Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

When Sophie Mercer turned thirteen, she 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 Hecate Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward prodigium, a.k.a. witches, fae, 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, tag-along ghost; and a new roommate, who happens to be the most-hated person and only vampire on campus. Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her friend Jenna is the number one suspect. Meanwhile, Sophie has a more personal shock to grapple with. Not only is her father the head of the prodigium council, he's the most powerful warlock in the world, and Sophie is his heir. 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. (From Goodreads)

Sophie Mercer is both a witch, and an outsider. She's not a particularly knowledgeable witch, as the reader finds out soon after the book begins. Of course, it isn't really Sophie's fault that she cast an out-of-control love spell. Her powers come from her father, who she has very little contact with. While her mom is understanding, as a mortal she is unable to teach Sophie to use and control her gifts. Sophie is also extremely funny. There were quite a few scenes in the book that had me laughing aloud. The most memorable in my mind happened when Sophie arrived at Hecate Hall (aka Hex Hall). Sophie's getting charged by a werewolf, and instead of screaming and running in the other direction, she shouts, "BAD DOG!" (Page 19). Her roommate, Jenna, was another great character. She's the only vampire student at Hecate, and is an outsider herself.

I also enjoyed the plot of the book. What I appreciated most was Hawkins ability to create paranormal characters who weren't cliche. She made each prodigium (witches/faeries/werewolves/etc) into a character who was more than their gift. I found it especially nice to read about Jenna. She was a vampire who drank blood, and Sophie saw that (no sparkly vamps here). I also enjoyed learning the history of the prodigium. Without giving too much away, I thought this story was particularly unique. Of course, the book was also filled with suspense, a bit of romance, and some great twists.

This was a great debut by Hawkins. It's a suspenseful, funny story that has substance. Now, I just have to wait until spring 2011 for the sequel.

Hex Hall
By Rachel Hawkins
Published by Hyperion
336 Pages
Rating: B+

5 comments:

Dazzling Mage said...

Great review! I really can't wait to read this! =D

brandileigh2003 said...

I can't wait for sequel. Great review

Nina said...

Nice! I like it already. So good to hear that the characters are great in the book and that there is going to be a sequal. going to buy it very soon!

Splendibird said...

Nice review! I loved this book - I'd been reading lots of heavy, serious stuff so it was great to read something so fun and light-hearted!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Characters without cliche? NICE! Hooray! Great review.

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