The Veil - Chloe Neill

Somehow I managed to miss Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampire series, so I came to "The Veil" with no expectations other than it had been recommended by Faith Hunter, who writes the Jane Yellowrock and Soulwood series.

"The Veil" makes a promising start to Chloe Neill's new "Devil's Isle" series. The premise of the book is original and intriguing. It takes places in New Orleans seven years after the end of a war that started when "the Veil" that separates our world from the magical one was torn open by magical forces that wanted to conquer the Earth. They lost. The Veil was resealed. Nothing was the same afterwards.

I liked the complexity and plausibility of the post-war world that Chloe Neill constructed and I enjoyed how she revealed it gradually by expanding the understanding of the main character, Claire Connolly. Claire, who was in her teens when the war happened and lost her father to it, now runs the antiques store in The French Quarter that her father left her. She is trying to lead a quiet, hardworking life, honouring the memory of her father and not drawing attention to herself. Given that she has magical powers that are currently illegal and that she can't stop herself from coming to the rescue of women under threat. this turns out to be an ambition she can't fulfil.

This is a fun, light read, with likeable characters, interesting ideas and good actions scenes. It tends a little towards Young Adult in its politics-lite view of the world but it is still an entertaining read for grown-ups.

I groaned a little at how beautiful everyone had to be, especially the main male character. It didn't add anything for me except slightly clichéd romance and struck a false note amongst all the original ideas.

It works as a standalone but is mainly a set up for the series. I didn't mind that. The second book is already out and I'm looking forward to it.

I recommend this to anyone who wants some original, upbeat, urban fantasy and who doesn't mind the odd bit of eye-candy ogling along the way.