Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

I admit part of the reason I picked up Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins was because of the smashing cover. This is one of the few times I’ve preferred the US cover to the Aus/UK one (see small Aus/UK cover below on the left). The other reason was — thanks to jet lag — I felt like an easy/fun YA read.

And what a fun read it was. I wasn’t expecting Hex Hall to be quite as laugh-out-loud funny as it was. From the prologue, in which we learn just why Sophie is sentenced to the supernatural reform school, to a plethora of sarcastic comments, I was sniggering or laughing every few pages.

The story is told in first person from the point of view of Sohpie, a witch who did one too many spells in front of humans. But she was raised by her human mother after her parents broke up and didn’t get to speak to her father until she came into her powers. Before arriving at school, she had never met any other supernaturals (the school has witches, shapeshifters (including werewolves), faeries and vampires) and knows very little about their society. She quickly manages to antagonise the three bitchy witches, but at least she’s room-mates with the only vampire student so they can be outcasts together.

Then things start to go wrong. A student is attacked and Sophie’s new vampire friend is the prime suspect. Sophie doesn’t believe her friend did it, but everyone else does. No one will listen when Sophie starts looking for the real culprit.

As I said at the start, this was a really fun book. Without getting overly gloomy, it touches on racial tension (faeries and shapeshifters don’t really get along, hopefully something that will be explored more in the sequels) and fear of the unknown (humans who find out about supernaturals tend to get homicidal on them). And of course, there’s the whole being an outcast element. Actually, it was nice that the vampire girl was more of an outcast than Sophie started off being. Too many books have the Chosen One also being a complete outcast. At least while Sophie has elements of Chosen One-ness, it’s mainly the bitchy coven that hates her straight away, not the whole school.

Did I mention funny? I’ve ordered the second book, Demonglass, from Book Depository and look forward to reading it.

4.5 / 5 stars

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