by Rachel Hawkins
Hex Hall series; book I
I've been dying to read this for forever. I swear, and when I say forever, I mean way back when it was first released in hardcover... that long.
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 Expectations: high! This book has had so much positive buzz and positive reviews, I fully expected to fall in love :)
Delivery: It was a laugh out loud read that was easy to read and entertaining :)
Hex Hall. Definitely a book that I couldn’t wait to dive into, and upon finishing, well, I had a big smile on my face. At the heart of the novel is Sophie Mercer, and man, she has skyrocketed up my list of favourite female YA characters. Her voice is distinct, authentic, snarky and pretty much as funny as I could hope for. She lights up the book with the narration and yes. I L-O-Led :P
I would say the strongest aspect of the novel is the writing as Hawkins really made Sophie’s voice shine. Setting-wise, it satiated my love for boarding school books (yes, something about boarding schools fascinate me) with a wide array of characters and fun shenanigans to keep me entertained.
I thought secondary characters could definitely have been more fleshed out, there were too many instances where I felt certain characters lacked depth, and this even counted for the love interest, Archer. I wanted to love him—to swoon for him, but I never did (yes, even with a name like Archer which is an automatic plus-a-million on the swoon scale). He fell flat because he kind of overdid the whole mysterious part, plus Sophie talking about her crush so often grated my nerves. I really loved Jenna and Elodie though, I thought both characters had interesting relationships with Sophie and were very well-rounded.
Now on to the plot.. it actually surprised me. I wasn’t really sure which way Hawkins would take the story and while I liked it overall, it never captured me. I wasn’t dying to know the mysteries or the resolutions to the sub-plots, but to be honest, it didn’t really matter. I really liked the whole witch-warlock-vampire-demon-shapeshifter parts but as soon as I met Sophie, I knew I was in. There was no turning back because she’s such a brilliant character and there’s no way I would be leaving her in the dust for another book.
Hex Hall is an entertaining novel that will appeal to readers of all ages. With mystery, magic, boys and a fabulous protagonist, I’ll definitely be reading the sequel.
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: everyone! It's honestly a book that will appeal to readers of all ages.. I think we can all agree Sophie is just awesome.
8.3/10 – because well, I loved Sophie! Seriously, she carried the novel for me and I love how easy to read this book was. Everything flowed well as Hawkins created a clever, unique boarding school with enough mystery that Libba Bray (Gemma Doyle) would be proud. Secondary characters were rather weak and the plot was at par, but it doesn’t matter because this is the perfect example of a novel in which the main character and her awesomeness can redeem pretty much anything. It's hilarious, fun, easy to read, and totally recommended!
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