Devil's Isle #1
by Chloe Neill
Published on August 4, 2015 by NAL Trade
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
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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…
In my house, a book by Chloe Neill is an instant purchase. Collectively we own the entire Chicagoland Vampire series to date, as well as The Dark Elite, The Veil, and The Sight is on pre-order. Clearly I’m a fan of her work, so it’s no surprise that her Devil’s Isle series has been added to my list of favorites.
The Veil introduces a new world unlike her previously vamped-out Chicago. We open to New Orleans seven years after Paranormals started a war that devastated much of the southern U.S. Claire Connolly owns a shop in the midst of the “Zone” selling supplies and making due with what’s left of the once-vibrant city. Except Claire has a secret of the supernatural variety that could get her locked up in the containment district, Devil’s Isle, if she’s not careful.
First off, I loved the writing. Neill weaves a story of survival and community as the people of NOLA continue on with their lives despite the devastation from the war. The Veil, the border between the paranormal world and our own, has been sealed those seven years but Paras trapped in the human world are still considered the enemy — or so Claire believed. I loved that the story wasn’t just about her, but her friends as well. They have weekly dinners (adorable) and watch out for each other when times get tough. Claire’s a great protagonist with a street-smart about her that is both intelligent and sassy enough to earn her respect. Tadji is all brain and keeps to the human normalcy that is magic = bad. And Gunnar falls somewhere in the middle to balance the group out. Together they act as a little family, each with ties outward that bring the community idea through all the more stronger.
Claire soon meets Liam Quinn, bounty hunter and gorgeous male specimen that he is, and they team up to take down harmful Paras (wraiths) on the human side of NOLA. Similar to the Chicagoland Vampire books, I found the romance between them subtle and unforced, a perfect blend of tension and building friendship that is clearly leading to something more but the timing isn’t right. Plus, he’s rocking the rogue type which is one of my favorite kinds of character. They make a good team and balance the other out while still contrasting enough to make things interesting.
Their actions help keep NOLA safe as the story takes on two plots: Claire needs to control her powers before she’s found out, and her and Liam need to figure out why wraiths are doubling in number and acting…intelligent. To the first, I’m happy to report that Claire certainly isn’t a natural with her gift — she struggles quite a bit and we learn how to be a “safe” Sensitive alongside her. The mystery behind the wraiths is much more diverting and ended with a twist that completely caught me by surprise. It’s one aspect of Neill’s writing that I really enjoy: you can guess most of the mystery but you’ll never get it all. Which is perfect for keeping you engaged as a reader and ready for more, and for those of you who have yet to read The Veil, you’re in luck because you won’t have to wait long for the sequel!
If this is your first taste of Neill’s books, you should not only read this book but her Chicagoland Vampire series as well. Both are great and her writing is consistently awesome so you won’t be disappointed whether you’re reading book 1 or book 10. I look forward to seeing where this series goes and can’t wait to read what Claire Connolly does next.