FORGOTTEN BOOK: FIRESPELL by Chloe Neill, 2010
This is the 107th in my series of Forgotten Books.
Every now and again I go off on weird reading tangents. These are generally related to plans to meet an author or attend a convention. Chloe Neill will be attending ArmadilloCon at the end of next week and since I had not read any of her works, I asked my resident book pusher which book I should read and he directed me to The Dark Elite series, of which FIRESPELL is the first volume.
This is a Young Adult novel and a pretty good one at that. Lily Parker has had a nice quiet life in upstate New York. Her parents are Professors of Philosophy at the local university. But, when they receive a sabbatical offer to do some research in Germany, they decide not to pull Lily out of an American school to go with them. Instead, they decide to board her at St. Sophia’s School for Girls in Chicago. From her solidly suburban life, she suddenly finds herself in the midst of young, rich, and bitchy girls of privilege.
Early on, she meets Scout, one of her roommates who has been at St. Sophia’s for five years and is a junior like Lily. They seem to have some common interests and become Best Friends almost immediately. This does not set well with the “brat pack” led by Veronica, who has been at St. Sophia’s as long as Scout and appears to be mortal enemy.
Scout’s room is filled with interesting stuff and she does get away with a lot since her parents have apparently donated a wing of the school. Lily finds the school interesting and constantly wonders why she is there since her folks are hardly rich and she is not special. Scout knows how to push the boundaries of the school’s regulations.
One day as Lily and Scout are out they spot a creepy young girl in a hoodie that upsets Scout. Lily notices that Scout sneaks out of the room at night, in defiance of the curfew and gets back very late. Lily worries about Scout and follows her one night. She finds Scout being pursued by a monster and they barely avoid being monster chow.
Scout makes Lily promise not to follow her again and she tries to abide by this promise. Unfortunately the brat pack have their own ideas, locking Lily in a basement room. Lily figures out an escape route and finds herself in scout’s path again, this time with the creepy little girl and another guy. The girl seems to have the power to create an earthquake while the guy throws some fire from his fingertips. They strike Lily in the back and out her in the hospital.
Lily eventually discovers that she has been hit by Firespell, a form of magic. Scout is a Spellbinder and is part of an Enclave of magical teens and young adults who protect their Chicago from magical forces that take life forces from depressed people and feed the forces to the Elders. Those robbed of their life force generally die.
Lily would like to be a part of the Enclave but she has no magical powers, though they find it odd that she survived the Firespell. And it seems to have affected Lily. She might have some powers since lights now respond to her emotions, flaring up when she is made and fading when she calms down. But controlling lights is not much.
The book continues from there delving into Lily, her powers, her parents and the school. It moves fast and captures a lot of the feel of Chicago. It was a good quick read and I will have to check out HEXBOUND, the second in the series. I look forward to meeting Ms. Neill next week and, if you happen to be in Austin, you should check out ArmadilloCon.
Series organizer Patti Abbott hosts more Friday Forgotten Book reviews at her own blog, and posts a complete list of participating blogs.