school seem rather insignificant.

I love books about boarding school, and Lily's life satisfied all aspects of it. I love how the girls she shares a suite with aren't what you'd call normal. She makes friends with several quirky girls. Her best friend Scout (well, they become best friends) has family issues of her own. Scout acts a mentor in all aspects of Lily's new life. The way she and Lily have sleepovers even though they aren't supposed to, along with Scout's plan when food at the end of the week is barely edible brought the school side of the story to life.

It's quite interesting that the headmistress SPOILER SO I'M NOT SAYING ANYTHING.  I love the way a certain characters pop in and out of Lily's life, changing her view on the world. The level of humour is pretty high, thanks to Lily's outlook on life. It certainly helped ease the tension in the darker moments. It was a relief that the more intense moments weren't too frequent, and the overall feeling of the books was pretty light. I was in tears at several points in the books because parts were so scary and people really helped Lily out in this 10/10 read. There was a minor grumble which disappeared with the awesomeness of the story. Highlight the rest of this paragraph to see it. From the way that Lily gained her firespell power in Firespell, I somehow thought she'd gain hex powers in Hexbound, and the power of charms in Charmfall. Sadly that wasn't the case, but it's a point so minor it doesn't enter the book rating. 

You can find out more on Chloe's website 

Suggested read

Check out Chloe's other series which starts with Some Girls Bite


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