Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Review: Hexbound by Chloe Neill

Book:  Hexbound by Chloe Neill
Series or Stand-Alone: Series (The Dark Elite #2)
Previous Books in Series: Firespell 
Pages: 246
Genre: Young Adult / Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: January 4th, 2011
Description (From Goodreads): Lily Parker is new to St. Sophia's School for Girls, but she's already learned that magic can be your best friend... or your worst enemy.

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…

Hexbound picks up soon after Firespell ends and dives immediately into action once again. Neill continues some of the same storylines (like what are Lily’s parents really doing in Germany? And Lily’s strange almost relationship with Sebastian) why seamlessly transitioning the Adept gang into a new, exciting adventure.

This time around the Adepts are forced to deal with a disgusting slimy, gooey, super gross new monster. Our fab four (Lily, Scout, Michael & Jason) come across these strange mutants while patrolling the tunnels one night. The enclave is understandably confused by these weirdoes and they team up with a few girls from a neighboring enclave to solve the mystery.

These new two adepts, Detroit and Naya both have different powers – Detroit is a machinist and Naya communicates with ghosts. While I liked both of these characters (I especially enjoy Detroit), I can’t help but feel like their addition caused us to lose out on some development with the old characters. Hexbound is a relatively short book and I still don’t really have a good sense of some of the main characters – like Michael and Jason.  I have to say though; I really enjoyed what little we saw of Lesley (Scout & Lily’s cello playing suitemate) in this book. She pops up a few different times and we get to know her a little bit better. She is so quirky and off-the-wall; I just love her to pieces. I hope she takes more of a front seat in the upcoming books.

However, there were two characters in particular who I got a better sense of in Hexbound – Scout and Lily.

Lily has to deal with a lot in this book – she has few different internal struggles.  First and foremost, she continues to question her parents and what they are really up to – Scout claims they are secretly developing new mascara, but I’m not buying it. Lily makes a few discoveries that really make her doubt them and it puts her in a very difficult place. She is also put in a weird spot with her relationship with Sebastian. She is defiantly wary of him and she does not trust him, but he really makes an effort in Hexbound to connect with her. I have to say, I like the character of Sebastian and I am all for them forming a friendship, but I hope they don’t become romantically involved. I am pulling for the resident werewolf, Jason.  

You also gain a great deal of insight to my favorite character, Scout. After what happened to her in Firespell, she begins to lose some of her self-confidence and you see that she has some weaknesses. I really appreciated this because it fleshes her character out a bit more.

Lily is also starting to come into her own with her powers and it sort of evens out the playing field a bit. She and Scout settle into a partnership, which I really appreciate.  A lot of times one character is sort of the sidekick, but I feel like Lily and Scout are becoming equals. They work wonderfully together and balance each other out. They respect, depend on and trust each other. I also love the snarky banter between these two – their friendship is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

I also want to point out what an amazing job Neill did with imagery. She paints such a vivd picture - every setting was beautifully described. She also roots some scenes in real locations  which gives a realistic feel to the fantastic story. I don’t think I will ever be able to walk the pedway again without looking over my shoulder for some creeptastic vampires.

While overall I really enjoyed Firespell, I was put off a bit with the pacing. It isn’t that the book dragged (quite the contrary, actually) – it is just that there wasn’t really a climax. Everything just kind of kept chugging along. The book was packed with action, but the pot never really came to a boil, if you know what I mean.

However, all things considered, Hexbound was an excellent read. Neill created an exciting, intriguing adventure with truly likable characters. The plot wasn’t the least bit predictable - Neill was able to bring in some new elements (like new characters, vampires and creepy mutants) to spice things up. I can’t wait to see where she takes Lily and the Adept gang next.


Midnight Bloom said...

Lovely review! I'm so excited to read Hexbound! I had to order it since I know the bookstores where I live didn't even get in Firespell so I'll be waiting impatiently for it to come. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more of Sebastian and meeting those new characters introduced that you mentioned. :)

I wish these books were longer though. I love Chloe Neill's writing, so it's a shame there's so few pages to read...

Savannah said...

I enjoyed this book as well. I love how you got into the story right away. Nice review :) Oh and BTW, I'm Savy from Books with Bite. We talk a lot of twitter but now I am a new follower!! Great blog!!

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