Monday, May 7, 2012

Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Title: Hex Hall
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall #1
Pages: 336
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Date Published: March 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Paranormal (YA)
Source: Library

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 shapeshifter.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 Review:
Witches seem to be going by the wayside in the word of paranormal literature. When they do come into play, they are typically villains or just side characters of minimal importance. WELL, I don't like that. There are a few well-established series out there, but nothing really new with kick ass witches as their main characters. So I am on the hunt. I want some new, fabulous, original witchies and I want them NOW! Which brings us to Hex Hall has been on my TBR pile for LITERALLY two years. Whether it was school, a publisher with an ARC, or just my own personal life, something always seemed to get in the way just when I started to read Hex Hall. Well, finally I was like NO! I am SITTING DOWN and reading this :) I'm glad I did because Hex Hall is super cute and a fun start to what could be an amazing witchy series.

We get to start off right on Sophie's first day of school(cue those first day of school butterflies!). Of course, Hex Hall is nothing like Sophie's last school, where she inadvertently turned the most popular guy in school into a raving, drooling, moron, who will now be obsessed over the loser band girl until he dies. Poor Sophie just doesn't know her own magical strength it seems. *sigh* So the witches council packs her off to Hex Hall, school for wayward paranormal teens struggling to fit into the human world, where before she can even get in the door, she's attacked by a moody wereboy, made fun of by the popular clique, then embarrassed in front of the cutest guy at school, the sexy, the annoying Archer...poor, poor Sophie...but things pick up quickly when Sophie meets her Vampire roommate and starts taking secret magic lessons from one of the ghosts who lives in the Hall.

I am a pretty big fan of the paranormal boarding school setting...though Harry Potter and Hogwarts pretty much made it impossible to create a better school...Some of the more recent Academy/Manor/Hall's have been pretty cliche, but there was a lot that sets Hex Hall apart from all the other magic schools.  I liked that this school actually kept the kids away from the human world. It's on a freaking island...which is cool because you really wouldn't want your renegade paranormals running around where they could possibly find a human would you? I also thought the classes were kind of cool. Though Hawkings doesn't go into as much detail as I would have liked, the classes were some of the most fun...there was everything from Ancient Scimitar Defense, to Fairy History...pretty freaking awesome.

I thought the plot meandered around a lot. I understand that the setting needs to be established and we need to get a routine down and come to understand who Sophie is before the action can really start, but it seems like there was no other plot other than "go to school, flirt with cute guy" for the first 3/4 of the book. Some stuff definitely comes into play later, like the murder of the last witch who lived in Sophie's room, but I was kind of bored because though Sophie was getting all this information, she didn't DO anything with it. I also felt disconnected from everyone in the story except for Sophie. There is some depth in the side characters, but for the most part they just seem to be there to be a sounding board for Sophie, or the love interest, or the bad-girl. They didn't REALLY have drives and motivations apart from what Sophie needed from them so I would have liked more in that area. Still, the plot picks up and the last quarter of the book is a bunch of non-stop action and twists.

I give Hex Hall 4 out of 5 Keys! It was fun, relatively light (considering it's paranormal)and had a great mystery/twist introduced in the last few chapters. I bet it could be a good start to an interesting series, though there were a few things I found a little irritating/upsetting/cliche. I hope that in Demon glass, there will be more side-character development. Sophie was a great character and didn't take herself too seriously (both as a teenager and a witch) but remained true to her self during the entire book. I can't wait to get to book two and find out more about this world, especially Sophie's Dad and the Irish Paranormal hunter chicks...they seem pretty sshweet.


  1. I have been wanting to read this series of a while. I am loving your review and may have to cave and buy this...even though I have well over 300 books in my TBR pile (Literal and e-book piles combined.)

  2. Ahhh, so glad you liked this! The Hex Hall series is one of my favorite series, despite the cliche's in it. You're right about the characters though and how there wasn't much development yet I still found the novel as a whole to be a really fun read :) Great review!

  3. I so agree with you. There aren't as many witch books out there these days in the paranormal world and witches are my favorite! I really enjoyed Hex Hall too. I thought is did well in being humorous, but serious, and it has some great characters. Thanks for the review!