Series Review – Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

book-review-hex-hall-trilogy

Hex Hall, Demonglass and Spell Bound (Hex Hall #1, #2 and #3)

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Publication: May 28th 2010, March 1st 2011 and March 13th 2012

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Format: Kindle Edition 337 pages, Kindle Edition 365 pages and Kindle Edition 233 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Read: November and December 2016

Rachel HawkinsGoodreads

Hex Hall Cover

Hex Hall

4-stars1

Synopsis
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father-an elusive European warlock-only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus.
Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Critically

Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This whole book is just pure fun and entertainment. It’s a really simple concept and a simple plot but it’s fast paced with some action. This is a re-read for me and I have to say that it was just as fun the second time around. The world and the paranormal elements are really interesting. However, this is more on the younger side of YA.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style is really simple and easy to read. It’s fast paced and entertaining. The main character’s narration is really funny, she’s really sarcastic which is fun to read but at the same time she can get a bit juvenile and immature. She is a teenager so I can’t really fault her that much though it gets kind of annoying after awhile.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
This is probably my biggest problem with the book. I liked the majority of the characters, specially the main character, but there are also others that felt like stereotypical, card board cuts outs of the kind of people you’d usually find in a high school somewhere. Also the majority of the relationship feel flimsy, they appear to have no real basis in companionship. And there’s girl hate which I really don’t appreciate because you can dislike someone for various reasons, but not just because they are a girl and they have a cute boyfriend. It’s not necessary. And the boy aint that cute anyway.
Sophie is a really young protagonist so like I said above, she can act immature, but yeah, it’s understandable. She’s really naive about the world she’s walking into which causes a lot of sucky situations for her and bullying opportunities for other people which was really upsetting. She’s really confused but she’s also really spunky and sarcastic, she rolls with the punches really easily which makes for an entertaining story.
Like I said above I feel like the side characters were kind of stereotypical and too simple. There wasn’t much to them and their relationships. I wanted more substance, more depth to them that I just did not find while reading. This is a book that’s just fun and entertaining to read but not really there to make you think deeply about anything and the characters reflect that.

demonglass-cover

Demonglass

4-5-stars1

Synopsis
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 Acher to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
Again, another book that’s just fun and entertaining. This one however is a lot more intense and mature. There’s so much more information about the Prodigium world and their laws, how everything is meant to work. It’s still fast paced and is super easy to read. My biggest complaint in this series is the romance. It bothers me so much, so cliche and just like the stereotypical paranormal romances that I’m just not a fan of. Would enjoy it more without it but that will never happen haha.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
Really enjoy the writing style, specially because it’s just a fun book. The writing is fast paced, easy to read, simple and funny. The narrative goes through some growth because the main character does as well. It’s a lot more emotional and intense thought it doesn’t lose the entertainment value. The main character is still really sarcastic though also indecisive as she’s struggling with some tough decisions in this book.

Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This section got a lot better in this book. I think the author added a lot more layers to the characters’ personalities which added a lot of needed complexity and depth. There are also adult presences which are hard to find in YA books so I really appreciated not only adults, though not all of them are very nice, but also parents and parental relationships with their children and the importance of them. That was awesome.
Sophie has definitely grown. The events of the first book have made her more mature though she’s done something that I tend to do as well which is go from one extreme to the other, using her magic and trying to perfect it to now wanting nothing to do with it. She’s really torn about what she should do and really scared about what’s going on. She’s much more powerful than she realized and just as stubborn as she showed in the first book which might not be the best combination. Though I really like that she’s kept her sass and spunky personality.
The side characters are improving. There are a few that I really enjoy reading about and some that I’m still not a fan of. There’s a lot of new faces in this book as well which change the dynamics of the story and that was interesting to read about. There should still be more development with them in my opinion, but it’s improving.

spell-bound-cover

Spell Bound

4-5-stars1

Synopsis
Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.
Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.
Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
The plot of this book, like the ones before, is really entertaining though this one is also much more serious. It’s fast paced and intense. There’s a lot more focus on family and Sophie’s relationship with all the people that make up her family. This one also focuses a lot on her friendships and her little squad that are trying to help her save the Prodigium world, as always haha. I think the conclusion was really satisfying but I am very angry at one particular thing that happened and I’ll never get over it.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
I really like this author’s writing style. It’s really funny, sarcastic and easy to read. It’s fast paced and simple. This one in particular is a lot more intense and emotional. There’s a lot more action and the culmination of the series makes the writing a lot more powerful.

Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
By this time this book rolled around, I became a huge fan of this cast of characters. I’ve really enjoyed their dynamics as a group though I can still find a lot of problems or things I can complain about in regards to the characters in particular, but I really enjoy the group.
Sophie is a ball of nerves in this book. She’s worried and scared out of her mind, she’s got a lot of responsibility on her shoulders and no idea how to pull it off. However, she’s determined to save her friends and her family and she’s hoping to use her ultimate powers to make it happen. Her stubborn nature is alive and well and I like how that pushes her beyond what she thinks she can do.
I’m am such a mess over the side characters! There’s one that I love more than any of them and I am just emotional over him. I really like the majority of them and like I said above, their dynamics as a group are great. Something I haven’t mentioned in awhile is the romance, which I don’t like. This is one of the only books where I ship the guy in the love triangle that doesn’t win haha. And he is so much better than the actual guy she picks and he has the worst fate handed to him and it makes me so much! This book’s emotional section might be spoilery so beware.

Emotionally

I’ve been looking forward to re-reading and finishing this series for awhile. I’m so glad that I finally did because it’s just a really fun and entertaining read.

It was really fun to get back to this first book and its entertaining world though the narrative was definitely much younger than I remember. The plot is fun but predictable. Sophie learned she was a witch three years ago but after several spells gone wrong, she’s sent to a reform school for wayward paranormal/supernatural teens called Hecate Hall or Hex Hall for the students who go there. This book is just plain old entertaining, there’s nothing really deep about it. It’s just fun to read. Since this was my second time reading the book, I wasn’t really surprised by the twists and turns the story took though I could definitely appreciate them. I’d forgotten some things since I last read them, specially since that was when I was in middle school, but most of the major plot points I remember very well. In general, the plot was predictable and kind of juvenile, which is fine because 1. it’s YA and 2. it’s an older book, so I’m much more forgiving to this one than with a book that is released this year for example. The main character has a really young narrative, kind of immature, indecisive and petty. There’s also a lot of unnecessary girl hate going on which is totally unnecessary but also totally something you do when you’re young and don’t know better. Though I think it’s something that shouldn’t be perpetuated in books specially for teen girls because it makes it seem like its something okay to do always. Despite these writing draw backs, it’s simple and fast paced and the book flies by so fast! It’s an addictive read because there’s so much action and there’s a lot going on. Sophie is a really funny and sarcastic main character so that definitely helps the story move along quickly. I really liked the world and the unique way the author describes the teens and their abilities. After so many different paranormal books, specially at the time that this book came out which was the height of YA paranormal romance, it gets hard to have inventive ways of recreating something that so many people have done before but I really liked the author’s take on it. From the name Prodigium to all the different kinds to their ruling system and how that works as well as the antagonist and the people that want them gone, it was all interesting and intriguing and I wanted to learn more about it in this book. Specially the governing body, aka The Council, and how that works and everything. I hope to get more information on that in future books. I liked Sophie. She’s really spunky and snarky. I liked her personality and though she deals with emotion or harsh situations with humor and doesn’t really face them head on, it kind of made her more endearing and real. She has a bit of an attitude problem, and a problem with authority, and she tends to act immaturely about some things but she’s a freaking teen. I believe she’s fourteen in this first book so it makes sense for her to act that way, but I really want to see more growth, more character development from her. The side characters in this book were my biggest problem because they felt really simple, stereotypical and underdeveloped. You have your group of mean girls that try to take the new girl under their wing except she doesn’t really want to be a part of their group. You have a sexy, unattainable bad boy who kind of sort of flirts with her but not really since he has a girlfriend but she gets a huge crush on him anyway. It’s overrated and typical and kind of boring. I really liked Jenna, who became Sophie’s best friend. She’s a lesbian vampire and kind of an outcast and I really loved the bond that the two of them cultivated in this book, almost like it was them against the world. So great to see female friendship in YA. Archer is annoying as hell. I don’t like him, I’m tired of characters like him. He’s just overrated and overdone at this point and I am very glad he disappeared towards the end and I hope it stays that way. Elodie is a typical mean girl and I think that’s such a disservice to her character and the potential she had. The ending was not favorable for her either and that really sucked.

