Series: The Dark Elite
Author: Chloe Neill
Page Count: 246
Published: January 5th, 2010
4 Stars ★★★★
Lily's parents are going on a trip overseas, so they enroll her in St. Sophia's, a fancy, elite boarding school for girls. As she gets used to her new surroundings, including lots of rich, spoiled teens, she becomes friends with Scout, one of her suite-mates.
Scout may not be petty and judgemental like the rest of her classmates, but she's keeping secrets. Lily wonders where Scout goes when she sneaks out at night, and when Lily is the victim of a prank and becomes trapped in the school's basement, she runs into Scout, who is running from something much worse than boarding school bullies.
Lily is thrown into a world where magic is real and the corrupted Dark Elite maintain their powers at the expense of others. She's fascinated yet fearful at the thought of the real-life equivalent of wizards and warlocks walking among the streets of Chicago. After all, she's just a regular human....or is she?
I really liked this author's take on wizards or warlocks. While the idea of different factions of some paranormal group feuding might seem over-used, Chloe Neill makes it seem fresh and new again with the rivalries between Scout's group of magic-wielding teens protecting the city, and the corrupted Reapers. I will probably read the next book because I want to know more about the Reapers and the world they live in. While they're portrayed as evil, the concept of feeding off of others in some way to maintain power kept me hooked to this book and their world. It's somewhat creepy and definitely intriguing.
I really liked the whole atmosphere of this book. It takes place in various locations, though the boarding school, St. Sophia's, is one of the primary settings. The descriptions of the school itself painted a vivid picture in my mind and really helped me to visualize what was going on. I really liked the descriptions given when Lily was in the basement or catacombs, especially when she gets lost.
However, I feel like the characters in this book were not memorable at all. That really disappointed me! Everyone from Lily to Scout to the love interests seemed somewhat flat and lacking uniqueness. There wasn't really anything to distinguish them from other characters from other young adult urban fantasy novels, so I didn't feel much of a connection to any of them. I hope that in the next book, the characterization continues and they develop a lot more as people, because if this isn't the case, unless the situation with the rivalries between Scout's group and the Reapers becomes extremely interesting, I don't think that I will be compelled to continue on in the series.
Overall I enjoyed this author's take on magic-users and paranormal rivalries. The descriptions of the settings helped me to see things as the characters saw them, but as for the characters themselves, this book falls short.
I recommend this book to readers who like YA urban fantasy.