1 2 3 4

Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

H e x  H a l l by Rachel Hawkins
Release Date: March 2, 2010
Publisher: Hyperion CH
Age Group: Young Adult
Sequel: Demonglass (3/1/11)
Pages: 323
Source: Local Library
Go Buy It: AmazonBarnes&Noble

Word Blurb: Clever and charming!
Synopsis- "Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Quick Thinking: Fun, hilarious, and incredibly satisfying, Hex Hall is a definite must read! This novel is lush with a delicious array of enchanting, supernatural characters ranging from fairies to werewolves, shapeshifters to witches, and one lone vampire student, that either leave The Reader in fit of laughter or with the urge to punch someone/thing. The plot was clever and engaging, the enemies real and terrifying, and the ending riveting and frustrating, all equally the cause of my desperation for the release of the sequel. Come and join Sophie Mercer as she's sent to Hecate/Hex Hall filled with Prodigium, thrilling mysteries and shocking reveals, heartbreaking lies and betrayals, and sad, sad pasts. Delve into the world Hawkins has built, watch as Sophie comes into her own, and enjoy this delightful, entertaining read!

My Thoughts In-Depth: *Warning: May not be spoiler-free.* For such a light and easy writing style within the pages of the book, Hex Hall captivated me from the get! I don't think I've ever read a more hilarious prologue! Right away The Reader is thrust into some adolescent angst and gets to see a little bit of how Sophie's magic works and how she ends up helping people with her magic though she isn't supposed to, isn't meant to. Sadly, the spell she conjures only backfires and consequently, she gets sent to Hex Hall, a school for--what was it?--"a reformatory institution for Prodigium adolescents" (9).

First of all, that whole concept of a "reformatory institution" for wayward supernaturals is downright ingenious! I mean time and again I've seen the trend of academies/boarding schools for supernaturals in the past when I started reading YA; you've got Evernight, Vampire Academy, Dead Beautiful, House of Night, and it doesn't stop there. So, you'd think that this school idea for paranormal teens would be well, old and unoriginal. But, it wasn't. In fact, ironically enough, it seemed quite refreshing! I know, crazy, right? But, these teens are not only freaking hilarious, but they're troublemakers too. Every time you meet a character in Hex Hall, you have to wonder what they did to end up there.

In Sophie's case, it just made the whole things ten times more funny. And that's what Sophie was, funny. As the narrator, the heroine really maintained a YA voice, but more than that her thinking patterns, decisions, and feelings were all that of teenager. So, yes, occasionally The Reader wanted to strangle her or shake her and scream, Wassa matter with you?! But, all around she was entirely likeable and genuine. Next, Sophie's newest best friend, Jenna, is the only vampire student in the school which scored her extra points in my book already. I empathized with Jenna more so than I did with Sophie; Jenna's had it rough these last couple years. First, gets turned into a vampire by the girl she loved, second, lost the girl she loved to (highlight if you want to read) slayers known as The Eye of God, and third, her best friend and roommate was killed the year before. To make matters worse, the students at the school all place the blame squarely on her shoulders. Wouldn't you feel sad for her, too?

As for the other characters, they were pretty neat. The headmistress seemed pretty cool for a very strict principal, but still. I liked Sophie's mom a lot, but I'm kind of mad that there wasn't too much more of her after that. (Ever notice that families tend to not play a huge role in YA books? I have yet to read one that does.) And the bickering and resentment amongst the other students of varying races was most engaging. I was at the edge of my seat waiting for a pair of students to have a showdown or something. (Really, how awesome would that have been? I can see it: Faeries vs. Werewolves.)

I loved the romance in this one! Loved, loved, loved it. And here's why: the relationship between Sophie and Archer was developed. Here's the thing. When I read YA, I expect a lot out of the romance if there is any. It can (and has) make or break a book for me. I don't mind when the love is all-encompassing, and the attraction and connection is instantaneous. My problem comes in when it's all heat and passion, and there's no getting-to-know-each-other phase in the relationship. I'm not talking about life stories here. Just conversation. I like to know that the main couple loves each other for who they are inside as well as the connection they feel before they learn what's inside. Does that make sense? And well, in Hex Hall that happened for me.

Honestly, it was completely unexpected that Archer, Sophie's love interest, was unavailable. I mean, how often do you read about that happening (as far as YA goes)? I'm expecting instantaneous love and melodramatic declarations. But, no, no not with Hex Hall. To start, Archer's dating Sophie's enemy at the school. And as they spend more and more time together (due to a punishment service for the school) Sophie's progressively falling for Archer. And what made it sexy was that The Reader knows Archer has to be feeling the same way, but surprise, surprise, he actually really likes and cares for his girlfriend despite the attraction he feels for Sophie. And when there's nothing left to hold either of them back toward the end of the book, Bam! *fans self* All that pent-up passion leads up to a hot and steamy make-out session against the wall!

Which brings me to the ending. *sigh* Oh, the ending. How I despair. Something happens that cuts off that totally sexy scene (highlight if you want to know) As Sophie and Archer are steaming up the place, Sophie manages to get her hands on his chest. And what does she find underneath a hiding spell? The mark of The Eye of God, hunters of Prodigium. I know, way to kill the mood, right?. Ah, but it is not over after that! A super cool, kick-ass fight erupts in those last pages, which then leads up to the closing. I don't know if you'd consider the ending a cliffhanger, but I certainly do. And now I'm left here, salivating for the next installment, Demonglass. Poor me!

Recommended (Yes/No): Oh, yes! Absolutely!

Delightful Scenes/Quotes:
*cracks up*: "Of course the only words I actually managed to yell at the werewolf as he ran at me were, 'BAD DOG!' (19).
*sidesplitting laughter goes here*: "'After the Great War between God and Lucifer, those angels who refused to take sides were cast out of heaven. One group'--she pointed to the tall angel in the middle--'chose to hide it self away under hills and deep in forests. They became faeries. Another group...And the last chose to intermingle with humans and became witches.
...I turned to [Mom] with a smile. 'Good luck explaining to God that you used to spank one of his heavenly beings.'
Mom gave a startled laugh. 'Sophie!'
'What? You did. I hope you like hot weather, Mom, that's all I'm saying'" (25).
*suh-woon*:"...Archer's hand tightened on my waist...I looked up to see him studying me intensely with an expression I'd never seen before. Well, one he'd never directed at me before.
'[Elodie] was right,' he murmured.
'About what?' I said, and my voice didn't sound like mine. It was low and breathy.
'I did want to spend the ball with you.'
...His face lowered, and my heart stopped. 'Sophie--' (257)

Thanks for reading!