I’m really glad that this second book got a lot more emotional even though it still managed to keep its signature sarcasm and humor. The plot is exciting. We follow Sophie, who is sent to spend the summer with her Dad in the hopes of learning more about her heritage. London is flooded with different mysteries and strange happenings and Sophie tries to figure out what’s going on. I really enjoyed this second book, it was my first time reading it and the tone was much more serious and somber. Sophie is dealing with a lot of emotional turmoil, she’s learned new things about her identity and her family history that she didn’t know before and she isn’t handling the news very well. She wants to be rid of her powers and her parents, in a last ditch effort to try to convince her to reconsider, send her to spend time with the Council and with her Dad to learn a lot more about where she and her powers come from. The plot was full of mystery and action. There are so many things going on and the main character is just trying to piece everything together and keep herself and the people she loves saves. There are so many different little hints and clues and it kept me guessing the entire time. There are some really great action scenes and lots of drama, which was highly entertaining. I really enjoyed learning more about the Council and how they worked and more of their rules and such. I wanted more of that in the first book and I’m glad we got it in this one. Also I really liked learning about demons and their history, because it has now become such a huge part of not only Sophie but of the series plot as a whole because of two of the characters were introduced to in this book. It’s so interesting to see where they came from and what happened to make them so fear and at the same time coveted. One of my favorite parts of this book is seeing Sophie build a relationships with her Dad. Not only is it something that rarely happens in YA, but it also gets a huge amount of importance as the book goes on. It really connected with me because that was something that I had to do with my own Dad, build a relationship from scratch pretty much because I’d spent the majority of my life apart from him and the struggles were really well portrayed. It was sweet and heartwarming and I definitely think the YA genre needs a lot more positive and healthy parent and child relationships. I was definitely not expecting the book to end the way it did! Those last few chapters were so intense and crazy! They left me breathless, they left me wanting more and dying to read the last book! I really enjoyed reading Sophie’s growth in this book but I am not of fan of the decisions that she makes. She’s finally, slowly but surely, embracing her powers which is great to see. She’s taking the time to really learn about them and to learn that she can control them and not the other way around. I love her relationship with her friends, that’s one of my favorite parts of this series, how friendship plays a big part in the dynamic of the group. However, she’s keeping a lot of secrets which definitely does not help her at all in trying to figure out was going on and definitely makes things a lot harder than they need to be, but it wouldn’t be YA without that would it? haha. Now to the side characters, I have my favorites and ones that I wish had never come back at all, but I think the general group of side characters has improved as a whole. There’s been some unexpected developments with them as well as individual growth and unfortunately, a love triangle but what can you do? Jenna I absolutely adore. I love how she’s such a dichotomy. She’s really torn in this book and kind of hurt about some things but she’s such a loyal friend and I love how she and Sophie are together. Cal is a character were get to know a lot more in this book though he was a part of the first one. I loveee him! He’s amazing, so sweet and kind and just a genuine soul. This is where I knew I was gonna be on the wrong side of the love triangle because why would a girl ever pick the nice guy who doesn’t have any trouble following him around? Since when does that happen in YA really? I really hope I’m wrong because he’s the best male character in this series. Archer is back in this book, no I was not happy about it. He’s really annoying and condescending with Sophie. Their banter is much more frustrating than it is cute and he doesn’t really break out of the typical bad boy persona at all and I just don’t have the patience for it. I was really surprised with the way we got to see some of the past characters that I wasn’t even planning on seeing and that was really interesting.

