Series: Hex Hall (Book #2)
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Summary: Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.
That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.
Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.
But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?
Review: I could not wait to get my hands on this book! I’ve been just about dying to read it ever since I finished Hex Hall and couldn’t even wait for my preorder of the paperback version to get here before I practically tackled my friend’s copy from the library. The waiting to get a copy has been killing me and I am so very, very glad that I’ve finally read it! Not only was it was a great continuation of the first book, but Hawkins’ writing improved immensely, which was one of my primary complains about the first book, and not to mention perhaps the greatest part of all, for those of you who remembered my review of the first book–all the Cal! I was just all-around thrilled with this book, and it was so much better than I first anticipated and everything I could have hoped for it to be! I don’t know if I’ll make it until March for the third book to come out, since this one had about the worst cliffhanger I’ve ever read in my life–but still fabulous, nonetheless!
What I Liked: Spoilers!
- Hawkins’ writing was incredible! She took the strong foundation she had for the first book, and totally pulled ahead of anything I expected. If you recall, I said that her writing was very immature and sounded more like a preteen girl had written it rather than the more mature voice of a girl who’s sixteen–she patched that right up! Sophie’s narrative sounds much better written, while still keeping those dorky, yet insanely funny, jokes that we loved the first time around. I wanted to cry because of the immense improvement. Had Hex Hall been written this wonderfully, it definitely would have gotten the full five stars. All in all, I was thrilled to see the growth in Hawkins’ writing, which made the book much more enjoyable.
- Any book that I’m so engrossed in that I sit still for seven and a half hours and read it cover to cover, in one night–that I stay up until four-thirty in the morning for–has to be great. It’s not just a good story, but it keeps you captivated. It keeps you wanting to know what’s going to happen and it feels like you just have to keep on going until you reach the end. And even at the very end, when you know the book is over, you keep flipping the last pages, the blank ones in the back, looking for the rest of it! You can’t believe that it’s over and you don’t want it to be over, which is one of the most important things an author can achieve.
- Even if Hawkins’ writing hadn’t improved, the sheer “enjoyability” level of the story and characters alone would be enough for you to become engrossed in this world. This world is so captivating, and there’s not a single character that I dislike (with the obvious exception of bad guys, hahah), and that’s quite a feat! I especially loved the turnaround Sophie’s dad had at the very end though, and I was crying over him, of all people! I just love it when I can feel for all the characters, and not just a couple of them.
- Last, but not least? You all knew it was coming. Dare I even say his name? Yes, Cal! Remember, in my last review, how I thought all the people who’d read Demonglass were laughing at me because I enjoyed Cal so much, and he’d probably never come back again? Well, they were actually probably laughing because I thought he’d never come back, and he was actually almost a main character this time! I either really know how to pick favorite characters, so some heavy wishful thinking on my part played a hand in Cal’s sudden claim to fame, hahah! I was so very, very thrilled when Sophie’s dad asked him to come to London with them; and I’m sure you can only imagine my reaction when I found out that Cal is the warlock Sophie is betrothed to. I wanted to die of sheer happiness! Every time he was in a scene, I just wanted to cry because I was so glad. But not only that, but we actually got a lot of insight to his character. Like how he does care about Sophie, but he’s just really good at hiding his feelings, being that stoic guy everybody is used to. He’s protective. I nearly died when Lara burst in with her speech about Cal giving up the job of protecting the Council so he could stay at Hex and be closer to Sophie. Need I mention chapter twenty-two? The entire chapter is the two of them, and he’s so ridiculously sweet. Every time Hawkins says something about Cal’s magic fading, but not letting go of Sophie’s hand, I feel myself swoon. And trying to teach her how to heal a flower? Augh, I’m getting myself all worked up, hahah. All of it was worth it at the very end, when I finally got the little handout I needed from Hawkins to show me I wasn’t crazy in wanting them to be together. That was about the best two paragraphs of my life, and Cal continued to make me stupendously happy by running back into a burning building to save all the people Sophie cares about. Epitome of perfection? Yes, yes he is. I even got some of my friends who aren’t in book club to read Hex Hall, and we’re all Team Cal. I think we’ll probably form a club or something. We have a date set to make t-shirts and cupcakes that say “CAL” on them. You’re mistaken if you think I’m joking!
What I Didn’t Like:
- Does it count if I say I wanted to throw Archer out a window every time he showed up? Not because he ruined my perfect Cal/Sophie OTP, but because it mostly bothered me that he flat-out lies to Sophie about their kiss meaning nothing at all. I understand characters that lie about their feelings. But it’s not okay with me to tell the truth all of half an hour later! When the time period is as short as that, the lie shouldn’t even have been included. Not to mention that there was next to no point at all about his “dying” scene, other than for Sophie to finally see some of Cal’s feelings (cheers!) and for them to be caught. I don’t think it really needed to be so very dramatic, since there’s nothing but drama later on, and we all knew Archer wasn’t going to die. Near death scenes should only happen if you’re able to convince the reader that the character might actually die.
- This book was more predictable than the last one. We knew Archer would come back. We knew something bad would happen at that nightclub. We knew they’d be caught. We knew Lara was evil, since her father handed off what was rightfully her family’s position to James. We knew all that and all this. I wish it had been a little more unexpected, like before, but this is really a very minor complaint, since this didn’t ruin the book for me or make it less enjoyable.
Overall: Oh my dear heavens, go find this book right now. Read this series just for this book. Even if you read the first one and didn’t think it was that great, go read this one. It’s so much better and more enjoyable and makes you feel all sorts of things! The cliffhanger might kill you, but it’ll all be worth it, I promise! I’d recommend this book for ages thirteen and up.