by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of The Veil, along with a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore.
It’s been seven years since the Veil, a magical barrier, came down in New Orleans and the world of magic intruded upon an unsuspecting human population. After years of warfare that took its toll on both sides, the Veil was finally sealed, separating the Beyond from a world that now banned all use of magic. Essentially Ground Zero, New Orleans remains in a state of recovery, where electrical power is unreliable, cell phones all but useless, and food supplies always an unmet demand.
In the heart of the French Quarter, Claire Connolly continues to operate the Royal Mercantile, her family’s antique store that now stocks MREs, water, and basic supplies for the struggling community. Claire also recently discovered that she is a Sensitive, a human whose capability for magic was activated when the Veil came down, and who could now potentially lose control and transform into a mindless deadly Wraith. Claire’s efforts to remain hidden from the oppressive Containment is threatened when she uses her fledgling telekinesis powers to rescue a woman from a Wraith attack, but fortunately for Claire the only witness is bounty hunter Liam Quinn. For reasons of his own, Liam decides to help train Claire to use her power rather than confine her to a magical prison, and together with their new allies they begin to prepare for war.
Not only does Chloe Neill expertly create a new mythology (quickly introduced to readers far more skillfully than in this review), but she also realistically depicts a community coping with the aftereffects of war. Peace is strictly enforced by a totalitarian regime, and humans cope with the appearance of magic by taking a very rigid black-and-white stand against it. That said, Neill still incorporates an ample amount of cynical humor, witty dialogue, and hints of romance.
This is urban fantasy at its best, and Claire is a young woman who easily becomes a heroine worthy of a long series. Claire’s practice of blending in and hiding is challenged when all of her beliefs about magic are upended and she is forced to make moral choices against an inflexible regime. The pacing is fast and the plot thoroughly compelling, and secrets are slowly revealed throughout the novel that prevent readers from speeding through too quickly. Strong characters, clever humor, and a plot that brilliantly reflects the mentality of a war-torn community all unite in this thrilling début series by an always-enjoyable author.
To enter to win a copy of The Veil, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Veil,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 22, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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Click on this link to purchase this book & a portion goes to help support KRL & Mysterious Galaxy: