Hello! It’s Thinking Thursday, and that means it’s time for a review 😀 I read this book a couple of weeks ago, and kind of took forever to get my review up. Sorry D:
Title || Hex Hall (GoodReads)
Author || Rachel Hawkins
Published || 2010 by Hyperion
Form || Audiobook
Genre || Urban Fantasy
Rating || 3/5
Yay || Diversity in YA, interesting take on old themes
Nay || Predictability, the romantic relationship
Summary || After a spell goes awry, Sophie gets sent to a school for magic folks–and tries to figure out why witches are dying there.
Dear Hex Hall,
I am perfectly willing to admit that no everything I like is of “quality,” “respectable standing,” or whatever. Often, this occurs because the media still does something really right, despite problems I might have. I know this tends to overlap with a sort of elitism in reviewing–that some things are inherently somehow better than others. I’m not referring to that, exactly.
You, Hex Hall, are one of those books, though.
First, I want to praise the person who read you aloud. She did a wonderful job of realizing the accents of the characters, and making them sound like individuals–I didn’t have to wait for the tags to know who was speaking, and it made experiencing you as a book so wonderful.
Otherwise, you do some things so beautifully right. You are one of the few YA books I’ve read with really good female friendships. The friendship between the darker coven of witches, and then between your MC Sophie and her roommate–they’re just so wonderfully done and, in the latter case, grown in a way I found organic and charming. Even while your mythos is reminiscent of many other books I’ve read, you are a wonderful spin on this mythos. You own it. You are immersive and wonderful. It just made sense to me, though maybe if I looked more deeply I might have issues. I don’t know. For what I read, though, you were fun and, while not new, interesting.
I’d also really like to comment on some of the diversity here. We have positively portrayed minorities who play major roles in the books and are developed with depth, rather than stereotype. It just made me happy. Why do we not see that more often?
You weren’t perfect, though, Hex Hall. I found you a bit predictable–which another reader may not. Another reader may only see the factors as foreshadowing, rather than outright predictable. The main romantic relationship you feature was… disappointing. The depth of the emotions associated with it didn’t seem to fit–it could be either that Sophie is 16 and thus exaggerating, or there wasn’t enough put into developing the crush over the friendship. Maybe it was just Sophie’s gullibility I found frustrating sometimes.
Overall, I did find you enjoyable. You just didn’t stand out among the crowd as much as you could have.
Have you read Hex Hall? What did you think?
If you haven’t, do you now want to?