- Hex Hall
- Rachel Hawkins
- Released March 2nd 2010
- Book 1 of Hex Hall
- 3 Stars
After a spell goes wrong at prom night, Sophie Mercer – a half witch – is sent to a reform school for Prodigium – magical folk – as punishment by her warlock father. 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 tag-along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect. But the biggest threat may be an ancient secret society hell bent on erasing Prodigium from existence, especially her.
Hex Hall is short and I wasn’t really sure if it was going to go in the Vampire Academy direction – darker and dirtier – or the Nightmare Affair direction. Turns out it’s the latter, more light and fun to read.
The MC, Sophie Mercer, is half witch. Her mother is a human and her father is a warlock on the Council, the aptly named council that runs the Prodigium world including witches, vampires, shape shifters and the like. She gets tossed into Hex Hall for attracting too much attention to her abilities with a spell gone wrong and quickly learns that she is the most powerful person on campus but because of her informal magical training, has no idea what she is really doing. The book kinda turns into a murder mystery and then there’s a person accused, people argue about it, and Sophie ends up saving the day. The result threw me for a loop but it wasn’t mind blowing or anything.
What I liked were the characters in this book. Sophie’s roommate is the lone vampire student, the school pariah yet they are still great friends. Sure they fight, have rough moments, but I liked that both of them were immediately open to accepting each other and had each other’s backs through the book. The characters all actually felt like high schoolers, and yes the first half of the book is literally all drama but get past that and it becomes more awesome. Enemies turn out to be friends and vice versa and Sophie has navigate both the dangers of being a high schooler and of being in the world of the supernatural. She does pretty well, finding real friends and allies as well as getting a love interest that’s way out of her league.
I for one did not really like the romance in this book. Archer is dating another girl yet somehow by the end, he ends up kissing Sophie. Their relationship wasn’t cute but it was a necessary part of the book so I guess I can let it slide being there. Still, I would have liked a better love story than Sophie’s wistful lusting magically reciprocated one day in a cellar.
On the whole, Hex Hall isn’t bad. It fits quite a bit in for a short book and the interesting plot twist and cliff hanger at the end make me want to read the Demonglass, the next book. What’s holding it back is the beginning with too much high school and not enough supernatural. Still, entertaining and actually slightly addictive, a nice respite from the longer books I’ve been reading lately.