Spellbound is the latest in the Hex Hall series by author Rachel Hawkins. The book, released March 13th, was preceded by Hex Hall and Demonglass. The series follows 16-year-old Sophie Mercer on her adventures deeper into the magic world.
I loved the first book, like literally LOVED it. It was so refreshing to finally have a young adult novel with a funny, independent, and frankly smart-ass female lead rather than a swooning, superficial, shy type. However, her sarcasm was a little overdone in this book to me. There were moments when I wished it got more emotional, and the author let Sophie really feel and express her emotions rather than cover them up with a witty one-liner.
This book should have been super emotional given that it takes place immediately after the catastrophe at Thorne Abbey where the last book, Demonglass, teasingly left the reader. That tension and anguish one would expect after Sophie believes her Dad, boyfriend, fiance, and best friend to be dead could have been a little more pronounced.
My biggest complaint though, would be the lack of suspense. In the previous books of the series, there was a ton of suspense. In book one, the demon revelation as well as Archer Cross’s storyline had me gasping as I eagerly read on. In book two, all of the mystery surrounding her Dad, Elodie’s ghost, and the mysterious demon couple of Nick & Daisy gave me that same feeling.
Spellbound sadly did not. The plot was good and the characters still lovable, but it felt like it could have done with 50 more pages to flesh out the action. The climax of this book was almost nonexistent in its development and execution. I mean can it really be called a war if the whole of it is done in 5 pages? Apart from that, I enjoyed it. I will say this is my least favorite of this series, but I would still recommend it.
If you’ve read Demonglass, you basically have to read this just to satiate your curiosity with how, or if, everyone survived. If you haven’t read any of the series, I would suggest doing so immediately. If you like Harry Potter, City of Bones, and Vampire Academy this will be right up your alley. It’s not a carbon copy of those novels, but it does feature elements from each that a reader of supernatural YA fiction will approve of.
SPOILER WARNING SPOILER WARNING SPOILER WARNING
*do not read further if you haven’t finished the book!
First, can I just pose the obvious complaint…why in the hell (no pun intended) did Cal’s story have to be done that way? I mean seriously, the guy spends 80% of the books being used as a human band-aid for everyone and never complains! Without him a ton of people would have been dead already. Not to mention he gets his heart trampled on by Sophie, so his reward? Being killed and sucked into a pit of Hell. Nice. I know, I know he got to come back as a ghost but still. I think alive and well is a better outcome than dead and tethered to a school for eternity…even if it is his home.
Second, speaking of Hell was it me or did that “scary Underworld” thing turn out to be as scary as a B-rated horror movie? I get the idea of reliving your worst moments for eternity is torture, but they weren’t there for an eternity it was only like 3 minutes. No one was hurt, getting in/out was a breeze, and it was informative. Now we know Archer’s real name, yay. But really I would have expected more hellish activity in Hell, or at least some other demons trying to attack or something. Major letdown to me as I was hoping to be scared into goosebumps but nearly yawned reading this part instead.
Third, if the Casnoffs were so terrible why were they defeated so easily? Don’t get me wrong I wanted them finished, team Sophie ftw, but I expect more out of my villains. How could the ghost of a teenage girl do magic on par with them? Getting into the cellar as well as Lara’s office seemed way too easy. Also, I’m baffled as to how easy it was for Sophie to fight Lara’s mind control. After pages and pages worrying what would happen to her, in two sentences she’s thrown it off and escaped unscathed with the grimoire and all her friends. It could have been made more difficult.
Last but not least, Sophie’s powers did not cease to amaze me. Kudos to Rachel Hawkins for still delighting us with the sheer magnitude of Sophie’s demonic powers. After she got them back, I knew it was about to get interesting. That actually was another reason I wanted more build-up and more action at the end. Sophie, as well as the readers, were deprived of her powers for almost a whole book so I felt like we should have gotten more for her to use them on. This girl is a 4th generation demon for crying out loud and she barely got to blow things, or people, up this time around.Tags: Demonglass sequel, Hex Hall, Hex Hall Book 3, Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, Rachel Hawkins, Spellbound