Monday, August 30, 2010

Review: Hex Hall

HEX HALL (Hex Hall Series #1)
Rachel Hawkins
Young Adult
323 pages
Hyperion Books
Available Now

Cast one teeny love spell to help someone less fortunate at prom and what happens? If you're Sophia Mercer, you end up at a boarding school for freaks. Well the brochure would probably say "magically gifted" or Prodigium, but Sophia knows what the fancy moniker really means. She's considered a danger, one who's unable to control her powers and is drawing too much unwanted human attention. So it's Hecate Hall for her.

Sophia's known she's different from the day she turned twelve and came into to her witchy powers, so her social pariah status at human schools has been bearable due to her known fundamental differences. Hex Hall should be different since it's students are vampires, shifters, fae, witches, and warlocks. Soon, however, Sophia finds that one school is pretty much the same as the next. The beautiful, vapid girls are still popular. The hot boy is still swoon-worthy, but ultimately unattainable, and words hurt as much coming from a member of the Prodigium as they did from the mouths of human peers.

Being raised by a human mother has put Sophia at a distinct disadvantage, as now she's even more of an outcast than she was in the human world. She doesn't understand her powers, she's behind in the history of the Prodigium, and everyone around her seems to know a little more about her mysterious warlock father than she does. Her inexperience with witchcraft isn't the only problem she faces as shortly after her arrival, female students are found drained of blood with puncture wounds in their necks. All signs point to Sophia's vampire roommate, but more goes bump in the night at Hex Hall than the students themselves.


This story is utterly bewitching. Forgive the pun. Sophia positively bubbles with a snarky effervescence that is completely charming and instantly alluring. Embarrassing episodes plague her first day at school, and her internal dialogue of sarcastic quips endear her to the reader as we have no choice but to watch as she struggles to give off an air of confidence and nonchalance we've all attempted to project when placed in similar situation. Though her circumstances are decidedly dissimilar from anything we might have experienced, her thoughts, emotions, and reactions are so very human and therefore so very relatable.

Archer Cross is your average bad-boy heartthrob. He's gorgeous, egotistical, irritatingly talented as a warlock, and of course dating the most beautiful girl at Hex Hall. Typical. Though his character is certainly nothing new, there's still that quality to him that makes him fun to hate while we simultaneously hope he switches his romantic attentions to Sophie and tells his prissily perfect girlfriend he's been mistaken all this time. He too has a penchant for sarcasm, and the banter between him and Sophia is as entertaining as their ever-augmenting romantic tension.

The story itself moves at a very rapid pace, the humor and snark beautifully balanced by a formidable threat and a genuine menacing presence permeating the halls of Hecate. Much as the students share a duality in their very nature, they also possess a duality in their personalities. The face they show to the world isn't necessarily the same face reflected in the mirror. Beauty often hides fear and insecurity, just as plain and unassuming can mask an unforeseen strength of character.

Hex Hall has as many facades as the students it houses, the walls thick with secrets and the halls lined with questions, making it an ideal setting for a tale laced with unlikely friendships, tempered violence, dark witchcraft, and impossible romance.

I personally can't wait to see what's to be revealed in book two as we delve deeper into Sophia's family history, her tie to the school itself, and the inevitable choices she'll have to make to finally find a place to belong.

Rating: 4.5/5


  1. I read this one last week and I loved it! I can't wait for book two either!

  2. Oh, fantastic! Your review is the only one that makes me really want to read Hex Hall. I love the secrets, I love the drama, I love the witchcraft!

  3. Ohh glad you liked this one. I picked it up from the library based on John, from Dreaming in Books, review. I just haven't gotten around to it yet!

  4. I thought this was cute. It didn't bring anything new, but was just a pure fun read.

  5. I'm glad to hear you liked this one! I haven't tried it because I'm afraid it will be too similar to many other books, but perhaps now I'll give it a go :) Great review!

  6. I've been wanting to read this forever!! I'm so glad its good!

  7. I love this book too! Such a great read :) Nice review.

  8. Hex Hall sounds wonderful! I'm glad I got it as a gift then. Excellent review!

  9. Hmm, this sounds interesting! Sounds like Darkest Powers series meets Harry Potter... both of which I love. So maybe I'll look into this one. :)

  10. I really liked this book too! Fun to read other reviews on it.

  11. Ooh I have this from the library and now I'm even more excited to start it! Thanks for the review!

  12. I've seen this book and really want to read it :)

  13. I agree- this was an enjoyable read. I love it when books make me laugh.
    Thanks for the review.

    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  14. I recently read this one. It was a pretty good and fast read. I even finished the second one, Demonglass, and I hope to get to the third one before the year is done.

    Mad Scientist @ Steampunkery & Book Reviews