Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Posted On 7 January 2012

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Just finished reading Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins which is a funny, lighthearted, easy to turn the pages novel which is about a witch named Sophie and the adventures she embarks upon when she enrolls at a new school.  To be honest I probably wouldn’t have picked this particular book up because ‘schools for supernaturals’ have been a bit overdone for me personally in more recent times, but, firstly this was a Christmas present from by BBB (best book buddy) and secondly – if by bbb really rates this then I must read!  Anyway, I’m all for the recommendations these days and getting out of my comfort zone.

Sophie is a witch.  Her mother, however, is not.  And she has been brought up with a very ‘normal’ existence, well as normal as it can be when they both spend much of their time hopping from one state to another in order to hide Sophie’s abilities, usually after one of Sophie’s spells have gone wrong (or more to the point been witnessed).  However, Sophie has finally blown it – she’s used a spell which has gone disastrously wrong – and now she’s got to go to a school for supes, where frankly, although she’s a witch she’s totally out of her league because she knows relatively little (or nothing) about this world.

Hex Hall (Hecate Hall) is a school not only for witches, warlocks, werewolves, fairies and even vampires attend.  Bit of a mixed bag then and straight away (after one particular incident on Sophie’s first day) you couldn’t help but wonder to yourself just exactly how all these different elements were going to get along!  And, in that respect things get out of hand fairly quickly.  Sophie gets embroiled into a few different scenarios straight away, she develops an obvious crush on the school ‘hottie’ (who is boyfriend to the school ‘meanie’), she gets stalked by a luminescent green ghost (that only she appears to see), she gets into trouble with a few of her fellow witches after turning down their so-sweet offer (not) to join their coven and she manages to antagonise the ‘were’ element on her first day. Not looking good for Sophie.  However, she manages to make friends with the school vampire and together they have their own little most-unpopular-everybody-hates thing going on.  On top of that, Sophie really is at a disadvantage, she has no idea about the world that she actually belongs to.  She knows nothing of the history, myths or dos and don’ts.  On top of that she has a few nasty surprises in story about her own family (which makes her even more disliked) and she also learns about a couple of groups that actively stalk and kill her kind.

To be honest, if you read this type of story, I don’t think Hex Hall will bring anything new to you.  Idon’t particularly think there were any surprises involved but what I really did like was the way the story was told.  It’s quick, pacy and entertaining.  Sophie is quite an engaging character and has some very amusing thoughts.  Her vamp friend Jenna is also probably one of the best characters with her overwhelming love of pink (who would have thought! A pink loving vampire!!) and also I like the setting.  I know that schools have been a bit overdone of recent but this is quite an unusual school after all.  We also have the ‘mean girl’ element to the schools – although to be honest I don’t think they were as horrible as some characters I’ve read about before and in a way I actually felt sorry for them eventually.

In round up, this was a light, fun, self-indulgent read which I enjoyed and will definitely carry on with the next two to see how Sophie’s story develops. It did put me in mind of Ally Carter’s school for spies – in terms of the humour, the fact that I liked the characters and that it’s quite fast paced.

Criticisms – the only thing that puzzled me slightly was in relation to Archer – who was a bit of mixed bag.  He’s the school crush, he’s gorgeous, he’s a bit dangerous, but actually beneath the surface he doesn’t come across as bad.  And, I liked his character which is what made it so difficult for me to believe that he was going out with the school super-meanie – it sort of made him a bit fickle.  Just going out with the best looking and overlooking her character flaws?  Maybe I’m just being really unrealistic there.  The other thing I would also mention is that there is a bit of a cliffhanger ending which can be irritating for some (although I don’t really mind).

Anyway, all told, a very entertaining read and luckly for me no wait necessary for book 2 and 3.  As usual I’m late to the party but sometimes there is a bonus to being late!

Rating -A

Hex Hall

Hex Hall


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