Charmfall (Dark Elite #3)

Originally posted January 5, 2012

CharmfallBy Chloe Neill

Publisher: NAL Trade
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Purchased

High school can be a battlefield, but for Lily Parker, surviving at St. Sophia’s School for Girls is a matter of life and death…

Protecting Chicago from the dark side can be an exhausting job, especially when you’re a junior. So when the girls of St. Sophia’s start gearing up for Sneak, their fall formal, Lily decides to join in on some good, old-fashioned party prep—even if it means not giving demons, vampires and the twisted magic users known as Reapers her undivided attention.

But when a Reaper infiltrates the school, Lily doesn’t forget what she’s sworn to protect. She reaches deep into herself to draw out her magic—and finds that it’s gone. And it turns out she’s not alone. A magical blackout has slammed through paranormal Chicago, and no one knows what—or who—caused it. But Lily knows getting back her magic is worth the risk of going behind enemy lines…

Goodreads Summary

I’m a huge fan of Chloe Neill. I’ve ready every single one of her books, and for the most part have enjoyed them all. Until Hard Bitten of course, which ripped my heart into tiny pieces and crushed them. With ass-kicking boots. I still haven’t managed to bring myself to read Drink Deep, even though I broke down and bought it. It’s silently sitting there on my Kindle, torturing me every time I flip past it looking for another book. Someday, Drink Deep. Someday.

I digress.

Charmfall is the third book in the Dark Elite series, and Lily Parker is still struggling with her new duties as an Adept. Her best friend Scout is standing by her though, helping her learn the ropes of this brand new world. Lily is walking back into school one afternoon when she stumbles upon a Reaper stealing a fellow classmates soul. Right there, in the open. She confronts the Reaper, only to discover that her firespell has malfunctioned. She manages to beat him the old fashioned way (by knocking him over the head with her bag), and rushes to tell Scout what happened. Come to find out, Scout’s powers aren’t working either. In fact, there’s a city wide blackout and neither the Adepts nor the Reaper’s have powers. With each side blaming the other, Lily reaches out to her semi-ally, Sebastian, because she knows that only by working together can they find out what happened.

Even in the midst of a magical crisis, Lily still has to deal with mundane things which include her werewolf boyfriend’s family drama, the brat pack’s mean shenanigans and finding the perfect dress to a school dance. Really, it’s all just too much to handle for one almost sixteen year old girl.

I felt that Charmfall was one of those dreaded filler novels. We’re in the same place at the end of this book that we were at the end of Hexbound. The plot didn’t move forward, the character’s didn’t really progress, and it lacked that wow factor that I know the author can bring. Mostly the book was filled with Lily and Scout meandering around Chicago (which kind of read like a tour book, truthfully), figuring out how to deal without their powers. They had their usual quirky banter, and the other characters only made brief appearances. Supposedly Lily has this boyfriend but they never hang out alone, or outside of their Adept meetings/duties, or even talk to each other on the phone ever. Heck, I’d even accept a text convo at this point. Something to let me feel the chemistry between the two and make me feel like Jason has a real purpose.

There were a lot of side plots that were mentioned in this book but weren’t explored fully. The major one in my mind being Sebastian and his and Lily’s odd relationship. Why does he want to help her? What does he hope to accomplish? I would love to answer that, but I can’t. There’s also the family drama Luke is having, plus Nicu the vampire made an appearance and I’d like to see where that’s going to end up as well. Perhaps in the next book.

All that said, I really love Chloe Neill’s heroines. Lily is new to the Adept lifestyle and therefore doesn’t come with any of the prejudices that her friends have. While her crew might see things in black and white, she sees everything in shades of gray and that nothing is absolutely wrong, or absolutely right. Lily has a strong sense of self, and she believes in her opinions and trusts them. So, yeah, maybe the story didn’t go anywhere, but Lily did grow a bit and in positive ways. It’s for her that I’ll keep going in the series.

My Summary: While I did like the book, it left me wanting in a major way. I finished reading and the first thing I said was “that was it?!” It was a little bit slow, a little bit wandering, and it will probably be my least favorite of the series. However, there’s just something about Chloe Neill’s books that grip me and make me come back for more. Read this book to continue with the series, and lets cross our fingers that the next book will get everything back on track.

My Rating: B



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