DEMONGLASS (Hex Hall #2)
Paranormal Young Adult
Warning: review contains mild spoilers from HEX HALL
It's been kind of a rough year for Sophie Mercer. Not only has she discovered she's a demon, the only one in the world aside from her absentee father, but she's also been directly involved in the death of a classmate and fallen in love with Archer Cross, a young man who just recently revealed himself to be a demon hunter. Fantastic.
In order to come to terms with the year's revelations and begin to build a relationship with her father, Sophie is to spend the summer with her vampire friend Jenna as well as classmate Cal in London with her dad and the other members of the Council.
Rumor has it it Archer is also in London, destroying Prodigium (witches, shapeshifters, vampires, etc) with the other members of The Eye, and it soon becomes clear that the battle between the two factions is escalating, leaving all-out war lingering on the horizon. Sophie also discovers two additional demons in London, their presence indicating someone is dabbling in very dark magic and could possibly be planning to use them as weapons in the impending war. Never a dull moment.
Demonglass is a brilliantly executed sequel that beautifully builds on the world we experienced in Hex Hall, reuniting us with characters we remember so fondly while also introducing us to new and interesting individuals. Ms. Hawkins's sense of humor is finely honed and a vital component to the success of this story, the sarcasm and playful self-deprecation welcome interjections into a tale becoming darker and more serious as new information on Sophie, the Council, and The Eye is brought to light. The writing flows smoothly and easily, moving the plot forward at a pace that has us dreading how quickly the back of the book is approaching, wishing and willing our fingers to flip the pages a little slower even though Ms. Hawkins makes it virtually impossible to do so.
Sophie is an unforgettable heroine, her snark drawing snorts and giggles from us loud enough to disrupt those around us should we be reading in public, and her pithy comebacks often used as a coping mechanism for tense situations make her seem so very real, allowing her to transform from a mere fictional character into a trusted friend. Though many of her problems are paranormal in nature, her emotional reactions to them are universal–hurt over her lingering feelings for Archer, confusion over her status as a demon and how its changed the way she views herself, and pressure as to the future role she is to play as her father's successor. She is a character we can feel, see, and hear as though the words on the pages have morphed into moving pictures, her voice in our head as clear as if she were speaking audibly, and we read in in eager anticipation of her next display of wit or the next piece of trouble sure to find its way to her.
As with the creation of her characters, Ms. Hawkins also writes a flawless story–one that expands what we learned in book one as little tidbits of new information are deftly placed to keep our curiosity continually piqued without overwhelming us with a plethora of mysterious clues. It's very clear she is skillfully dangling a carrot in front of our noses, leading us where she wants us to go in so entertaining a way we are more than happy to blindly follow her trail just to see where such a storyteller will have us end up. We have no choice but to be involved, greedily wanting to know more while simultaneously wading through what we've already been told, trying to anticipate what will come next but being fairly certain Ms. Hawkins is already several steps ahead of us with a smile of satisfaction on her face derived from the knowledge that she is privy to so much we aren't.
Both Hex Hall and Demonglass are extremely quick reads, ones that keep us glancing at the clock to see how many chapters we can squeeze in our allotted reading time before returning to our reality. If you haven't had the chance to experience the expert use of snark in conjunction with a little romance and mystery, add this series to your list immediately, you won't be disappointed.