Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Posted by Ames
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 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.
Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) by Rachel Hawkins
**Warning: This review contains SPOILERS!**
“The Craft” meets Evernight. Despite the fast pace and entertaining story that Evernight comparison is worrying me. I don’t want future books to revolve around star-crossed lovers I don’t give a hoot about.
Sophie is sent to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for faeries, shapeshifters and witches, after Sophie uses her magic to perform a love spell gone awry for a friend, risking exposure which could attract various dangerous hunters of the supernatural. Raised by a human mother, her only supernatural contact is her warlock father whom she’s never met bar a few phone calls. She’s completely in the dark about who she is, her abilities, her father and his family history. Bombshells are dropped on her at the worst possible moments, leaving her vulnerable to manipulation and bullying. She copes admirably with the help of her headteacher, roommate Jenna (the only student vampire) and Archer, the resident mean girl’s boyfriend.
Said mean girl, Elodie, is the leader of her coven of three and they need a fourth, a position Sophie can’t turn down fast enough after their dark display of power and general racist, elitist and bitchy behaviour. It screams The Craft with Elodie as Nancy.
From the very beginning I knew Archer would play a big role in this book but as a love interest he wasn’t someone I saw Sophie with but I was glad her crush on him wasn’t merely based on looks and insta-love and instead deepened, as they became friends after being forced to spend a lot of time together chatting and trading snarky jibes as part of their playful flirting.
However, when Archer mentions that every witch’s parents arranges a betrothal to a good match for their child at age 12 and we meet Cal, his Freudian slip about becoming a groundskeeper at the school to protect “you” and then quickly rushes to clarify that “you” meant all students, had me assuming him as her prospective fiance. After that I was looking for Cal-time. The small amount we get wasn’t nearly enough for my liking though I did perceive him to be more mature, stable and kind of adorable. His hunky lumberjack look doesn’t hurt either. I’m hoping he gets the page time he deserves in future. Archer is good friend material whereas Cal, I see him as someone more important. I hope Sophie sees that one day soon.
We left Archer with tears in his eyes as he escaped without attacking Sophie. I’m assuming he’s being manipulated somehow. His family is either being held hostage or he’s being forced to play on the wrong side -something like that. And this is why I’m worried about the comparison to Evernight. I don’t want Sophie endeavoring, risking her life, to save him. Neither do I want her pining and waiting for them to be together again. Sophie has thus far impressed me with her intelligence and snark, she’s a practical girl trying to do the sensible thing, I don’t want her to lose that because of some rebellious boy in a tricky situation.
I enjoyed the humour and fast pace. The plot was a good one. It was an easy read. My only other concern was the rushed ending. At least, it felt rushed to me. I needed more, to see it, the aftermath of the climax and the reactions of everyone around Sophie. I didn’t like the showstopping last line either -a decision made in the heat of the moment without any detail about what that would entail. It’s a hook to get you to read the next book, one that probably would’ve worked on me if not for my Evernight worries.
Sophie to her mother:
“Good luck explaining to God that you used to spank one of his heavenly beings.
‘It’s one thing to be different around people who you’re really, well, different from. It’s a whole other problem to be an outcast in a group of outcasts.’
Archer to Sophie:
“I’ll get Elodie and her friends to lay off you, okay? And seriously, try to give her another chance. I swear she has hidden depths.”
Without thinking, I shot back, “I said spare me the gory details.”
For a second I’m not sure I even realized what I’d just said. And then it sank in and I damned my sarcastic mouth strain to hell. Face on fire, I glanced over at Archer.
He was staring at me in shock.
And then he burst out laughing.
‘There was a sensible part of me somewhere that clutched its pearls and hissed that I better not give up my V-card in a cellar, but when Archer’s hands slid under my shirt and onto the skin of my back, I started thinking a cellar was as good a place as any.’
Posted on November 10, 2011, in 3✰, by Ames, Hex Hall, Rachel Hawkins, Urban Fantasy (+ bit'o romance), Young Adult and tagged 1st-in-Series, New2Me Author, Read in 2011. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.