Book Review: The Veil by Chloe Neill

A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The VeilThe Veil by Chloe Neill

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Book 1 of Devil’s Isle

Publisher: NAL (8/4/15)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Mogsy’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Total newcomer to Chloe Neill here, so I had no idea what to expect when I started the first installment of her new Devil’s Isle series. Being peripherally aware of her Chicagoland Vampires books though, I knew enough to prepare myself for a fun urban fantasy story, and I was right. Leaving aside a shaky start and a couple rough edges, The Veil is a pretty solid introduction to a brand new post-apocalyptic world featuring an intriguing protagonist.

Her name is Claire Connolly, just another young woman trying to survive in post-war New Orleans running her late father’s antique shop (which sells more emergency batteries and MREs than furniture these days). She’s also a Sensitive, someone endowed with the magic which seeped through the Veil when the Paranormals came through seven years ago to wage war on humanity. It’s a secret she guards closely, for if anyone discovers her powers she could end up in Devil’s Isle, a prison for Sensitives and other stray Paras trapped in this world after the fighting was done.

However, keeping her secret also left Claire untrained and unable to control her magic. When bounty hunter Liam Quinn discovers the truth about her, he wastes no time finding her a mentor before the magic can consume Claire and turn her into a wraith like the one that killed his sister. But then strange things start happening to the Veil, which has remained closed for many years now, and Claire and Liam stumble upon a plot to plunge what is left of NOLA back into conflict with the Paranormals, a threat they and their friends must stop in order to prevent more death and destruction on all sides.

I confess, this book and I didn’t exactly start off on the right foot. If things like large swaths of infodumps bother you, then you might experience some of the same difficulties I had with the introduction. Claire’s story about how she discovered her powers, along with the entire history of the war with the Paras following the opening of the Veil were unceremoniously crammed into the first handful of pages, without much effort to make the deluge of details less awkward or obtrusive.

However, the book also started with a party, with the characters celebrating the not-so-imaginatively named War Night, a day which commemorates the survival of New Orleans after one of the biggest battles towards the end of the war. New Orleans is a city that ranks high among my favorite urban fantasy book settings, so it was really hard to resist the boisterous and frenetic atmosphere where everyone just wants to have fun and forget the hardships of everyday life. Even though the city is a shadow of what it once was, the spirit of its people is alive and well.

My impressions of the story also improved a lot as it progressed, once we were through with laying down the groundwork. I wouldn’t say the premise is anything unprecedented and there are admittedly a few kinks in the world-building that need ironing out or expanding, but on the whole I had a good time with this book. I enjoyed Claire as a protagonist, even if she is still feeling rather generic at this point, but I do look forward to seeing her develop more of a personality as the series progresses. The character of Liam Quinn, on the other hand, I really loved; when we first met him I immediately pegged him for a cookie-cutter UF love interest, one of those mysterious and smoldering tall, dark, handsome (and boring!) types — but turns out, I couldn’t be more wrong. He’s the character I found most likely to surprise me by going against my expectations, which immediately made him the most interesting in my eyes.

I was also astonished (but not entire unhappy) to see that the romance is relatively understated. The priority here is the overall story, and Chloe Neill really takes a no-nonsense approach to pacing by limiting the superfluous drama, instead focusing on driving the plot forward so that I never lost interest.

All told, The Veil may not be breaking any new ground, but I found it satisfying and entertaining. I’m curious to see where the author will go with the world-building, but what I’m most interested in is the potential in these characters. I’m definitely on board for the next book.


8 Comments on “Book Review: The Veil by Chloe Neill”

  1. For some reason I thought this was a YA book so I was quite taken aback when I found that Claire was 24! Honestly, I wasn’t a big fan of this one. Like you, I really enjoyed the New Orleans setting and I loved the party atmosphere in the opening chapters. I’ve read a few UFs set there and I liked that Neill brought some new elements with the quasi-dystopian feel of Devil’s Isle. But I found Claire super boring, and honestly I thought Liam was pretty average too. Neither one of them had that “oomph” that I like in my UF leads and their romance (such as it was) made my roll my eyes. That said, everyone knows that UF series are generally slower to start than most so I will read book two with an open mind!


    • Claire was a rather generic UF protagonist, yeah. I’m hoping her personality will be developed further in book two! Like you said, a lot of UF series start off so-so and become great only once world and characters get established a bit more usually around books 2-3. I do plan on sticking with this one 🙂


  2. There are two things that you mentioned that make me happy and likely to pick it up. The romance is understated/not the main focus. The dark smoldering guy has surprises and isn’t boring. …oh and I love books set in New Orleans


    • Yeah, I’m not keen on most romances in UF because so many of them feel thrown in for the sake of having a love arc. I prefer romances that develop gradually and organically, so tbh I have no problem with a first book not having the “spark” between potential love interests 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This story might prove very interesting – especially the post-war, post-apocalyptic background – and your warning about the initial info-dump will certainly prove useful: without it, I might otherwise have abandoned such a book at the very beginning. Yet your review intrigued me enough to give it a try: thanks! 🙂


    • Most of the info-dumping occurred in the first dozen pages. The author didn’t waste time! But once it was all out there, things improved. I think she might have just wanted to lay it all down right off the bat.


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