By: Chloe Neill
Published By: NAL Trade
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Page Count: 336
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Adult - Paranormal
I adore Chloe Neill's writing; her Chicagoland Vampires series is one of my favorites. I was beyond ecstatic to find that she had a new series that was set in New Orleans. There is something magical about NOLA - as you walk the streets its easy to believe that paranormal beings do exist. I wanted to see how Neill would attack such a well known southern city and put her own spin on it.
As with the Chicagoland series, the sense of place in this one is strong and true, but this isn't the New Orleans of my memory. Everything is different in this imagining as a war between the Paras (supernatural beings who lived in the Beyond) have waged war on the humans of the southern United States. While the culture and terrain of New Orleans have changed fairly drastically, there are some traditional elements and landmarks that remain, but sadly there was not a beignet in sight. I was fascinated by this reimagined version of NOLA and the intricate supernatural details.
The paranormals who breached the veil during the war have all been collected and interned into a supernatural prison located in the former Marigny. The entire neighborhood functions as fortress to house Paras, Wraiths, and Sensitives. Sensitives are humans who have magical abilities. If the magic is used and channeled properly Sensitives are no threat to society, but if they do not channel the magic correctly, it will eventually consume them and turn them into a Wraith. Wraiths were similar to zombies in my mind. They had lost their connection with their own humanity and fed off people. They are seen as mindless killers, but things are changing and the Wraith attacks are becoming more frequent and sophisticated. I'll stop discussing the magical/paranormal elements there, but they are well done and intriguing.
The main character, Claire, is a Sensitive and fears that the government will learn of her condition. If they find out, she will be hauled off to Devil's Isle without a trial. Claire can't think of a worse fate so she keeps her magic a secret until one night when a life or death decision forces her to use magic in public to save her life. From this moment on, Claire's life gets a little more complicated. She finds herself tangled up with a Wraith bounty hunter, Liam, who seems to want to help her, in spite of her potential to go Wraith. Their relationship was one of my favorite parts of the novel. It was realistic, humorous, and developed at a nice pace. In fact, aside from a few flirtations here and there, romance does not drive this story. Don't worry - there are plenty of hot literary book boyfriend possibilities - it's just not the focus.
The supporting characters are fabulous and provide some comic relief as well. Neill always creates amazing characters that I want to befriend who make me cheer for them and laugh frequently. Mos is seriously made of awesome. You must get to know him. You need him in your life. In addition to Mos, I loved Claire's circle of friends and Liam's grandmother.
All in all, Neill delivered a delicious southern fried tale with a heavy dose of paranormal gravy. It's just what I was craving on this warm Southern day. Fans of Chicagoland will be very pleased with this new series and while Claire didn't push Merit off her pedestal she is a strong female lead with potential. I highly recommend this one to all fans of supernatural tales and urban fantasy.
One Last Gripe: I want to know more about Claire's parents.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: The rich details of the setting and culture
First Sentence: The French Quarter was thinking about war again.
Favorite Character: Claire
Least Favorite Character: Rutledge
Seven years ago, the Veil that separates humanity from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil's Isle.
Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused.
Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack—in full view of the French Quarter—Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs, even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head.
But when the Veil threatens to shatter completely, Claire and Liam must work together to stop it, or else New Orleans will burn…