Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Just Finished Reading ... Spellbound
By Rachel Hawkins
March 13, 2012
Source: bought from Barnes and Noble
Mature Content: some kissing scenes, mild profanity, non-graphic violence
Spellbound is book three in the Hex Hall series, so as I usually do, I'll run through a quick bit of non-spoilery recap before launching into my thoughts about this book.
In Hex Hall, Sophie Mercer -- half-human, half-witch -- is sent to a reform school for Prodigium (supernatural beings) after she has trouble keeping her powers under control. When students at her new school are attacked, the blame falls on Sophie's roommate Jenna, a vampire. To make matters worse, a coven of mean girl witches has it in for Sophie, who's secretly in love with Archer Cross, the boyfriend of the rhymes-with-witchiest of them all.
In Demonglass, Sophie learns that she's not a witch after all. She's a different kind of Prodigium (no spoilers!) and her powers may be dangerous. She's convinced that she needs a Removal, a procedure that will take those powers away. Sophie's father, convinced he can teach her to control her powers, whisks her to London, along with her BFF Jenna and attractive Hex Hall groundskeeper Cal. There Sophie learns that a) someone is creating an army of demons, b) Archer is a member of a group that wants to eradicate the Prodigium and c) she and Cal have a surprising connection.
My summary of Spellbound: The book opens as Sophie is unceremoniously dumped in front of a castle belonging to the Brannicks, a group of Irish monster hunters. Scary, yes, but Cal told Sophie she might find her mother there. Sophie's not sure what's happened to her father or Archer. But she does meet up with her mother, who confesses that she's been keeping a BIG secret. Sophie gets to know the Brannicks. Torin, a warlock trapped in one of the Brannicks' mirrors, reveals to Sophie that the evil Casanoffs are raising a demon army to wipe humans off the face of the earth. He claims that Sophie is either the one who will lead the army, or the only one who can stop them.
My thoughts: The Hex Hall books are paranormal light: fun, entertaining tales that never get too dark or philosophical. While Demonglass had a fair amount of action, Spellbound is more weighted toward snappy dialogue, which is something that Rachel Hawkins does well. She's one of the funniest YA writers around-- Queen of Cute Quips and LOL One Liners. In this book, Sophie remains adorably snarky, even in the face of adversity. Plus, the ghost of former mean girl Elodie and man-in-the-mirror Torin also provide a lot of comic relief.
I can't say much more without spoilers. But after a lot of clever banter, the last few chapters are action packed. Sophie's final showdown with the forces of evil results in --as Sophie might call it -- a pretty major sad moment. I just wish more time had been spent on both the set up and the aftermath of this event. The whole thing felt a little rushed, even confusing. I actually had to re-read just to be sure I understood what had just happened. And when I did, I felt pretty conflicted about it. And I think other readers will too.
Spellbound wasn't my favorite book in the Hex Hall trilogy. But I'd definitely recommend these funny, fast-paced paranormal books for young teens and/or those readers (like me) who like to take a break from the disaster, death and dystopia that's so trendy in YA these days. I laughed out loud numerous times while reading the first two-thirds of Spellbound, reminding me what a pleasure it is to find something that completely cracks me up. As Sophie might say, "Yay for books that make you laugh!"
Have you read Spellbound? Planning to?