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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hex Hall, by Rachel Hawkins

Welcome to Hecate Hall, or as known by the students, Hex Hall.  Similar to Hogwarts in the fact that all the students have some magic ability, but different in the fact that no one wants to be there and no one is studying magic.  This school is a reformatory for those who don't seem to be able to live normal lives on the outside and everyone is required to stay until they're at least 18.  The student body is comprised of witches, warlocks, fairies, werewolves, shifters and even a vampire (The Council decided integration is best in the case of vampires, so they started with one student at Hex Hall).  They spend most of their time taking classes like a History of Witches to help them recognize the dangers of exposing their differences in the outside world.  Sophie grew up with a normal human mom and her dad (whom she's never even met) is the source of her magical powers.  Once she arrives at Hex Hall, it doesn't take her long to figure out how much she doesn't know.  She's almost attacked by a crazed werewolf on her first day and all she can manage to say is, "Bad dog!" as he comes flying towards her.  Sophie was out of place in the normal world and she's out of place at Hex Hall too.  I love rooting for the underdog, so she was an easy character to care about.  Life at Hex Hall isn't all classes and trying to fit in though, because before Sophie starts attending there is already one unsolved murder on campus and with no way to get in or out of the heavily magicked school everyone seems to think Sophie's new roommate, (the only student vampire) Jenna, is responsible.  Unfortunately for Sophie, Jenna is the only person who's been nice to her and her only friend so far at Hex Hall.  Is it possible her new friend is guilty?  Or is someone else responsible?  I was curious to find out and I'm sure other readers will be too.  The writing was smooth and flowing and this book was an easy read (I certainly welcomed that after trying to get through the last book I read haha).  The similarities between Hex Hall and Harry Potter gave the book a sense of familiarity as well (without being boring) and it's been quite awhile since I've read the Harry Potter series, so I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of it.  I'm definitely going to read the next one and I think the best parts are yet to come, so I was left wanting more.  I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick read, fans of YA, paranormal or Harry Potter.

Favorite things: the setting, the twists in the plot, the hint at something more sinister (which made for a book a bit more grown up than Harry Potter) and the ease of the writing which made the book a pleasure to read.

Criticisms:  the same writing that made the book such an easy read, also gave me little to ponder and nothing profound to highlight either, usually I highlight at least one passage from every book and I was disappointed to find there was nothing to quote in Hex Hall.

Overall:  4 out of 5 stars!  I have high hopes for the next one in this series though, I think it could be a 5.  (^_^)

13 comments:

  1. I just got both of the books in this series the other day for my nook. I can't wait to read them, maybe after I'm done reading the Passage I will get to them.

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  2. I have high hopes for the next book as well. It was a cute book and the way it is going is good but it was missing something. I cannot quite put my finger on it but I hope Demon Glass fills whatever void that this one left!! BTW...your blog is awesome and I am so happy you are doing well!!

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  3. Great Review!! I"m excited to read it sometime! =)

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  4. Thanks for the comments and compliments ladies! I always appreciate that. :)

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  5. I feel like I am the only person who hasn't read this book! Everyone keeps telling me how awesome it is, but I can't find it on my bookshelf :P I guess that means I need to break my book-buying-ban and spend some quality time at my local bookstore!

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  6. I am so glad to have my NookColor and I can browse the bookstore anytime from my own home! I guess it's contributed to my book-buying addiction though, so maybe it isn't such a great thing after all haha. (^_~)

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  7. Hmm I just finished this one and I would have to say I disagree on one thing you said. You said this was a little more grown up than Harry Potter but I think just the opposite. I feel that this was a fun take on HP but that it wasn't as serious as some of the issues that happen in HP. I mean in those books the kids are facing life and death from evil and it is written to sound older. I felt in Hex Hall all of Sophie's joking around was great but that it made it a bit lighter than HP.

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  8. Glad you liked it. I thought Hex Hall was pretty funny in the beginning and wasn't expecting it to take that darker turn. I can't wait to read Demonglass!

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  10. Lexa - I just think the whole demon element made it a bit darker and the students are older than the crew from Harry Potter was at the beginning. I guess it's hard to compare, because there were seven Harry Potter books and the characters grew a lot and the troubles they faced became more and more serious as well. I was referring more to the first book versus this first book and Harry was only 12 in that one, so now kissing or mature topics were approached at all. I definitely see your point though and I would agree about that especially regarding the later Harry Potter books, but not so much in the beginning. :)

    Liz - I wasn't expecting that either! I had to reread the page where that happened to make sure I had read correctly haha. There were actually a couple moments like that, so that was pretty cool. I like being surprised. :)

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  11. I'm taking it you are going to read Demonglass for our book club's talk on the 30th I think it is or the 31st? I plan on reading the second one as soon as I read the arc of Illusions I have.
    Now I get what you are saying though, how the characters in Hex Hall are older than when we started with the HP crew.

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  12. I'm excited for Demon Glass. It's on my Kindle wishlist. I love the cover for Demon Glass. I've been resisting the urge to buy since I've got several other books I'm trying to read through.

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  13. Lexa - Yeah, I read Hex Hall just so I could get caught up in time for the book club. :)

    Willow - I agree! I love both covers, but the new one is especially beautiful. I can't wait to read it so I can review it and post the beautiful cover here! :)

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