Hex Hall and Demonglass – Rachel Hawkins

These books are the ultimate in indulgence. I say that because, within the teen fantasy genre, these books are exactly what I’ve been looking for. They are well-written; the author does an artful job of making magic, faeries, and demons seem plausible enough, and doesn’t lay it on too thick – there’s enough cynicism in here that it doesn’t feel fake. The characters are likable, are not overly cliched, and are three-dimensional. No over-wrought teen angst here (just the regular kind). The books are short, and lots happens. THANK YOU RACHEL. With my recent re-entry into the teen fantasy forum, you have provided me with a true guilty pleasure.

A brief plot summary (hopefully without any spoilers) of the first book, Hex Hall: Our girl Sophie is a witch hopping from state to state, attending regular schools. When one too many of her well-intentioned spells goes awry, she is sent to the boarding school for misfit witches, wizards (warlocks?), and faeries (affectionately known as Hex Hall) on some island in Georgia (or somewhere in the southern US. forgive my crappy geography/memory). Not long after arriving she falls for the dreamiest fella in school (who has a super-snotty gf), lands semester-long cellar detention with him, and befriends her roomie, the only vampire at the school (much hated by her peers). As usual, trouble continues to follow her around and pretty soon she’s wrapped up in some sinister, mysterious disappearances and something she doesn’t completely understand.

Other books I’ve read recently (or am reading) in the teen fantasy genre are:
Fate by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (I just got it’s precursor, Tattoo, from the library today! yay.)
Tithe by Holly Black (grittier; pretty good, but not quite up to the top-tier of my indulgence standards)
Iron King by Julie Kagawa (currently in the middle of this one – so far, so-so)
After finding the movie The Seeker on itunes a few months ago, and promptly renting it, I’ve begun to reread Susan Cooper‘s The Dark is Rising series (a favourite of mine as a kid). So far, I’ve read the first two books (Over Sea, Under Stone and The Dark is Rising), and am in the middle of the third, Greenwitch. So far, the Dark is Rising is much better (just as I remembered) – seems to have stood the test of time best. Over Sea, Under Stone feels dated and reminds me a bit of Enid Blighton’s books (not that I’ve read any of those since I was 12 or so).
In a similar vein (though adult fantasy, not teen), I just read The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff. I can’t believe I haven’t been reading Tanya for years. I loved this book and devoured it almost as fast as Hex Hall (and it’s much longer, set in much smaller type). I’ll be on the lookout for others of hers.

Stay tuned…


2 responses

  1. Pingback: Wild Ways by Tanya Huff | Spines and Soles

  2. Pingback: Crossed by Ally Condie | Spines and Soles

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