Hex Hall is a funny, enchanting read that seamlessly blends humor with mystery and foreboding. Rachel Hawkins' narration is playful and comfortable, making the reader feel at home and creating a quirky voice for her supernatural heroine. Sophie has spunk; she's both strong and sensitive -- a realistic blend that makes her compelling and easily relatable. The young witch experiences many of the same trials as a typical teenage girl, as well as those unique to Hex Hall - monstrous teachers, bloodthirsty roommates, nasty dark witches, stalkerish ghosts and international assassins. This novel brims with witty one-liners, dazing twists, and chilling dangers.
Beneath the mystical veneer, there is profound undercurrent that questions prejudices, loyalties and choices, adding depth to the story. The inhabitants of Hex Hall are an intriguing blend of light and dark, each struggling to come to terms with themselves and their fate. Nothing is what it seems; Hawkins creates a whole cast of complex characters that jump vividly off the page -- readers may even find themselves fond of the darker characters, against their better judgment. The blending of fantasy with history is an interesting and enjoyable aspect of the novel, naturally referencing the Salem Witch Trials, but also featuring the inimitable poet Lord Byron in a surprising yet oddly plausible way. This is an enthralling read that will have readers screaming at the book in more tense moments, and staring incredulously at the page in others. Hex Hall is truly gripping from beginning to end -- full of surprises, action, adventure and, of course, romance.
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This novel is part of the 2010 Debut Author Challenge