Monday, February 14, 2011

Review: Hexbound

HEXBOUND (Dark Elite #2)
Chloe Neill
Paranormal Young Adult
246 pages
Available Now

Lily Parker hasn't been a student at St. Sophia's School for Girls in Chicago for very long, but in that time she's met a best friend, discovered a latent magical ability, developed a crush on a werewolf, and learned her parents have been hiding things from her – things possibly related to her new status as a girl with paranormal abilities. That's a lot of change in a short period of time.

She's adjusting though, learning about being an Adept, someone who releases their magic back into the universe around age twenty-five; and being a Reaper, someone who seeks to hang on to their magic but must harm others in order to maintain it. And because there is never a dull moment in Lily Parker's life, strange new creatures make their presence known, attacking her and fellow Adepts Scout, Jason, and Michael in the tunnels under St. Sophia's.

Lily has had hardly any time to attempt to focus and harness her power over Firespell, and the one person who can teach her how to use it just happens to be a Reaper. While tracking down these new fiends and dodging Reapers, she's also trying to find time to nurse a budding relationship with Jason and attempting to uncover more information on her parents and the real subject of their research overseas. A girl's work is just never done.


In typical Chloe Neill style, Hexbound gives us a story infused with wit and humor and positively brimming with paranormal action. The words we're attempting to read have a tendency to blur periodically as the pages shake in time to our laughter-induced convulsions resulting from an abundance of snarky retorts, and we instantly feel at home with characters who are accessible, enjoyable and comfortingly familiar. Ms. Neill has a way of writing that seems so beautifully casual, as though we are surrounded by old friends in a warm, cheerful environment despite events often taking place in dark, dank tunnels with characters to whom we've really only recently been introduced. Lily and Scout's penchant for sarcasm immediately draws us in, welcoming us into the fold of Enclave Three and serving to temper the gravity and seriousness of their mission with a sass and flippancy that keeps us continually snorting in amusement.

Both young ladies are endlessly entertaining, the strength of their friendship growing with every snarky quip, and theirs is a healthy relationship we both appreciate and relate to. So often in young adult literature the friendship between two female characters is strained, the connection often fading as jealousy and pettiness infect all aspects of the relationship and leave either one or both wallowing in self-pity or guilt over the words and actions ultimately leading them toward the dissolution of the friendship. With Lily and Scout we see two young women who are thriving, their joys and pains supported by, and shared with, the other as they're able to communicate effortlessly over matters of great or little importance.

The story itself moves quickly, and while we may not walk away from this tale having learned anything profound or been pushed to the very edge of our emotional limits, we are nonetheless entertained by the bits of mystery and romance spread throughout, and find ourselves smiling upon concluding this installment for no other reason than we had a good time reading it. Though there are several different plot threads co-existing in this story, Ms. Neill handles them deftly, addressing each one in turn so we are never left completely in the dark or idly wondering, but are given just enough information to keep our interest piqued as we eagerly await additional details. Lily's life continues to increase in complexity, the family drama put on the back burner a bit in this book but certainly not forgotten, and her romantic and magical entanglements gain in prominence. Werewolf Jason and Reaper Sebastian are both significantly more than they appear to be, and both have fascinating interactions with Lily that give us pause as we ponder what will come of all the things that go unsaid while simultaneously sorting through all the ramifications of the revelations spoken aloud.

Ms. Neill's stories are always a welcome escape, a quick jaunt into a world that makes us laugh and keeps us guessing, and while we don't necessarily emerge from it fundamentally altered by the experience, we do close the back cover feeling pleasantly fulfilled, as though we were just handed a bag of our favorite candy and told we could indulge in as many as we'd like.

Rating: 4/5


  1. I know you recommended the first book but I haven't managed to get around to reading it unfortunately. There's just so many books to read and so little time (stupid midterms and essays are going to keep me busy right up until the end of the semester) :( I'm definitely going to read this series though as soon as I get the time since it sounds fun. Plus, I love books that make me laugh.

  2. I really like Chloe Neill but haven't read her YA series yet. The prospect of a healthy friendship between two girls sounds nice - and Neill is always so much fun to read.

  3. I am a big fan of snarky retorts that make us laugh plus action packed plots. Plus I really enjoyed her Chicagoland Vampires series and it sounds very similar.

  4. I have to read the first part in the series. Hexbound sounds great with its combination of humor and paranormal elements.

  5. I really enjoyed Fire Spell and am quite anxious to read Hex Bound. Glad it was such a fun read.

  6. I wasn't a huge fan of Firespell, although it did pick up for me towards the end of the book. I'm interested in checking this one out as I've read quite a few positive reviews.

  7. I didn't read this too closely because I haven't read the first book yet, but I am very intrigued by a YA Chloe Neill novel. How do you think the main character's voice differs from Merit?

  8. I've never read anything by this author, but I love that this one sounds quirky. Fabulous review, as usual, Jenny! I think I'm going to need to add this to my list!

    Happy Valentine's Day!

  9. I read the first one in this series and really liked it...Ive been caught up in her Chicago Vampires lately. I wasnt sure about reading the rest of the YA ones...but I think I will after Im done with her adult series....LOVE your review!!

