Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Dark Elite #3
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Paranormal YA
Reviewed by: Julia
References to sex, kissing.
Good – A fun read with minor flaws. Maybe read an excerpt before buying.
Protecting Chicago from the dark side of life can be an exhausting job, especially when you’re in high school. So when the girls of St. Sophia’s start gearing up for Sneak, their fall formal, Lily decides to take a break from fighting to get ready for the event. But when a Reaper unexpectedly crashes the party prep and Lily’s firespell fails, she realizes that she has a much bigger problem than a full social calendar…
CHARMFALL was my first taste of the Dark Elite world, and though the book itself only rated three bats, this is a series that I know I am going to keep an eye on in the future. Neill’s mythology is unique in the “magical prep-school” niche and her characters were both interesting and age appropriate. While Neill employs the familiar hook of a young protagonist developing magical powers, she takes things a very interesting step further by giving those abilities an expiration date. Not only does this make it more plausible that teenagers are on the front lines of a magical conflict, but it also gives the Reapers an enticing depth that is so much more intriguing that just being “bad”.
Despite the backstory I missed, there were some relationships I had no problems picking up. Lily’s new relationship with Jason was sweet, and I loved that dating doesn’t make Lily blind (or him perfect). This was my first introduction to the Dark Elite’s werewolf culture, and I found Jason’s family situation to be an interesting and realistic allegory for a teen coming from a traditional and conservative family. Though Sebastian isn’t held up as too obvious of a third wheel in this particular book, I enjoyed how Neill subtly kept possibilities in the air.
Despite getting excited about the series, CHARMFALL itself didn’t accomplish much by way of character growth or plot movement. Jason and Sebastian both revealed a little bit about what makes them tick, but Lily didn’t seem to change much at all. Also, though the conflict between Lily and the brat pack may have been important in books past, all of the page time it received in CHARMFALL seemed petty and one-sided on Lily’s part. It is obvious throughout the story that Neill is laying the foundation for some big changes in future books, but all of those hints dwarfed the mystery in CHARMFALL for a rather anticlimactic finish. Still, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the Dark Elite book where all those hints finally come out to play.