Customer Reviews for

Firespell (Dark Elite Series #1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

A light and quirky read

Chloe Neill spins a tale that is light, fresh and easy to read. The narration reads like a conversation with the heroine, and the main characters will instantly feel like the reader's best friends. Though the beginning of the novel feels a little contrived (why is Lily ...
Chloe Neill spins a tale that is light, fresh and easy to read. The narration reads like a conversation with the heroine, and the main characters will instantly feel like the reader's best friends. Though the beginning of the novel feels a little contrived (why is Lily so obsessed with Scout's behavior? How does she sense that there is something monstrous in St. Sophia's?), the quirky characterization more than balances it out. Lily is energetic and adventurous, providing an interesting blend of wild imagination and cool level-headedness. Her character feels rounded and fully alive, drawing readers into her story with irresistible charisma. The stereotypical alpha clique with their catty angst is a little frustrating, but the narration provides a sassy, tongue-in-cheek humor that keeps the novel from falling headfirst into the teenage melodrama. The romance that develops over the course of the novel is also sweet and believable -- authentic teen infatuation, with the potential to be something more -- but none of the overdone love-at-first-sight that pervades too many YA novels. Overall, this novel is a fun, fast read that provides just the right mix of magic and mystery, snark and adventure.

~Review from thebookishtype[dot]blogspot[dot]com

posted by The_BookishType on March 23, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Don't Judge a Book by Its Cool Cover

When I saw the cover of Firespell, read all the glowing reviews, and read the intriguing summary, I was sure this would be a worthwhile book. I bought it with high expectations of a weighty, thrilling start to my summer vacation only to be shipped a slim, pint-sized pac...
When I saw the cover of Firespell, read all the glowing reviews, and read the intriguing summary, I was sure this would be a worthwhile book. I bought it with high expectations of a weighty, thrilling start to my summer vacation only to be shipped a slim, pint-sized packet of inconsequence.
My disappointment began with Neill's handling of Lily Parker, the protagonist, because, for me, the credibility simply wasn't there. Neill has Lily make the same dim-witted choice to do the same dim-witted thing with the same girls she already knows to be trouble at least three times and explains away Lily's actions as "nosiness" and "adventurous spirit", but that isn't how it comes across. Lily's actions and Neill's justification of those actions comes across as Neill obviously needing to somehow get her train of plot chugging doggedly down the tracks and using a sterotypical means of fuel to do so. Seriously, between every dramatic moment the reader can almost hear Neill thinking, "Oh, boy, how am I going to get Lily down there? Oh, I know!" And just like that, here Lily comes doing something stupid so Neill can get from point A to point B.
Other than the transparency of the protagonist, I did think Neill pulled some unique twists to a fairly typical plot. More than anything, though, the story reads as some sort of history lesson seeing as it's set in Chicago and almost at every turn Neill has character, Scout, raving about what a great city Chicago is. Personally, I would've liked those scenes to be replaced by scenes that built up more intensity and character development, but remembering this is intended to be the first in a series, I suppose character development will come later...though I can't imagine why it was so wrong to explore in this present book.
I'm not saying this book should never be read. I'm just saying that it reads like a good book that's been rained on so now the words are blurry and the story is a bit out of focus. Because of that, I don't recommend paying full price. I don't recommend that anyone recommends this book to anyone else. I don't recommend that anyone forgoes buying another book in favor of this book. Firespell should be read if you're very, very, very, very bored and desperately want a YA love/action story yet for some reason can't get your hands on any other book. In short, it should be a last resort.

posted by Ora_Pro_Nobis on June 13, 2010

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  • Posted June 12, 2010

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    A Good Start to the Series

    I picked up Firespell after seeing it on numerous blogs, and added it to my 2010 Debut Author Challenge list. I'm still debating how I feel about the story, because there were things that I really enjoyed, and a few things that pulled me out of the story.