  10. I really enjoyed this book!

    'Ms. Neill's stories are always a welcome escape...' Totally agree with you Jenny :)

  11. I have read any of her books, but this review makes them sound very enticing! It sounds like it's a great story - I love a plot that moves with snarky characters! Thanks Jenny!

  12. I actually have never heard of this series but I'll pick up anything you give such high marks to :) Plus, I'm a sucker for anything in Chicago, so I'm sold!

  13. Zahida - Darn school always getting in the way of blogging;) I don't know how you even have a blog and go to school, that would be too much work for me! Hope you get a chance to pick this series up in the near future:)

    Jennifer - I agree, I adore her sense of humor. I like the Chicagoland Vampires better than this series, but both are highly entertaining.

    Leanna - I think you'll like this one, it didn't blow me away, but it was a fun read.

    Alison - Lily and Scout both have Merit and Mallory's snark, though I do think Merit has a little bit more complexity to her than Lily does at this point.

    Melissa - I know you hate vamps, but the Chicagoland Vampire series is awesome - Merit and Ethan are my one of my favorite couples:)

    Tina - I liked this one more than Firespell just because we know what's going on now so we could dive right into the action instead of having the magic explained to us:)

    Jessica - Me too! I just love Chloe Neill.

    Linds - Start with the Chicagoland Vamps - not YA, but SO GOOD! You will enjoy Ethan I think:)

    Tara - These books are just short and cute and make me laugh which is always a good thing. And I love Chicago, so bonus:) Hope you give them a try!

    Nic - If you like her Chicagoland Vamps, I think you'll like these, they've got the same witty banter and strong female leads as those books. No Ethan though, which is a bummer:)

    Misha - It's a fun paranormal, not too much craziness going on, just a good story.

  14. I haven't read this yet but am excited to hear that there's mroe romance as I'm pretty much undecided between the two love interests.

  15. Sounds like another fantastic read! In July, I am going to make you pick me six YA titles to read :) I am going to mix a little YA into my reading circle towards the end of the year!

  16. Sounds like perfect escapism. I do love escapism. Great review.

  17. I haven't read Hexbound yet but I did enjoy the first in the series. I really like Chloe Neill's voice!

  18. Jenny - Definitely a little more romance in this one, but it's still more story-focused than relationship focused which I like. Though I wouldn't mind more Jason:)

    Felicia - Ohhhhh I can't wait to pick! There are so many good ones, I'll have to start narrowing it down now:)

    Juju - Me too! I love a quick, fun, easy read sometimes:)

    Mandi - I do too, her sense of humor is perfect and her stories are always fast-paced:)

  19. Sounds really interesting, Jenny. I love a plot with snarky characters. ;) I have the Chicagoland Vampire series on on my tbr, but I had no idea she also wrote for YA. Should I try this series first or the CV?

  20. Is there a Chloe Neill fail club I can join? I mean gah! Book 2 already? Where have I been?

    Well, this does sound like fun. I love good time reading books, especially ones that don't leave you feeling frustrated when all the questions aren't answer.

    I will have to keep this series in mind. Thanks Jenny.

  21. It sounds great. Thanks for the review.
    I like the font for the cover, is that totally dorky?

    It sounds like a more grown-up version of Diane Duane's Wizards series... where the characters have a limited amount of time until their magic runs out.
    The snarky commentary made me think of Paranormalcy, too. It definitely sounds like the author has some Buffy the Vampire influences.

  22. Rummanah - I love me some snark too, so she's an auto-buy author for me:) I would start with the CV series, I prefer those books to these, but both are fun reads, it's just Merit and Ethan in CV are pretty unforgettable.

    Missie - There should be, I adore her! Have you read her Chicagoland Vamps series? I think you would like her sense of humor, if her characters were real, we would absolutely be friends with them;)

    Madigan - I love the font! I always look at things like that on covers, so if its dorky, I embrace it:)

  23. I love Chloe Neill. Her adult series Chicagoland Vampires was awesome so I've really been wondering about this one. Thanks for the review, I'm going to have bump it up in my TBR. (also, *squee* River Marked is out soon!)

    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

  24. Damn.. I need to read this author. She is on my wishlist and it looks like she is going on there again. I haven't heard of the snarky and humor part on this book so you have me sold!

  25. I haven't had the chance to get into this series yet, but after reading this review it's def going on the tbr list! Awesome review as always, Jenny!

    Preternatural Primer

  26. Jen - Me too! I like the CV books better, but I just love her characters and writing style in both series.

    Melissa - Chloe Neill writes characters with witty banter I wish I was capable of, she just cracks me up:)

    Carissa - Hope you like them!

  27. I love this series. But I have not gotten my finished copy yet. I'm hoping the next book will reveal more secrets...

  28. Your great review made this series sound very interesting, will have to add it to my list.

  29. Great review!!! I need to read this one, I really liked Firespell! =D

  30. I am glad to hear it is good :D Great review!
    I read book 1 and there was certainly something there that made me want to read book 2