Series Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins


June 8, 2012 by Heidi

Title: The Hex Hall series includes three books:
Hex Hall [Amazon|GoodReads]
Demonglass [Amazon|GoodReads]
Spell Bound [Amazon|GoodReads]
Author: Rachel Hawkins [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Published: The series is all out! The final book, Spell Bound,
released March 13th, 2012 by Hyperion.
Format: Hardcovers; Hex Hall is 336 pages, Demonglass is 359 pages;
Spell Bound is 327 pages.
Source: I borrowed this entire series from my local public library.

book cover of Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkinsbook cover of Demonglass by Rachel Hawkinsbook cover of Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Now comes the time where I try to convince you to read a series that I love without presenting any spoilers!  After all, nothing is more fun than picking up a series that’s entirely published, and devouring it.  Here’s one you could finish in three days!  Since I’m not posting full reviews for these books, let’s do this list style:

Reasons you haven’t read Hex Hall:

  1. The Covers.  I get it, they’re not fantastic, and there is zero reason for there to be the fancy dress in the second one, let alone a cat.  DO NOT FEAR: there’s not a single cat in any of these books.  Sophie’s allergic.  Also, the first and third covers make sense to me, even if they’ve again chosen a cover model that doesn’t’ look like our curly-haired protagonist (let’s talk about the lack of curly haired girls on covers shall we?).
  2. The premise.  Um yeah.  It’s about a boarding school for naughty witches, wizards, shapechangers, and fey.  CHEESY AS HECK I know.  But bare with me here because it is not your average YA paranormal, and it is so much better than it sounds!
  3. The title.  Hex Hall?  Really?  Again, totally cheesy, but it’s the student’s nickname for Hecate Hall (the school), and considering that only the first book takes place entirely at Hex Hall, I’m not sure it was the best choice for the series.  Also note that Rachel Hawkins herself had little to nothing to do with the naming process, so don’t look at it as indicative of her writing.
  4. Love triangle.  Yep.  There is one, I can’t deny that.  I will say that it is not of the insta-love, we’ll be together forever variety.  In fact, it’s a pretty legit development on both sides, and I totally loved both the guys involved (well, I loved one a little more than the other, but who wouldn’t?).

Reasons you should read Hex Hall:

  1. Sophie Mercer.  Friends, Rachel Hawkins is hilarious.  In turn, her lead woman, Sophie, is hilarious.  Seriously.  I know we see snark and sarcasm and funny in a lot of places, but rarely do you see it to this level in a character that just won’t quit.  Sophie doesn’t tone it down when she’s uncomfortable or scared or nervous, she turns it up!
  2. The boys.  Archer and Cal, man.  I would be happy to make out with either of these dudes (if they were like 10 years older that is).  Trust me, this is a love triangle you don’t want to miss.
  3. Kissing galore!  You heard me.  There are so many good kissing scenes in these books, if you don’t come away a satisfied reader, YOU DON’T LIKE KISSING.
  4. The girls.  Okay the girl cast is just as awesome.  Sophie’s roomie and best friend is a lesbian vampire with PINK HAIR.  And the mean girls?  They’re such quintessential mean girls in all of the best ways—including the art of the three-way glance.  Elodie is one of my all time favorite frienemies.
  5. Unique lore. Rachel Hawkins creates such a cool world with all of the various paranormal creatures. I mean come on, THE Lord Byron is a vampire and a teacher at their school. How fun is that? I won’t say much lest I give anything away, but this really isn’t your average witch story.
  6. Twists! I tell you now YOU WILL NOT SEE IT COMING. And by ‘IT’ I mean a number of things, because this series is full of unexpected twists and turns that leave you somewhere you never thought you could be when picking up a book called Hex Hall.

Likelihood that I’ll be back for more:  Get this, Rachel Hawkins is writing a spin off series and I am so excited.  I’m not sure what character it is, but no matter who or what, I’m in.  I’ll admit I had my issues with Spell Bound, but I still wholeheartedly enjoyed the series as a whole.

Recommended for: Anyone who enjoys fun YA paranormal.  This series isn’t mopey and angsty, and where it is it mocks itself for it.  It is fun, hilarious, and will put you on the edge of your seat in anticipation.


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  1. VeganYANerds says:

    You had me as soon as you mentioned how funny Rachel made Sophie, I am a big fan of books that can make me laugh! I *know* I need to read this series, I just need to buy the books and then make time! Loved your review :)

    • Heidi says:

      Thank you, and yes! Rachel Hawkins whole series was surprisingly funny to me. It was really refreshing every time I picked on up, I’d kind of forgotten how much they made me laugh. I’ll be excited to hear what you think if you do read them!

  2. B-but…I WANTED there to be a cat. A talking one. False advertising!

    I’ve actually read the first two of these and you’re right; Rachel Hawkins is hilaaaaarrious. I didn’t pick up the third because, well…I may or may not have read a few spoilers and found out about THE THING that happens and I just don’t think I can face it.

    Great list though! I love that you spelled frienemies with an i. I’ve always spelled it like “frenemies” but your way makes a lot more sense. Or maybe there should be two alternate spellings: one is leaning toward friend and one is leaning toward enemy. :)

    • Heidi says:

      You know, I never considered the logistics of frienemy vs. frenemy before. I’m going to go with the notion of two alternate spellings to use based on the relationship in question. It never occurred to me to write ‘frenemy’! 😛

      And yeah, the fact that there was a prominent cat on the covers and not a single one in the books drove me nuts. Seriously? Was that necessary?

      And yes, THE THING. I can understand not wanting to face it, if I knew exactly what was coming, I may not have either. I’m usually pretty cool with authors doing things, and sometimes even enjoy them, but in this case I just found it SO UNNECESSARY. The aftermath moreso than the actual event even. Made me angry. And Rachel Hawkins won’t like me when I’m angry. HEIDI SMASH.

  3. Ooo I have seen this around but I didn’t realise there were 3 of them- I have only seen the first one before! I WANT THERE TO BE A CAT. Like Salem in ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’? It could work. This is also an author I have potentially earmarked for a future ‘Author Behaving Badly’ post as she did a bit of naughty tweeting but it’s all very vague and strange so I might not use her. These books do look good and I love books set in boarding schools….especially magical ones! x

    • Heidi says:

      Hahaha, it’s funny to me hearing people say they would like a talking cat having read the series, because it really wouldn’t fit this particular book at all. Salem was exactly what I had in mind prereading though! I hadn’t noticed Hawkins’ naughty Tweets. Hopefully she won’t do so in the future!

  4. Jasmine Rose says:

    I must agree, everything from the covers to the premise has some serious cheese factor going for it. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t read it for so long.
    I noticed the cat comments up there and I must agree. The series doesn’t need a cat or anything, but it drives me absolutely insane that there’s a cat on the cover but no cat in the series. It makes no sense!
    And yes, your reasons are all fantastic and spot-on. I love both dudes in the series, but I have to say I’m an Archer girl, myself ;]
    Spell Bound is coming in at the library for me right now and I seriously cannot wait to read it 😀

    • Heidi says:

      Oh man, I totally shipped Cal on this one, though I did like Asher too. I always go for the good guy. 😛

      Yay! I’m so excited to hear what you think of Spell Bound. And yes, total cheese, but so pleasantly surprising.

  5. I have been wanting to read this series for some time. I think I may have to go get it!

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While the source for each book I review is posted within its review, please assume unless otherwise stated that books reviewed on Bunbury in the Stacks were received free from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.