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Dark Elite

    Review: Hexbound

    Hexbound is the second book in the Dark Elite series by Chloe Neill. It was released on January 4, 2011 in the U.S. in paperback and eBook formats. Published by Signet, the paperback edition is 256 pages.

    Hexbound is available to purchase in both formats from Amazon and Barnes & Noble and is available from other booksellers online or in stores.

    Goodreads description:

    They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Turns out, even a little magic can turn you to the dark side. That’s why Lily has to learn how to control her newly discovered paranormal abilities, on top of avoiding the snobs who think they run her school, nursing a crush on a cute sophomore with a big, werewolf-y 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 Reapers.

    Then Lily’s invited to a private meeting with Sebastian. He’s hot, powerful, and offering to help her harness the magic flowing in her veins in a way no one else can. He’s also a Reaper. Lily can’t hide her suspicions. But she’ll soon find out that the line between good and evil isn’t always clear…

    There’s never a dull moment at St. Sophia’s. Ever since Lily Parker arrived at the Chicago boarding school she has been going nonstop.

    From discovering her suite-mate Scout’s secret about being an Adept, one who fights against the Dark Elite to keep the people of Chicago safe, to finding out that she is also an Adept with the power to wield firespell, her arrival in Chicago has been anything but boring.

    Only weeks since rescuing Scout from the Reapers, a new threat has arisen. This one comes in the form of hideous creatures with fangs and claws that have been leaving slime trails in the tunnels leading to St. Sophia’s.

    Still no closer to discovering the truth about Lily’s parents and what they’re really working on, she, Scout and the other Adepts in Enclave Three manage to get caught in the middle of vampire territorial wars as they try to uncover the source of these slimy new beings.

    To top it all off, Sebastian Born, the Reaper who activated Lily’s firespell, is following her.

    And let’s not forget Veronica and her brat pack who just can’t seem to mind their own business.

    With Scout still recovering from her abduction by the Reapers and Lily still not in control of her firespell power, will they be able to figure out and defeat whoever is behind this?

    With the help of some new friends from Enclave Two and a few surprising allies, it may just be possible.

    ***

    Hexbound is the second book in the Dark Elite series and picks up the story just weeks after the events that occurred in Firespell. Lily Parker is still working with the other Adepts to ensure that the Reapers do not harm the innocent by taking their life force to sustain themselves, when she, Scout, Jason and Michael encounter some never-before-seen creatures in the tunnels connecting to St. Sophia’s.

    In their attempt to get more information about what these disgusting and slimy beings are, who created them and why they are trying to get into the school, they will have to turn enemies into allies and put their trust in someone who should not be trusted.

    Hexbound, like Firespell, is another delightful and quick read. The banter between Lily and Scout makes this story. If anything, Lily is even more sarcastic and clever in this book than in the first and her humorous interactions with Scout continue to entertain throughout the story.

    Author Chloe Neill has introduced a few new characters with some different powers, of which Detroit, the petite, blond, punk, techie machinist from Enclave Two, is the most interesting. The author has also made the vampires of Chicago a major player in this story, adding in yet another element to this world.

    In Hexbound, we do see less of the Reapers, however, aside from Sebastian Born. And, although Veronica and her snooty friends make an appearance, there is less of a focus on them, too.

    This second book in the series moves the plot forward and the ending wraps up nicely, although there are plenty of questions that still remain open from the first book and a few new questions that have been introduced in Hexbound.

    Another book in the series is planned which will hopefully explore these answers further.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=4]

    On a personal note:

    I absolutely loved Firespell and I love this one, but just a little bit less when compared to the first book in the series. In book one we got to meet the characters, learn about all their powers and explore the world of the Adepts and Dark Elite. The different powers that each of the characters had, and especially Lily’s firespell were so interesting to learn about, and although used in this book, they didn’t seem to take center stage.

    There were also a number of questions that I was dying for answers on (ones I won’t share as they are completely spoiler-y), but only a few were touched upon in this installment. And of course I would have liked to find out more about Lily’s parents and why everything is so hush-hush.

