Published: March 2, 2010
Rating: 4/5 Stars
"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." ~Goodreads
I have an admission to make. I am a giant cover whore. I can't help it, if I see a cover I love I have to have the book. Now, of course, I read the description and make sure the story sounds mildly interesting before I blow twenty bucks on a hardback, but the cover definitely is the first draw for me. Sometimes I even keep books that I really didn't like, just because I love the cover so much. And trust me, with my lack of shelf space, this is a sin. So naturally when I saw the cover for Hex Hall (well the American cover at least, some of the international covers are just terrible) it was love at first sight, add in a reform school for wayward magic-types and we have some real long-term relationship material here. But, as with all budding love affairs, there was some apprehension. What if it was cheesy? What if it was a thinly-veiled Harry Potter knock-off? Worst of all, what if there was (dun dun....duuuun) INSTA-LOVE?! Luckily for me and everyone else, my fears were unfounded. I got totally wrapped up in Sophie's world and thoroughly enjoyed this magical read.
- Sophie and Jenna: Sophie, our main character, is not your average YA fledgling witch. She likes having powers, isn't afraid to use them, and is pretty sure of herself. Once she gets to Hex she realizes she has some major improving to do and works hard to better herself. There's none of the usual "but I don't want to be a witch" or "I just want a normal life, why must I be so awesome? why?" crap. She has moments where she questions where her life will go, as we all do, but she is a strong character with plenty of personality to boot. Jenna is a vampire. A blood-sucking beastie who happens to love hot pink and sleeps with a stuffed lion named Bram. She is also Sophie's new roommate and the only vampire student in the whole school. Her character represents being strong in the face of stereotypes and adversity and I love that about her.
- Cliches (but in a good way): Normally cliches are frowned upon in this day and age, but I loved the classic elements of this story. It was cool to have witches that actually fly on broomsticks, vampires who (without a special talisman) can't eat garlic or go out in the sun and fairies that have fairy wings and bad attitudes. It made the book so much fun and it felt so much more familiar.
- So many surprises: I'm a sucker for twists and this book had quite a few. Maybe I'm just bad at foreshadowing but most of them caught me off guard and that always makes reading more fun.
- It was just lots of fun. Nuf said.
- Atmosphere: The author chose a great setting and I was really looking forward to a creepy, atmospheric feel to this book. However, I just don't feel like it was developed enough. I wanted to know more about the school and its grounds and I found that I could really picture much of it. I'm hoping this gets better in the next two books.
Isn't it just lovely when cover-love works out? I can't wait to get my hands on Demonglass and see where Sophie and Jenna's adventures take them. Oh and did I mention that even though this series is through Rachel Hawkins is coming out with a new spin-off series starting with School Spirits in May of this year? Yes, we don't have to say goodbye just yet. I'm so excited to see what Hawkins has planned. I haven't even finished this series and I'm ready for the next one. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the cover for School Spirits is just as awesome. My addiction continues.