Thursday, 1 December 2011

Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (Hex Hall #1)

Publisher - Simon and Schuster
Publication Date - 1st April 2010
Paperback - 336 pages
Genre - Young Adult/Urban Fantasy

Source - Library

Rating - 5 out of 5: It was amazing!

Book Info - In the wake of a love spell gone horribly wrong, Sophie Mercer, a sixteen-year-old witch, is shipped off to Hecate Hall, a boarding school for witches, shapeshifters and faeries. The traumas of mortal high school are nothing compared to the goings on at "Freak High." It's bad enough that she has to deal with a trio of mean girls led by the glamorous Elodie, but it's even worse when she begins to fall for Elodie's gorgeous boyfriend, Archer Cross, and frankly terrifying that the trio are an extremely powerful coven of dark witches. But when Sophie begins to learn the disturbing truth about her father, she is forced to face demons both metaphorical and real, and come to terms with her own growing power as a witch.

My Thoughts - I have read a lot of great reviews about Hex Hall so I was a bit nervous about starting it in case it didn’t live up to the hype. But I am so glad that I did pick it up! In Sophie, Rachel Hawkins has created an incredibly likeable and realistic main character. Sophie has been sent to Hecate ‘Hex’ Hall because of a love spell that she performed that went very, very wrong (with hilarious consequences!). One of the things that I liked most about Sophie was the trouble that she had with her magic. At the beginning of the book she was pretty inept at performing spells, and this helped me to really get a feel for her character. Sophie is also pretty clueless about the Prodigium (the name for supernatural beings, such as witches, warlocks, werewolves, fey and vampires) and this does lead to some ridicule from her fellow students at Hex Hall. She has been raised by her human mother and has never met her powerful warlock father, and whilst her mother has tried to give her as normal an upbringing as possible, the result of this is that Sophie now knows nothing about her heritage or how powerful she could really be. She is also one of the funniest characters I have come across for a while, and there were many times I found myself laughing out loud to this book.

When Sophie first arrives at Hex Hall she meets Archer Cross – a gorgeous warlock who I just happened to fall in love with a little bit. He manages to save her from a werewolf and then tells her that she is not a very good witch all on her first day. Archer is a typical bad boy who everybody at the school fancies - including Sophie. But he already has a girlfriend - a witch called Elody. Elody belongs to a coven of dark witches who are trying to enlist Sophie as their fourth member. When Sophie refuses their invitation to join the coven, they start making her life miserable (think Mean Girls but with supernatural powers!). Sophie then becomes even more of an outcast when she finds out that her roommate is Jenna, the only vampire at the school who also seems to be the main suspect in the murder of her last roommate and previous fourth member of Elody’s coven. However, Sophie doesn’t believe that Jenna was involved with the murder and when other members of the coven start being hurt in a similar way, she starts to investigate who else could be behind these incidents.

The mystery element of the story was well-written and fast-paced, with some twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. The style of writing was easy to read with some good descriptions of the characters and their surroundings. I found it very difficult to put this book down once I had started it. There is also an amazing cliff hanger at the end that has helped to ensure that I will be reading the next book in the series as soon as soon as I can.

Summary -  Overall, it was a highly enjoyable read with realistic characters, a great storyline and a brilliant ending. I highly recommend this book to any fans of YA paranormal books.

Other books in this series:
1. Hex Hall
2. Raising Demons

Other reviews of this book:
Moonlight Gleam / The Overflowing Library / The Word FiendWondrous Reads


Sarah (saz101) said...

Oh my goodness--I bought a copy of this on the weekend and now I'm SO EXCITED TO READ IT! Fab revieeeeeew!

I'm so glad I bought it now. It was a total whim, because I'd seen it reviewed favorably, but I almost didn't, based on the cover. I thought it looked kind of aimed at middle grade? Happy happy happy XD

TheReadingPenguin said...

Wow, five stars! I've been on the fence about this one too, but you make it sound highly amusing! I'll have to check my library for it :D

Chrissie (Once Upon a Series) said...

Sarah - I'm so glad you bought this one! It is such a great series and I'd recommend it to anybody! Definitely not aimed at middle grade. I hope you enjoy Hex Hall :)

Reading Penguin - Very amusing. A lot of very funny moments! Hope you get to read it soon :)

Melliane said...

I totally agree with you, it was an amazing book. I'm very curious to read the sequel, I hope it will be the same. Great review

Lynsey Newton said...

Glad you liked it ;)

Shelagh said...

Love. Love. Love this book and series! Sophie is an awesome character with sarcasm as an added special power. ;)

So glad you enjoyed it. You can check out my review to see what I thought.

The Word Fiend

Chrissie (Once Upon a Series) said...

Melliane - I have already read book two and although I didn't love it as much as Hex Hall it is still a really good read :)

Lynsey - I did really enjoy this one. Thanks for stopping by :)

Shelagh - I loved Sophie's sarcasm! Made the book a lot of fun. I've added a link to your review here :)

FABR Steph said...

Fantastic review. I so have to start this series. You make it sound even better than I was anticipating.

Chrissie (Once Upon a Series) said...

Steph - This series was way better than I was anticipating! It's always worrying to read a book that has been really hyped up. I hope you get to read it soon :)

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