Saturday, 23 October 2010

Hex Hall - Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall is the first book in the series of the same name by debut author, Rachel Hawkins. It was released in the UK on 1st April 2010 by Simon and Schuster Children’s and it is 336 pages long.

Sophie Mercer is a teenage witch, even if she isn’t a very good one. After a love spell gone terribly wrong after trying to help out a fellow classmate, Sophie finds herself in big trouble. Although she didn’t know it before, there is a place for people like Sophie who get into trouble with their powers. Hex Hall is a reform school for witches, faeries, shifters and one lonely vampire aka Prodigium.

On her first day, Sophie manages to make enemies of three of the most popular and powerful witches in the school, annoy a seriously hot boy and become the roommate of the only vampire enrolled. Students soon start being attacked and the number one suspect is Sophie’s roommate. There is more to these attacks than everyone thinks and it looks like Sophie has a lot to learn before she can figure out who is behind it all.

What I thought
I had been torn about buying this book for quite a while as I wasn’t sure that I was going to like it. Luckily, I managed to pick it up in a 3 for 2 offer in W H Smiths a few weeks back and there wasn’t really anything else that I wanted as my free book. Now, I wish I had bought it a lot sooner as it was better than I had expected.

It’s very rare that I truly like all of the characters in a book but Hawkins wrote them all so well that I couldn’t help but love them. Even the ones I was supposed to hate had something about them that made me like them that little bit more than I probably should have. There were a couple of teachers that I thought were pretty harsh to begin with but then I realised that they had their own reasons for being the way they were.

I really loved Sophie and I felt for her in the situation she had been forced into. When she arrives at Hex Hall, she really isn’t a very good witch and has a problem carrying out even the simplest of spells, which doesn’t go down well with the other witches in the school. Sophie was raised by her human mother who was no help with her magic at all so it wasn’t surprising that she didn’t know everything that she was supposed to. As she was completely out of her element, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her and hope that she got better and quickly.

Another thing that I liked about Sophie was that she wasn’t about to bow down to anyone else and do what they wanted just so that she would fit in. Elodie and the mean girl witches tried their hardest to get Sophie to join their coven but knowing what they were like, she continuingly says no because she knows what kind of girls they really are. Jenna (the lesbian vampire roommate) is probably the most hated girl in school but Sophie is determined to stick by her and believe that she is innocent. Jenna was a great addition to the story and I loved how funny she was. A teenage vampire that is completely girly and addicted to pink (in any way possible) was a bit of a shock to me but she ended up being one of my favourites.

Archer Cross was a fabulous main male character. There was a certain air of mystery about him the whole way through the story and I was never completely sure what to make of him. His intentions seem real at some parts but then at others, he seems like a different person, making me not want to trust him. The end of the book saw Archer in a kind of purgatory and Hawkins left us guessing as to what happens to him. I really hope in future books he makes another appearance and that I finally get to know what he is really all about. Archer Cross is hot, mysterious and seems like he can really kick ass! What more could you ask for?

The story was so much better than I had been expecting and I was hooked within a couple of pages. Sophie and the world of Prodigium drew me in straight away and I wanted to know more about how all of these different people were going to get along, being forced in a school together. I was so happy to see that each different species I guess you would call it were like cliques in high school. The faeries didn’t like the witches and the witches didn’t like the shifters…you get my meaning.

The dialogue is witty and humorous throughout and exactly what I would expect from teenagers. Don’t take that as a bad thing though, even if I make it sound like it was too predictable. Hawkins managed to make these teenagers seem as real as possible while taking into account their special abilities and powers. I would definitely expect to see teenage witches trying to make the most beautiful dresses with their magic because after all, that is probably the kind of thing I would be doing.

Hex Hall is a fabulous debut novel and I cannot wait for more from Rachel Hawkins. I loved this book so much that I read it in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. If you haven’t been sure about this one like me then I urge you to give it a try. I highly recommend this one!


Katie said...

I agree, I loved everything about this book!

One More Page said...

Another one that I need to add to the list - this sounds just my sort of thing.

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