    What I enjoyed most were the strong characters in the book. In particular, I thought that Lily was a strong, mature girl. She reacted pretty reasonably to being completely uprooted and shipped off to a prestigious boarding school. Lily was befriended almost immediately by one of her roommates, Scout. She was another strong character. She a loyal friend to Lily, despite only knowing her for a short time, and she had made the choice to use her abilities in a positive way. There was also a group of mean-spirited popular girls, nicknamed "the brat pack" , who served to make life more miserable for Scout and Lily. By the end of the book I realized that the brat pack was relatively harmless. Obviously they were obnoxious, but they paled in comparison to the real villains of the story.

    My main issue with the book was the pacing of the story. Despite the interesting characters, the plot was slow-moving for almost half of the book. While this lack of action gave me a lot of time to learn about Lily, and to question what was really happening at St. Sophia's, I would have enjoyed a bit more action. Firespell ends in a setup for a sequel, and I'm fairly certain that the issue of pacing won't be an issue. I would like to learn a little bit more about the individual abilities of the Adepts. I'm also looking forward to Lily confronting her parents about their lies.

    I'll be reading book 2, and it's a worthwhile read if you don't mind a slow start.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2010

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    Firespell by Chloe Neill Reivew

    For her debut YA novel, I think Chloe Neill is off to a great start with the Dark Elite series' opener Firespell. I found Firespell to be a light and fun read and a nice chance to escape reality for a while and trek through the underground world that she has created with her fresh new characters. As light as this novel was I did find that it took me slightly longer to get through than some other novels I've read in the past, and would have liked some parts sped up, but overall it was worth the wait. If you're a lover of fantasy, this novel is right up your alley. Mystery, magical powers (and not just your normal hocus pocus), werewolves, vampires, energy sucking "reapers", oh my!

    Neill has created memorable characters in Lily, Scout, Jason and the rest of the gang. These guys are sure to stick with readers and keep them entertained throughout the pages. The protaganist, Lil Parker was adorable, she was funny, and easy going (maybe a little too much so at times, I would have been freaking out) and my heart went out to her on more than one occasion.

    But overall I thought her best friend Scout stole the show. She was sharp minded, had a quick wit and always managed to throw her sense of humor into the situations, no matter how dire they may have been. She never lacked for spunk and often kept the story moving, however I would have liked to have learned more of her back story. I'm hoping we'll get more info in the series later on. I also appreciated how she was completely reliant on herself and no one else, not even the adorable Michael Garcia. The two of these girls put together were fantastic, the perfect balance for each other and will be very relatable to most readers I'm sure.

    Now in these types of novels, there's always a boy...which is often why we love them so much, and Neill did not let me down on this one. I thought Jason was great, I will admit that a guy in a prep school uniform always did catch my attention, and let's not forget those gorgeous baby blues, right? Wow! Let's see more of him please! And just like the necessary male love interest, these novels rarely leave out the "mean girls", am I right? The brat pack, as Neill has dubbed them drove me up the wall, lol. I wanted to shake them half the time and just tell them to be nice, but regardless they were highly entertaining all the way through.

    As always, there's usually a background character that I'm always hoping to learn more about. With Firespell it was Sebastian who caught my attention. He's dark and mysterious and seriously on the wrong side of the whole good v. bad side of things, so-to-speak but what's his deal? I can't go into any more detail without spoiling it, but once you read Firespell I'm sure your curiosity will go up as much as mine did.

    I had fun reading Firespell and I'm looking forward to the next addition to the Dark Elite series. I can't wait to see what else Chloe Neill has up her sleeve.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 11, 2010

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    Slow start to a potentially good series

    I read the Chicagoland Vampire Series from Chloe Neill and thought i'd give her young adult series a try, granted i am 28 years old. But i've enjoyed books in this age range before, anyways...I had high hopes for the Dark elite series.

    First off, i love that the book takes place in Chicago because its my favorite city! And her descriptions of the school were fantastic, i could picture the building and the atmosphere clearly, so she did great with that.
    I really liked Scout and Lily and throw in some superficial snooty girls and it's normal high school drama. BUT...the book forever to gain any thrilling scenarios, it wasn't until chapter 19 that things picked up and even then the event wasn't all that exciting to me. I was just expecting more and am hoping that the next book in the series is more exciting, in this book we only got a glimpse of what the storyline was about.

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