May 18, 2012

Review: Hex Hall

By: Rachel Hawkins
Published: March 2010 by Hyperion
Format: Hardback, 323 pages
First Reviewed: April 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
Add it on Goodreads

Witches, vampires, magic...welcome to Freak High.

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.

Rating: 2/5

I wasn't too excited to read this, if I'm going to be frank. It's been on my bookshelf for a while now because I got it as a gift a few months ago. Why wasn't I excited? Sigh, well, I didn't care for the cover. It reminded me of a book younger teens or pre-teens would like rather than me. However, while I was proven semi-right, I liked it better than I thought I would.

The South! Whoop! Okay, you know I love the South, so that's a huge plus in my book. The one thing I wanted more of, though, is description of the surroundings. I kind of missed that at times. It was fine at first, but then it just tapered off in the middle. Also, the whole boarding school for the supernatural is a bit overdone, so I would have liked to see more originality there. But overall good setting.

The characters were just okay for me. Sophie got on my nerves quite a bit. At times, she had the wit and voice I love to read, but then at others she was just too immature for me. She just wasn't too solid. The supporting characters were too cliche, in my opinion. While they were okay and had good, developed personalities, I still would have like to see more dimension in a few of them, as well as some more originality with the whole "three mean girls," "the best friend that gets crapped on," and with our main character, "the new girl that stands up to them." It was all to Mean Girls-y, without "Janice" sticking up for herself. The male lead was just okay for me as well. I didn't really fall in love with him, and he was the stereotypical tall, dark, and handsome, arrogant guy. I would have liked to see more from him as well. Overall, the characters were okay, I just would have liked more depth and dimension to them.

I did like Hawkins's writing all right. For the most part, she showed the story rather than told it, and the narrative flowed well and descriptions were nicely done. It was just simple writing, which should not be confused with bad writing. While it was simple, I can see a lot of room for growth, which is a good thing. I can tell by the way the writing grew just from the first page of this to the ending that Hawkins's is going to get better and better. What bothered me was more of the voice she gave to Sophie. It seemed she was trying too hard at times to make Sophie a teen rather than just letting Sophie develop herself. Other than that, the simple writing fit this book well.

While I felt the plot was paced well and had some nice twists, it just wasn't overall original. We've seen the supernatural boarding schools before, we've seen these types of characters a thousand times over, and the actual premise has been done over and over. I wanted much more originality with this. I think Hawkins could have really done it, but she just settled with safe. The elements and sub-plots were handled well, especially the romance element (I don't think it was overdone), but the fact that I've read all of this before, multiple times, I just spent my time reading waiting for something different to really pop up.

It was an okay read, though I'll admit I'm not overly excited to dive into the sequel, but I've read that Demonglass is a thousand times better than Hex Hall, so we'll see. However, this is worth a shot.

No comments:

Post a Comment