Friday, July 18, 2014

Charmfall by Chloe Neill

Series: The Dark Elite (bk. 3)

Genera(s): Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy

Subjects: magic, abilities, supernatural, werewolves, vampires

Setting: Chicago, Illinois

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, past tense: Lilly Parker

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 242 pgs.

HC/PB: Paperback

List Price: $9.99

Publisher: Penguin: NAL Trade

Summary/ product description: “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 junior. 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...”

My Review:  This is an interesting, fun finale to a series set in Chicago. It doesn’t really feel like a series finale, but I really enjoyed it. All the Adepts and Reapers in Chicago suddenly lose their magic. This hits them hard. None of them know who’s behind the magic blackout, but each side blames the other.

Lily and Scout go to St. Sophia’s academy for girls and are best friends and fellow Adepts. Lily has firespell (energy blasts) and Scout can write and cast spells. Lily has a werewolf boyfriend named Jason, and Scout is dating another Adept named Michael. If you haven’t read Firespell or Hexbound (the 1st two books), then this is just a spoiler free refresher.

I love the magic in this series, but this book was about the characters doing what they could without magic. My most favorite part of the series is the setting. I live in the western suburbs of Chicago, so I was able to picture the places mentioned in this book. I don’t go downtown that much anymore, but I’ve seen enough to be more than a tourist. My parents both grew up in the city, which makes them good as any tour guide. My brother goes to UIC. St. Sophia’s is not a real place, but I really enjoy the boarding school setting. There’s lot of paranormal books out there set in boarding schools, but this is a normal boarding school with only a few people who know about magic.

I also love the characters. Through this series I really supported the femship/sisterhood of Lily and Scout. Lily’s pretty typical for a 15-year-old, but not a Mary-Sue. She’s got a sense of humor and personality. So does scout, but Scoat’s punky style and sarcasm fit with Lily’s positive attitude. They both kind of act like Disney Channel/ABC Family characters. I can totally see this series as a TV show, just because the quirky characters.

The book is mostly about trying to get their magic back. I give it 5 stars because I enjoyed it so much, but I’m disappointed that there’s not fourth book. I don’t feel like every issue was resolved. Thing were left kind of open. Sure, the issue of this book was resolved, but there was no over-all series arc that makes it feel like a complete trilogy. It has an episodic feeling. Maybe the author will write more books in the future. Maybe she had plans for more, but the publisher only gave her a three-book deal. Either way, I hope she revisits it. Maybe from a different character’s perspective. A reaper maybe? Possibly Sebastian? With all the wonderful world building of the Dark Elite, this can’t be it. Spin-off please!

Cover Art Review: I love the violet color and the smoke behind the girl. I like the title and the key too.

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