Devil’s Isle #1
by Chloe Neill
Ebook/Paperback/Audio: Release Date 8/4/15
Print & E-Book from Penguin Random House/NAL 352 pages
Audio from Tantor Media
E-Galley provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.
Seven years ago, the Veil that separates us 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.
As more and more Sensitives fall prey to their magic, and unleash their hunger on the city, Claire and Liam must work together to save New Orleans, or else the city will burn…
I can’t recall anything from Chloe Neill I haven’t enjoyed and I am a HUGE fan of her Chicagoland Vampires Series. When a author of a series I love begins a new series, well that’s a source of anxiety — what if I don’t like it?
Well, no worries here! Chloe starts off with the creation of a heroine who has friends and who is very connected to the community as a business woman, as a co-survivor of a war, and as someone who also lost friends and family in this paranormal war between the denizens of another dimension and [almost] our own.
She also creates a post apolcalyptic New Orleans. The rest of the world is not necessarily as altered as New Orleans as it was the locus of the break in the veil between worlds was New Orleans. The effects of the resulting dystopia are not evenly distributed across the population of New Orleans; those with magic are imprisoned without due process as enemy combatants. The problem is that neither all the paranormals nor the sensitives (normal humans who were susceptible to infection by magic or who already were magic) are enemies. The sensitives are lumped into the gulag with the enemies.
There are, of course, many parallels between this imprisonment in the book the rest of human history — even right now. But, I don’t think Chloe is making a specific political statement, just an observation on the nature of humanity. I think Chloe is particularly adroit at looking at these human foibles, the mistakes we make, our smaller selves, in the course of writing books about people overcoming these things to become their larger selves.
A very great skill and a significant feature of the writing of the best series writers is the ability to set up a new series without being pedantic or overwhelming the unsuspecting reader with a massive amount of information placed, only superficially with a the context of the story.
Chloe has that skill, and in THE VEIL she also creates noble and courageous, but warm and flawed, heroes and heroines, as well as nasty villains. The plot is very twisty and sets up a few books into the future with a few apparent loose ends. One character in this story reminded me of a paramilitary type in the Chicagoland series.
I really enjoyed THE VEIL (which I keep trying to type as “Veill” like Chloe’s last name, “Neill”), and I can’t wait to see what happens next. If you enjoy The Chicagoland Vampires series, you will definitely want to check this one out. It’s not a clone, and is indeed wildly different from the other adult series. What they do have in common: promise, paranormals, danger, good writing and some building sexual tension!