Release Date: August 5, 2015
Publisher: NAL Trade
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Urban Fantasy
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.
My Chole Neill cherry has been popped and I'm far from disappointed! I put off reading THE VEIL thinking it'll be "heavy" being the first book in a new series and all. I'm happy to be proven wrong because I breezed through Devil's Isle, and it sounds cliche but I can't wait for more!
Plot & Setting
I love any book set in NOLA especially if it's paranormal. THE VEIL gets instant points from me for that fact alone. If you're familiar with fae myth, I'm sure you've read/heard about the Wild Hunt. Well imagine that happening with all sorts of Paras charging our world, bringing chaos and destruction with it, making humans paranoid with stringent efforts to regulate anything and everything that may or may not be connected to magic. This lent a slight dystopic feel to the series which added to its allure IMO.
The Myth & World Building
There's no dumping here. CNeill seamlessly wove these things into the story by incorporating them into the personal musings of the characters and through their conversations. I also eased into the world pretty quickly. The magic isn't complicated, no confusing jargons or spells here. Even the labels for groups and people were easy to remember, and the myth wasn't hard to get acclimated to as it's based on popular fae myth we frequently find in this genre. Fever series (Karen Marie Moning) is to Ireland as Devil's Isle is to NOLA.
THE VEIL is very character driven with a wide array of people and creatures which makes for an intriguing cast. You've got bounty hunters, magical people, fae, angels, the bigots, the list goes on!
Claire Connolly is a fab heroine to follow, she's a Sensitive, a person who can absorb magic, and people like her are closely watched because she can turn into a wraith later on. Claire is likable enough, she's witty but not snarky, she's clever, resourceful, headstrong, she basically has the makings of being a great UF heroine. Liam Quinn is a dreamy bounty hunter, add a Cajun accent to that and I'm putty (men and their accents, seriously!). Liam was Claire's savior and the one who taught/helped her navigate their world as a person with magic. There's a strong attraction between these two, but it looks like it's going to be a slow burn for them as THE VEIL is far from a romantic novel. I don't mind that though, I actually love it that way because it's realistic and it's nice not to have insta-love for a change.
The secondary characters are lovely as well. Like I mentioned, the cast has their own distinct personalities so each one of them gave us a good feel of what their "kind" is like. Like the fae can be playful and deceiving, the angels are more on the serious side, the bigots are the antagonists, and so on.
Conflict & Resolution
CNeill took her time building and introducing the world of Devil's Isle to us. And though there's the established red flags about Claire being a Sensitive and all the residual damage of The Veil's first fall, the real conflict of THE VEIL was revealed on the latter half of the novel. Someone wants to undo the seals and allow the rest of the Paras into our world again. Thought it was introduced late, I didn't feel like things were rushed. It still was very climactic and though there's a resolution, it's obviously not an absolute one at this point. Cliffhanger? Not so much, more like it's designed to keep us in anticipation.
So this concludes my enthusiastic breakdown of THE VEIL. Happy weekend!