Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thoughts On: Book Series

Yesterday I finished Rachel  Hawkins Hex Hall. Here is my review:

Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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 po ...more 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


I really enjoyed the beginning of Hex Hall. We are quickly introduced to Sophie and learn she is a witch. She has known for some time now and despite some former disasters she decides to do a spell to help a fellow classmate. The spell goes horribly wrong and causes the Prodigium( the governing body of witches, fae and shifters) to sentence Sophie to Hecate Hall.

The concept of magical schools have been very popular lately. Rachel's school is very unique though. Rachel is also very skilled at teen vernacular. Her characters are very realistic. I liked Sophie's sarcastic and strong personality. Sophie's humor hides her desire to fit in and build strong friendships. Her mother left Sophie's father as soon as she discovered he was a warlock. Though her mother has done extensive research on magic and moved Sophie around the country repeatedly for her safety, Sophie knows little of her heritage and has never even met her father!

I enjoyed the many secrets that Sophie discovers about herself and her father. The students are also interesting: a trio of mean girls/ Dark Witches, Faeries, Shifters, and a Vampire roommate Jenna. Sophie starts to hear dark rumors about her roommate ,and also develop romantic feelings for the warlock Asher, who is dating Sophie's sole enemy at the school fellow witch Elodie.

I really enjoyed learning more about Sophie's magical world, but half way through the novel the story started to lag a little for me. I think it began when I realised the majority of the various plot threads were not going to be resolved in this volume of the story. I enjoy reading series books but I like each book to stand on it's own or at least have a resolution.

One thread in the novel involving a ghost called Alice begins to dominate the central plot thread and even though earlier events tied into this thread I found the ending unsatisfactory, and anticlimactic. Sophie makes a dramatic decision at the end of the book. I'm not completely sure Ill continue with the series but I might give book two a try.

This book was enjoyable but it was quite obvious that it was a series in progress. I don't mind a book having sequels but I really like every volume to be a complete part of a greater whole.

Great examples of this are Clockwork Angel By Cassandra Clare and Unholy Magic by Stacia Kane.

Clockwork Angel is a Prequel to Cassandras His Mortal Instruments series and the first in a trilogy. I loved this book and it was a very satisfying read. There are story threads that will probably be elaborated on in the future but the main plot of the first novel has a strong resolution. The same with Stacia's Unholy Magic. At the end of this book I immediately purchased the other two books in the series (such a good read!) this book as well had a definite ending but with definite potential for  sequels.

I don't know if Hex Hall was originally a longer novel or if the  publisher wanted to capitalise on the current trend of series books but I'm really not invested enough in the characters or the plot lines to find out.

What do you guys think? Does it make a difference to you if a book is first in a series vs stand alone books ?

View all my reviews

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