Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Genre: YA fantasy
Pages: 323
Published: March 2010 by Hyperion
Recommended for: paranormal fans, Harry Potter people :)

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.
My Take:  

I really want to go to Hecate Hall.  Come on, witches and faeries and classes like 'Classifications of Shapeshifters'-- what's not to love?  Of course, there are those aforementioned 'blood-curdling mysteries' and evil secret societies and a few serial killings, but doesn't Hogwarts occasionally have the same problems?  This book is a little reminiscent of HP had it been narrated by a witty sixteen year old girl, but in a completely awesome way.   

Hex Hall is a really enjoyable read, fast-paced and uncommonly funny.  Sophie is a great protagonist-- she's hilarious and smart and the kind of girl I could see myself being friends with.  The other characters are fully-realized, too.  I liked Sophie's new best friend Jenna, who is possibly the only vampire in all of literature to A. adore pink in all its forms, B. be a lesbian.  Upon arriving at the school, Sophie is immediately confronted by a three-girl coven, led by the enigmatic and beautiful Elodie, who want her to join their ranks as one of the most powerful witches in the school.  Rachel Hawkins's take on witches is more Sabrina the Teenage Witch (ah, yes, I used to adore that show) than anything else.  Sophie and the others can pretty much use their innate powers for anything from designing the perfect prom dress to transporting themselves via magic.  Archer Cross (Masterpiece Theater name, as Sophie remarks) is aforementioned gorgeous warlock and Elodie's boyfriend, but Sophie just can't seem to stay away.  The two of them end on cellar duty together, cataloging ancient things in the Hecate cellar, and these encounters grow to be surprisingly hot.

There are a few good plot twists in there, though I think the story is a little predictable overall.  The cliffhanger ending promises a sequel in Demonglass, which has moved way up in my TBR list, and I think there will likely be more books in the series after that.  My pet peeve with this book is the cat on the front cover.  It looks just like Salem from Sabrina!... but why is it on the cover??  I know black cats are symbolic for witches, but I don't remember reading about any pet cats.  All feline confusion aside, Hex Hall is a really enjoyable book that I would recommend to anyone looking for a fun, quick read.  I pulled a couple of quotes from the book, since there were so many good one-liners.

Cover: 3/5 
Premise: 5/5 
Characters: 5/5 
Plot: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

--"I don't know what I was expecting a vampire's room to look like. Maybe lots of black, a bunch of books by Camus... oh, and a sensitive portrait of the only human the vamp ever loved, who had no doubt died of something beautiful and tragic, thus dooming the vamp to an eternity of moping and sighing dramatically.
What can I say? I read a lot of books." 

--"So if you can heal with your touch, why are you working here as like, Hagrid, or whatever?" 

--"Sophia Mercer," Elodie intoned, "we have come to induct you into our sisterhood. Say the five words to begin the ritual."
I blinked at her. "Are you freaking kidding me?"
Anna gave an exasperated sigh. "No, the five words are 'I accept your offer, sisters."


Miss Remmers said...

I loved Hex Hall as well! I love your rating system at the bottom! I see that you are reading "Cryer's Cross" - I can't wait to see your review!

Laura (All of Everything) said...

HP fans? HP references? Hot encounters in a basement? Vampire lesbian? Sounds great!

Ava said...

Haha, that is pretty awesome that we reviewed this on the same day! I'm glad you liked it too! I liked Jenna, I forgot to mention that in my review. :) I want to read Demonglass SO bad!

Nic @ Irresistible Reads said...

Love those quotes! I have this in my TBR stack. I am so glad you enjoyed it :)

brandileigh2003 said...

Oh yeah- this book made me laugh! I love that quality sometimes.
Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

Carissa said...

This sounds like something I would like! Great review!

illusiveallie said...

I loved this book so much. It was a great read. I also like your ratings system. I agree with what you've rated. I didn't really think about the cover of it until I read your rating and I think I'm with you. I loved the cover but I think it could have been better related to the book.

Kat said...

@Miss Remmers-- Thanks! I just finished Cryer's Cross. The review will be posted on Friday. :)

@Laura-- Ha ha. All that pretty much is the formula for awesome, yes.

@Ava-- I know! I have to get ahold of the ARC...willing to trade my soul for it. Loved your review. :)

@illusiveallie-- Yeah, I agree the cover isn't perfect. It looks more like a middle-grade cover, to me, but Sophie's reflection being beneath here at that angle is pretty cool. Glad you enjoyed the book!

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