I was really looking forward to this third book and finale and I really it enjoyed it overall, but one part in particular made me very angry and be aware that I’m talking about it here. The plot is intense. We follow Sophie, who after accepting her heritage as a demon, has to flee the place and people she considered safe and she runs to her mom who happens to be behind enemy lines. I have a hard time with endings sometimes, I get let down by them because of my expectations but I really liked this finale. It was in tone with the rest of the series, meaning funny and entertaining, though it also has a lot more serious and mature content. It’s more intense and emotional because we’re reaching what appears to be a final battle. There were quite a few twists and turns that I did not see coming at all! Sophie’s mom connection to Prodigium hunters was not something that I expected at all but it makes a lot of sense specially knowing why her parents separated in the first place. The Brannicks were a surprise and I really liked them as characters. They’re all tough and no nonsense kind of women even the younger ones. I really liked seeing their family dynamics and the peculiar character they host with them and I kind of want to learn more about them. I also didn’t expect Sophie and everyone to suddenly get sent back to Hex Hall. That was never in my head as a possibility at all! It was shocking and kind of tilted the confrontation in an unusual direction and that got me much more interested in knowing how everything was gonna finish. However, I feel like the climax was a bit of a let down. I was expecting this big huge show down and lots of fighting or at least some spell throwing but that’s definitely not how things played out. Things happened way too easily, the main character who swore she was the one who had to save everybody didn’t actually do as much in terms of fighting/saving people, the hardest part of the whole confrontation was done by someone else and that was really frustrating! My expectations were so high because it is the culmination of the conflict spanning three books and you think the main character who’s supposedly the most powerful is gonna save the day and then she doesn’t. It’s not like she doesn’t do anything at all, but her part is so small compared to the one from someone else that it was frustrating. And I freaking HATE the consequences of the whole climax and what ended up happening to one of my favorite characters from these books. HE DIDN’T DESERVE IT, DAMMIT. You could say that I am a bit bitter. However, towards the last few chapters, things got a bit better and some of the scenes were quite sweet overall. I think that Sophie is a very atypical main character. While she has her moments of teenageness, she’s generally anxious, nervous and uses sarcasm to deflect those emotions. It makes her seem her age which doesn’t happen a lot in YA, the teen seems completely okay with their supposed destiny but Sophie really struggles with what she thinks she’s supposed to do. I’m gonna miss her point of view honestly. I came to really love the side characters a whole lot, they’re one of my favorite parts of this series. Jenna is my favorite. She’s such a great friend and so brave specially since she could’ve gone somewhere else and been save pretty much the entire series haha. I love her, she’s awesome. I am very, very upset about Cal. I will never get over it. This is the second time that my favorite male character doesn’t get picked but ends up being given the worst fate possible! And no Elodie is not a good enough consolation prize for me. She improved in the last two books but she’s not good enough for him! At all! And then there’s Archer, alive and well and annoying the heck out of me still. Would have rather not have had him in the story at all but who cares what I think?

Overall, this series was really fun to read and I’m glad I finally finished it. The plot of the books was really entertaining and while they kept getting darker and more intense as the story continued, they kept their humor and fun attitude. The main character is really funny and sarcastic. I loved her attitude and her growth throughout the story. The side characters were so interesting and fun to read about. I loved the friendship element and the parental relationships that were as important to the story as everything else and I think there should be more of these things in YA. I would recommend the series if you’re ever in the mood for a fun paranormal romance even if that second part is way too predictable.

So that’s it for this post! This was supposed to be my Friday review for the week but life and work got in the way as it seems to be happening this entire month. I’m dealing with a lot of anxiety and nerves lately which doesn’t actually help with wanting to blogging or finding motivation but I hope I can kick those feelings away soon. Let me know if you’ve read this series or any other books from this author. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!

send-off

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2 thoughts on “Series Review – Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

  1. Glad you enjoyed reading this. I read it a while ago now and don’t really remember all the details of it, but I remember really enjoying it and it being so quick to get through. Great post!

    Like

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