Claire Connolly lives in a New Orleans we wouldn’t recognize. Seven years ago the veil between our world and the world of magic was ripped open. The paranormal waged war on humans, but the humans won and repaired the veil. The paranormals left behind were rounded up and interned in what they call Devil’s Isle, where they aren’t allow to use their magic. Some humans exposed to magic become Sensitives, and if discovered are immediately taken to Devil’s Isle, where the magic eventually burns their minds and they become wraiths.
Claire inadvertently discovers that she’s a Sensitive, but hides her ability, risking not learning to control her ability–she doesn’t want to be sent to Devil’s Isle. Despite being careful, she’s seen using her powers by Liam Quinn, but fortunately he decides to help her. But that’s a risk in itself, because Claire knows little about Liam or his motives.
Chloe Neill’s new series doesn’t take long to get going, and soon we’re carried along in Claire’s story as she struggles to keep her secret, figure out Liam, and help protect the people of New Orleans from paranormals. But it turns out, it isn’t only paras they have to deal with.
Claire is a relatable heroine, who’s just trying to get by in tough times, but still wants to help people when she can. It’s easy to see why her friends are loyal. She’s strong without being annoying. Determined without being pushy. But since it’s her first-person PoV we don’t go as in-depth with the other characters as I would have liked. Liam would have been an excellent second PoV, with his experience and knowledge we may have had a better understanding of some events and people, which would have been a nice addition. But maybe it’s the mystery that Claire finds attractive about him.
THE VEIL is a good start to a new series, and tells us enough of the backstory without overwhelming us, but not getting lost. We learn about the magic Claire uses as she learns, and being new to training she has a ways to go still. The setting’s magic isn’t complicated or particularly unique, but it still matters to the story. Then there’s the city, its people, its quirks, and its uniqueness. Neill does okay with the city and helping me visualize it, but the forward movement of the story took precedence.
It would be hard not to make a comparison to another recent NOLA series, the Sentinel of New Orleans starting with ROYAL STREET (EBR review). The writing in Suzanne Johnson’s series is cleaner, and the magic more interesting. But while they’re both set in New Orleans, Neill’s city is war-torn and changed. So the vibe is definitely darker, more desperate, where Johnson’s has more humor and wit.
I suspect THE VEIL would be a good read on a night where you can sit cozy by the fire with a hot chocolate and dig in to something more gritty than your usually poolside summer reading. I’m interested to see where this series goes.
Recommended Age: 16+
Language: Not much
Violence: A few fights, but nothing gory
Sex: Kissing and attraction, but that’s about it
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