ARC Review: The Veil by Chloe Neill

When one of my favorite authors starts a new series I'm invariably filled with both excitement and trepidation. The excitement is self-explanatory--she has more ideas and she's fabulous so of course it's going to be as amazing as the books I already love! But there's usually trepidation too, because *gasp* what if it's not my taste? What if I don't like it as much as the other series? What if I can't stop comparing the new characters to the characters I already know and love?

When Chloe Neill announced that she was going to be starting a new series, and that it was going to be set in a post-apocalyptic New Orleans...well. I was just excited. No trepidation at all. I adore Ms. Neill to the moon and back, and New Orleans remains my favorite city I've ever been to, so there was no way I wasn't going to love this book.

Was my confidence well placed? Was I as excited after finishing The Veil as I was upon receiving the ARC? Do I love Claire and Liam as much as Merit and Ethan? Come with me through the jump and I'll tell you all about the first installment in Chloe Neill's new Devil's Isle series. Spoiler-free, of course.

The world that Chloe Neill is building beginning with The Veil is much MUCH darker, grittier, more dangerous, more tribal than in Chicagoland Vampires, and I really dig that. The social commentary is outstanding, clearly mirroring the tragedy that shaped NOLA ten years ago, as well as mistakes and missteps that our culture and government have taken throughout our history. One of my favorite things in literature is when an author deftly weaves our cultural threads into her work, something Chloe Neill does beautifully in The Veil.

In addition to the amazing social commentary, the world-building in The Veil was spectacular. Readers are going to complain that the pace of the book was too slow, but I thought that the incredibly rich world more than made up for the fact that it took a while for the action to build. CN describes The Crescent City in vibrant detail, showing us where we are in the city, and how the devastation of war has touched these places, demolishing some areas and changing others irrevocably. As I was reading I kept thinking that the vivid world reminded me of Stacia Kane's Downside world, comparable in the desolation and grittiness that you could almost feel. Again, a spectacular achievement for any author.

Claire is fierce!
Then there are the characters. Chloe Neill has a gift for writing females who are not just strong (although they are!), not just beautiful and smart (they are!), not just relatable (of course they are!) but also have depth, history, vulnerabilities, and heart. Claire Connolly is just such a woman, one whose power is sure to grow and change her world, one who I can see joining the ranks of my favorite heroines. It's going to be fun watching her grow into her new role as this series progresses.

Liam Quinn is obviously going to be Claire's partner in life and ass-kicking, but by the end of The Veil it's all tension, which is delicious. We do love some slow burn around here. Liam is sinfully sexy, a warrior, brilliant, and just the right level of confident that borders on arrogance. I love my cocky heroes, too. Liam has been working in the world that Claire has been hiding from in plain sight, so Liam is Claire's entry into a struggle that is so much bigger than the abilities she's been concealing. I am looking forward to seeing Claire and Liam become partners in this larger struggle, while also dancing their way toward one another.

Come to The Veil for a dark and dirty New Orleans, meet Claire and Liam, stay for the cast of colorful supporting characters. From the friends concealing secrets, to the relatives, to the blunt and hilarious fae, the characters that populate Devil's Isle are incredibly entertaining, and occasionally surprising. Mos was my favorite supporting character--I can't wait to hear who yours is, Saucy Reader!

Yep, it is!
It's no secret that I super duper adore Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampires series, insisting that every reader I know gives them a try, so it would be easy to compare this first installment in this series to my old favorite. But it is so completely different that I can't even compare. Much darker, with a shadow of war over everything, less snarky, the dangers more immediate and human, with a thick thread of social commentary that makes the entire book more real, despite the magical/supernatural premise. The Veil is a complete departure from CLV and I LOVE that. I am awed at Chloe Neill's skill and talent evident in this new venture, and I cannot wait to see where Claire's story takes her next!

Wench Rating:


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