Description: HEX HALL by Rachel Hawkins is a young adult paranormal book about supernatural characters that are sent to a boarding school for misbehaving. The school itself is called Hecate Hall and is home to fairies, witches/warlocks, weres and other shifters. There is also one vampire (who in this book is not considered on the same level as the other supernatural characters – others descend from angels while vampires are abominations formed from demons – which I would love to here more of the story of how this came to be…) and she lives at the school in more of a ‘scholarship’ role to learn her place in the world. Instead of using the standard ‘supernatural’ terminology Hawkins calls these magical characters Prodigium.
The story itself is about a girl that gets sent to the school after many bad results from spells. Sophie Mercer is fifteen years old and has been a witch for three years. She has been raised by her single mother who is non-gifted and finds out from her that her father had a secret. He was a warlocks and when she hit puberty part of her inheritance would show up in the form of magical abilities. She is sent to Hex Hall once one too many spells go wrong and when she gets there she immediately finds herself in trouble.
Sophie makes friends with the school outcast, falls in love with the wrong man, and has to defend herself against ultimate evil. The story revolves around a series of mysterious deaths that seem to have an obvious person committing them, but is shockingly not who you think it is.
The second book, DEMONGLASS, just came out on March 1st of this year. It continues the story about six months after the end of the first book. Sophie has been waiting for her father to show up so that she can go through the Removal to get her powers taken away since she doesn’t want to hurt anyone like her ancestors have done. Being a demon is something that scares her completely.
When her father finally shows up, he ends up denying her the chance for the Removal, and instead insists that she spend the summer with him in London learning what it means to be a demon and that not everything about it is disaster and destruction. Sophie reluctantly agrees to this but only of Jenna can come, and her father counters that offer with saying that she can come but only if Alexander Callahan (or Cal) can come with.
They travel to London and are taken to a secluded stretch of land that holds an ancient “house” that is gigantic. Sophie, Jenna and Cal are surprised to find out that the manor house is actually harboring the Counsel, the group of people that rule the Prodigium. There are also two other demons in residence – which is a surprise to the threesome when they arrive because they were under the impression that Sophie and her father are the only Demons alive today.
As the story progresses, more secrets are revealed, both about Sophie and her family, about Archer and his being part of the Eye, about Nick and Daisy (the resident demons) and about Sophie’s powers.
Review: I loved this book. I literally read it in four hours, and that included a break in the reading so I could cook dinner for the family and eat. Hawkins has a wonderful way of drawing you in to the characters and making you hope for the best even when the worst is happening.
Her characters were very realistic, even with their super powers and abilities. The supernatural element is subtly and easily put into the novel. It’s not over powering to the point that you go “blah, blah, magic, blah blah change” and skim over all the magical aspects of the piece. It was well played in the story and even when it played important roles, or back story needed to be told and explained, it was easily put in. We learned as Sophie learned. Because she was just as much of a novice as we are.
I love the mystery of it, though I had guessed a few things a long the line. But even guessing the basis of some of the conclusion there were a lot of parts that added into it, making the guess more complicated and detailed then I would have imagined. Hawkins is very good at the twists and turns!
The second book, that has just recently come out was definitely one that has supported all I have said so far about the writing of Hawkins. It is amazing and fun and you still have to love all of the characters. Even when those characters are bad. A love triangle ends up showing up in this second book between Archer, Sophie and Cal, and it was amazing how much that Hawkins made me go back and forth between both of them (but I think I’m going to be team Cal – Archer is just too much of a cocky boy for my tastes!) and we get to get more into how Jenna lives and her love life. I’m always a fan of authors who take that still daring step to add homosexuality into their books, and it makes me love the fact that the characters are so very real.
Rating: I imagine from the gushing review you all know what this review is. I give both books 5 stars. Mostly because its hard to do otherwise when I can sit here and say that each book only took me three hours to read each and I couldn’t put them down!
Cara Mia Amore