Book Review: The Beyond by Chloe Neill

Posted August 16, 2019 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 4 Comments

Book Review: The Beyond by Chloe Neill

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Beyond by Chloe Neill
Genres: Apocalyptic
Published by Berkley Books on June 4, 2019
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Kicking It: These Boots are Made for Stalking, Blood Games, The Veil, The Veil, Midnight Marked, Dark Debt, The Sight, Blade Bound, The Hunt, Wild Hunger, The Bright and Breaking Sea, "Slaying It"

Fourth in the Devil’s Isle post-apocalyptic urban fantasy series set in New Orleans and revolving around a core group of friends ranging from Sensitives to Paras to professionals.

My Take

I gotta admit, this reads like the end of the series. A good thing really, as this installment is one of the most dull with minor conflicts and few deep events. Sure I was absolutely appalled by the Prefects’ attitude, but that was probably the most exciting conflict.

The conflict between Claire and Liam seems minor while Malachi’s and Rachel’s seems more intense. I’d’ve thought the first person protagonist point-of-view from Claire’s perspective would have made her issues more exciting, but…no.

Dang, it’s more action than character-driven, but it’s a close call, for the pace dithers between fast and slow — it’s so uneven that I mostly read straight through to get it done.

The hurricane, sure, it was a worry. The “party” was kind of fun, especially with Liam’s surprise for Claire, who has been reminiscing about what would have happened if the first battle had never occurred. If she’d never met her friends. Revelations about home and love.

Elysium is so perfect, so docile, so unforgiving of dissent. Differences aren’t tolerated. A static world where nothing will ever change. It’s why Malachi prefers Terra (our world). And Claire figures it out, that this is why the war was begun.

The evolution of that “perfect” Elysium sounds like the conflict on Terra about magic. The Beyond’s beginning paralleled the original invasion of our world, with magic users demonized, tortured until a good use was found for magic.

There’s a good bit of weaseling going on between the good guys and the Prefects with Malachi accusing them of cowardice and being, generally, major jerks. And I gotta agree with Malachi, these guys are so beyond decency. I wanna hit ’em over the head!

I do love that Malachi puts Camael in his place. Jerk wants his cake and eat it too. Well, I guess he is consistent, as that’s what he wants with Elysium too.

Annnnd here we go again. A soldier pissed off because the other side killed a fellow soldier. It’s a standard meme that appears in so many stories, and unfortunately, it does seem to happen too often in real life.

The Story

The Veil was torn and a yearlong battle was fought between Paranormals and New Orleans eight years ago. That battle ended but only a year ago, Sensitives were still illegal and Paranormals were imprisoned. Seven months ago, war broke out again.

Then our world finally realized that the Seelies in the Court of Dawn are the enemy paranormal while the Consularis are not the enemy, having been forced by the Court to fight.

Now, a powerful Seelie has escaped and the war is back. All that can save New Orleans, the world, is a new magical weapon. Claire, Liam, Gavin, Rachel, and Malachi are determined to go into the Beyond, a world full of hostile magic and dangerous foes, and retrieve the Abethyl.

For New Orleans hangs in the balance, and the storm is growing closer . . .

The Characters

Claire Connolly‘s attention is no longer focused on her family store, the Royal Mercantile, but on teaching other Sensitives how to work with their magic. Scarlet is Claire’s 1940s curvy red Ford. Tadji is Claire’s best female friend and now runs the former high-end antique-store-cum-general store for Claire. Mark Connolly had been Claire’s father, a Sensitive, who had secretly bought and transformed a gas station for his cache of supernatural objects. Erida had been a Consularis and Mark’s lover.

A bounty hunter and scout, Liam Quinn‘s unwanted magic came via a strike during battle, enabling him to mirror another person’s magic. His blind grandmother, Eleanor, received her power in a similar manner and is now living in Charleston. Foster is Eleanor Arsenault’s Labrador retriever. Gavin is Liam’s brother and a tracker.

Malachi is an angel and a commander in the Consularis who is friends with Claire and co.

Delta is…
…a rogue group formed by Sensitives when they discovered PCC’s lies. Members include Darby Craig, a scientist; Claire; Will Burke, a Sensitive with the ability to disappear due to his particular gift and is dating Tadji; Liam; Malachi; and, Gavin. Lowes, a Cyclops?, is Darby’s assistant.

Devil’s Isle was…

…known as the Fabourg Marigny and is now the neighborhood-turned-prison-turned-neighborhood for all Paranormals in the charge of the PCC. A prison for some, a refuge for others.

Paranormal Combat Command (PCC) is…
…in charge in New Orleans and has evolved into Unified Combat Command (UCC). Containment is a military division which is in charge of the prison and the war zone with its base in the Cabildo in front of Lafayette Square. Their agents include Jefferson and Baumeister. Gunnar Landreau is second-in-command, their lead strategist, and Claire’s best friend. Captain Rachel Lewis is Containment’s operations director with an unwanted interest in Malachi. Lieutenant Shon Batiste is in charge of the outpost nearest the Veil. Soldiers include Dave, Claude, and Pete.

The Paras include Moses, short with horns; Solomon, who is Moses’ cousin and the former leader of the Para underground; and, Lizzie, a fire Para, is a nurse at the clinic.

Mariah is one of the Sensitives. Cameron “Cam” is Gunnar’s romantic interest. Dr Cantrell and Stella Landreau are Gunnar’s parents. Gunnar’s siblings include Zach in Atlanta and Emme in New York. Joanne was injured in an attack. Tony Mercier is Big Chief of the Vanguard, a crew of Mardi Gras Indians. His wife, Clarice, and oldest son had been killed. His three other children left.

The Beyond is…
…another world, the world of Paranormals, both Consularis who supported a unified, peaceful Beyond and the Court of Dawn who wanted something unique. Elysium is a city of Consularis. The three ruling Consularis are known as the Precepts: Camael, Uriel, and Eae. Terrence is a magi who shapeshifts into a small deer. The Law for Peaceable Assembly prevents Consularis from assembling.

The latest enemy is Aeryth, an air spirit seeking vengeance for her sister, Callyth. The agents who had questioned Callyth had been Lawrence Pelletier and Jack Broussard .

Nephilim are fairylike creatures with delicate wings. Peskies are tiny Paras with wings. Sensitives are humans affected by magic. The Veil is a ribbon of magic that separated the Beyond from the human world, keeping magic on that other side. The Devil’s Snare — a combination of the Abethyl and the Inclusion Stone — is a weapon designed by the Consularis to suck out a person’s magic. The Zone encompasses Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, and the eastern half of Texas. The cold and bitchy Laura Blackwell, Claire’s evil mother, is in prison.

The Cover and Title

The cover has a dark brown background of a sky with a brick house on the right, its iron balcony on the second floor and lit up by sconces that turn the building yellow. On the left, it’s Claire in her black leather jacket, her wild, long red hair blowing in the wind, her long face looking straight at us, marked by black freckles, a nimbus of oranges and yellow swirling around her upper half. A yellow info blurb is centered right of Claire’s cheek. The author’s name is below it in a light mint. The title starts at Claire’s waist in white with black swirls crossing some of the letters. Below this is the series info in yellow under the “E”.

The title is their destination, The Beyond, where all their final hopes lie.

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4 responses to “Book Review: The Beyond by Chloe Neill

  1. It does tidy the series up, but not very convincingly. I couldn’t decide if it was the end or … Yeah, there’s plenty to read out there, Laura, don’t waste your time on this one.

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