- Title: Hex Hall
- Author: Rachel Hawkins
- Series: Hex Hall #1
- Next Book: Demonglass
- Source: Library
Description from Goodreads:
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.
I decided to read Hex Hall both on the recommendation of my friend Jac and because it was part of the 2012 YA Crush Tourney. I like paranormal books but haven’t really read many that involved witches, so I thought it would be a nice change of pace for me.
Hex Hall starts off with a Prologue with Sophie at a normal, human high school prom. She performs what should be a simple spell, but it goes wrong, and she exposes her magic to the others at the party. This spell and exposure is what gets her sentenced to Hecate Hall, and Chapter 1 starts off with Sophie arriving at Hecate. Honestly, I didn’t find the Prologue necessary. It sets the stage as to why Sophie ends up at Hecate, but I think it could have been left out and worked in as a flashback or memory.
However, in Chapter 1, I became interested. Immediately as Sophie arrives at Hecate, or Hex Hall, as the students nickname it, we are introduced to several different Prodigium: faeries, werewolves, and shifters. Sophie even rooms with a vampire! We are also quickly introduced to the dangers these Prodigium can pose and an arrogant boy named Archer. We also quickly learn about the dangers facing the Prodigium from humans, specifically from the Brannicks and L’Occhio di Dio, the Eye of God, groups of humans intent on killing Prodigium.
As with most series premieres, I found the pacing of Hex Hall to be a little slow, due to the necessity of world building. However, it wasn’t horrible, and there was enough action and mystery interspersed within the story to keep me interested. I found it interesting to learn to see Hawkins’ twists on the standard supernatural creatures. For the most part, they were just like the common version of their kinds, but there was often a subtle twist on the norm.
By far, I think the best thing about Hex Hall were the characters. There was the new girl (Sophie), the mean girls, the odd best friend, a dreamy, unobtainable guy, and a school head who seems to know more than she lets on. Jenna, Sophie’s vampire roommate, was probably my favorite character. She was definitely not what one would expect a vampire to be, and she was hilarious, especially when combined with Sophie’s flare for sarcasm. Speaking of Sophie’s sarcasm, that itself leads to some funny conversations with several characters.
While I liked the mystery weaved throughout the story, I felt like the ending was a little bit rushed. I felt like the climax could have been a little longer, but it was okay. I liked seeing how Sophie figured things out. Also, I liked that Rachel Hawkins wasn’t afraid to take risks with her characters. It ended with the promise of meeting a new character in the next book that was hinted at and talked about throughout the book, and I was very interested to meet him!
Overall, I really enjoyed Hex Hall, and while the pacing was a little bit slow for me, it definitely left me wanting more. I was glad when I finished it that I had the next book on the shelf waiting for me! I thought it was a very good introduction to the series.