Monday, July 22, 2013

Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1)
By Rachel Hawkins
Disney Hyperion

To Sum It Up:

Sophie Mercer is a witch, and her magic doesn’t always work the way she wants it to. She’s been to nineteen different schools, and when her latest spell goes awry, she’s sent to Hecate Hall, a sort of reform school for other Prodigium (witches, warlocks, fae, and shapeshifters) students. Even at Hex Hall, though, Sophie can’t escape trouble. A group of mean witches wants her to join their coven, and almost everyone suspects her vampire roommate of being behind a series of attacks on their classmates. Sophie is at Hex Hall to learn to control her powers, but it may actually be the most dangerous place for her.


It can’t be easy trying to compete with a certain ├╝ber-popular series set in a magical boarding school, but Hex Hall carves out a nice little niche for itself. This was a quick read with a mostly breezy tone, though it also didn’t shy away from going dark when it needed to.

For me, the book’s greatest appeal was its humor. From Sophie’s overdone love spell that backfires horribly at the beginning of the novel to her failed attempts to magically create a non-hideous dress for a school dance, I was very amused while reading this. Sophie herself is a pretty sarcastic protagonist, and her snark-laden exchanges with Hex Hall’s resident hot guy, Archer Cross, are especially entertaining. I don’t know—I wasn’t particularly impressed with Archer. He’s sharp with a one-liner and dreamy to look at, but I wasn't exactly swooning over him. I did think it was hilarious how he and Sophie, after getting off to a rocky start when they first met each other, ended up being punished together, assigned to inventorying the school’s storage room of unwanted magical items, thanks to their sadistic teacher, the Vandy (loved her nickname).

Almost from the moment she sets foot in Hex Hall, Sophie is beset by a trio of witches who want her to complete their coven. Elodie, Anna, and Chaston are your archetypal mean girls, and Sophie sees them for what they are. I really liked that about her, but I also thought that she should have figured out who the culprit was behind the attacks on some of Hex Hall’s students a little sooner. To me, piecing the clues together didn’t take too much of an effort. And, despite Sophie being 16, the book sometimes had a youngish feel to it; not all of the time, because it ventured into decidedly young adult territory in some places. At other times, though, I felt like I was reading a book written for a slightly younger audience.

Still, I enjoyed reading this, and it left some very intriguing loose ends that I’m eager to find out more about. I’m also curious about Cal, the groundskeeper (not janitor like Sophie mistakenly calls him); I have a hunch that there’s an interesting story there. Plus, Sophie is a likable, funny character, which gives me further motivation to continue the series.

All in All:

Hex Hall isn’t an overly challenging read, but it is a fun one. The standout aspect for me was the humor, which made the book very much worth a read even if the premise wasn’t entirely novel.


  1. I definitely agree. This book is one of the better fun paranormal series out there. I also felt the same about Archer- he was good, but nothing truly special. Great review!

    - P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

    1. There was definitely a solid fun factor to this book; I really enjoyed the humor. I'm hoping that Archer will be a lot more interesting as the series goes on, given what happened in Hex Hall.

  2. I always thought it would be like that..I will push it further down my list then!

    1. Yeah, I wouldn't exactly call this a high priority read. I did like it, though!

  3. I really want to read this series, but I am fully prepared for them not to be the best books, but I do like the fact that they're fun!

    1. I didn't go in with lofty expectations, especially since my cousin had already read this and said it was OK, not amazing, and I was pleasantly surprised. Sophie's misadventures with her spells and her sarcasm were quite humorous!

  4. Your overall impression on the tone, plot & characters pretty much mirror how I felt after reading School Spirits. Hex Hall had been on my reading list for a while, but I didn't realize School Spirits was a spin off until after I had requested it and gotten approved. It doesn't sound rehashed though, so I'm glad that there's still a fresh spin on characters and the plot between the two. I had a lot of fun with the humor but I agree it's not a book I would rave about either. Entertaining and easy to read!

    1. Good to know that School Spirits stands on its own and isn't just Hex Hall recycled. I plan to read School Spirits eventually, once I finish this series.


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