Monday, 3 October 2011
Review- Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Summary (book jacket):
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, aka 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.
Cover: I like it. I love the way you can see two Sophies in different forms, and also because it’s totally relevant to the book.
I was instantly struck by how Harry Potter-like the whole idea of the book was- witches, warlocks, a magical boarding school, an elegant Dumbledore-like headmistress, and even a groundskeeper like Hagrid (only the one in Hex Hall is totally hot and a white warlock).
There. I’m done with my This-is-so-HP spiel. Let’s get on to the good stuff.
I actually really liked Hex Hall, even though I initially didn’t like how similar it was to the HP series. But really, anybody who writes a book about a boarding school for witches and wizards (in this case, warlocks) is bound to a) be influenced by Harry Potter, and b) therefore going to initially come off as an HP spoof. That’s just how it is, which is probably why there aren’t many HP-like books out there as far as I know.
While both these points were true for Hex Hall, thanks to my prejudice and the way things are, I did like the murder and almost-murder mysteries, and would you believe, an experienced storybook sleuth like me (thanks to Nancy Drew) got put in the wrong direction as to the identity of the killer not once, but twice. A book like that has got to be an amazing mystery, because I only figured out who the killer was in the third quarter of the book, shortly before it was revealed.
So yes, great plot with just the right amount of romance but enough pining to make me relate. So prepare to be skilfully misled while reading the book.
I liked the MC Sophie a lot more than I thought I would. While some of the jokes weren’t all that funny, there were some cutesy-funny parts with Archer, who, might I mention, is hot despite his curly black hair, which I thought I didn’t like until Archer came along. Archer. Nice name, right?
Mrs Casnoff was a surprisingly real character, given that she reminded me of Dumbledore minus his philosophical words. Jenna, the pink-loving vampire- she was pretty real and believable too. I would comment on her suspect status, but I’m sure that would equal a spoiler. *sighs*
Parting Thoughts: I liked Hex Hall way more than I thought I would. It was nice and refreshing for a fantasy based on witches and all, not just the regular vampires/werewolves/faeries thing going on right now. So, yes, definitely worth your time, and I can’t wait to read the sequel, Demonglass.
Rating: 4/5. I came away smiling- and this is NOT a spoiler, it’s just that things were nicely tied up at the end with a cliffhanger that made me wish my library would hurry up and get me Demonglass already. So that’s good. Go read this one- I love Rachel Hawkins now!