    I’m sure as the series progresses all will be answered, but I had hoped certain portions of the plot would have moved forward a bit more to begin to address these questions.

    I would have also loved to see more of Sebastian Born, John Creed and the Reapers in general. Not that I didn’t like the vamps, but I kind of missed those evil Reapers!

    I remain a huge fan of this series and am looking forward to book three.

    ***

    Click here to read an excerpt of chapter one from the author’s website.

    If you haven’t yet read Firespell, the first book in the series, and would like to check out my review, click here.

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    Review: Firespell (Dark Elite book 1)

    Firespell, the first novel in the Dark Elite series by Chloe Neill was released on January 5, 2010. The second book in the series, Hexbound will be released on January 4, 2011 in paperback and eBook formats.

    Description from the author’s website:

    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 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…

    Beneath the streets of Chicago a group of people meet in secret with the sole purpose of protecting the innocent. They are an exclusive group of young individuals with powers beyond the norm.

    They are the Dark Elite and they have the ability to wield magic. Some are spellbinders, some can create firespell, but there are others who are much darker. They aren’t willing to give up their powers before the magic will rot their souls.

    They haven’t made the promise to relinquish their power to the universe when they are 25. Instead they choose to keep their powers…at any cost. The price is that they must use Reapers to suck souls in order to sustain themselves. This is the Chicago Lily Parker walked into. But is she “ready to take on evil in the Second City”?

    ***

    Firespell is the first book in a new young adult series by author Chloe Neill. It centers around the main character, Lily Parker who is sent to boarding school in Chicago when her parents get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go on an academic sabbatical at a university in Germany. What she thinks will just be two years of a boring, elitist learning environment turns out to be more than she bargained for.

    Her suite-mate Scout is more than just a little unusual, she is in fact an Adept – someone gifted with magical abilities who promises to give them up before they corrupt the body and soul. Lily opens the door to this secret world when she follows Scout on one of her mysterious disappearances. She learns the hard way, by getting hit with firespell, just how very dangerous things can get for those in the Dark Elite.

    Although it takes a little awhile for the action to pick up, the beginning is anything but boring. Ms. Neill created a framework for this story that can hold for subsequent books in the series. There are plenty of questions that were presented early on – some more subtle than others – that remain unanswered at stories’ end, leaving a world of possibility for the direction of future books and for many adventures to come.

    Both Lily and Scout are characters that readers can relate to, having been abandoned by their parents and shipped off to a school where they don’t quite fit in. And while it took some time to warm up to and connect with Lily, Scout was likable from the very first. Her mischievous and acerbic personality offered a nice contrast to Lily’s more even-tempered one.

    Firespell is a very fast read with a few surprise twists throw in – especially as pertains to the “tall, dark, and handsome” Reaper, Sebastian Born, whom readers will definitely see in books to come. This book and series should definitely be added to readers “to-read” lists.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

    On a personal note:

    I bought this book soon after release in early 2010 but it managed to get lost in the shuffle of the many eBooks I had purchased at the time. I wasn’t too familiar with what this book was about, but the lead-in, “A Novel of the Dark Elite,” was intriguing. And as it was the first book in the series by author Chloe Neill I went ahead with the purchase. (It was actually the author’s adult series, Chicagoland Vampires, that was recommended by Amazon due to my interest in the Sookie Stackhouse series, but I opted for the YA version as it was a new series and no catch-up reading was necessary.)

    Then, just a few weeks ago, on a lazy Saturday, I noticed it on my Kindle and decided to read it. And I breezed through it in one sitting. It may not have had the most original premise – teenagers in boarding school, pranks, magic, danger – and was certainly not a weighty book, but it was definitely imaginative with a number of unique elements that made it stand out, and overall was a really nice, fun read and I am so glad that I “discovered” it in my eReader. (And I absolutely loved the irony in the author’s naming of the character Jason Shepherd!)

    It sets up well for the next book which I already have on pre-order, and I will not be letting this one linger in my to-reads.

    To read chapter one from the author’s website, click here.

    To read the first chapter of the upcoming Hexbound, click here. Check back in January for the review.

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