It deserves a better cover. Like Ally Carter's books, it doesn't do the novel itself justice.
I’m totally in the middle of reading Blackout by Mira Grant, and it’s great, it really is, and I don’t want it to end and I need to know what happens, but lord, I AM INVESTED and it is stressing me the hell out. So for my plane flight yesterday, I browsed through iBooks for a light and easy read, something that wouldn’t make my stomach hurt. (I love you, Mira Grant, but thou art too good at making me care and flying is stressful enough). This book popped up and I was like, “Hey, I remember wanting to read that! Win!”
It wasn’t a bad decision. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins does have some of the predictable elements and tropes you’d expect to find in a Magical Boarding School novel but she adds enough of her own creativity and world-building to make it fun and unique. It’s a lot like if you took Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls, added a dash of Harry Potter (something that is hilariously lampshaded), and mixed with an ounce of Cassie Clare’s Mortal Instruments, served chilled over ice.
Those comparisons are meant as compliments, by the way, and I don’t think it’s just piece-mailed together from tropes and cliches. Hawkins’ world is entirely her own. She has vampires that eat food, werewolves and shapeshifters, faeries, and witches with different powers. Those things are standard, but her twist on them works. The thing with Demonglass (black glass from hell that’s the only way to kill demons) is something I’ve never seen before, and I like her origin story for the Prodigium (magical creatures), involving angels who were cast out of heaven. And it’s funny.
Sophie, our first person narrator and new student that the magical reform school Hecate Hall, is hilarious. She’s sarcastic, honest, and has a good perspective. She hates when she develops a crush on the hot guy, acknowledges how lame it is, and loathes that she manages to make enemies almost immediately. She mocks Archer’s name, because, seriously, that’s so Yacht Club. Sophie was raised by her human mother, apart from her Warlock father, whom she communicates with only via e-mail, so her knowledge of the magical world is vague at best when she comes to the school.
My only complaint is, again, it’s a short book. At less than 250 pages, I finished it in a mere couple of hours. If I hadn’t been airborne, I’d have bought the sequel right away, but since I had no wi-fi, I couldn’t. It works as a stand alone book because it ties up the loose ends of the mystery while leaving enough things hanging to make it a good first part of a series, but I do wish it was twice as long. But hey, wanting more of a book usually isn’t a bad thing.
Recommended for: People who like witty narrators they can relate to. Fans of Gallagher Girls and The Mortal Instruments will probably enjoy this too. I also think fans of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse Southern Mystery Series will enjoy it for its characters, mystery, and general supernatural world.