Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch. That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth. Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers. But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Acher to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?
“None of this makes any sense.”
“I’m beginning to think I should make that the title of my autobiography.”
So originally I gave this book 5 wands, but then my nagging inner voice yelled at me. She wanted to know if I could seriously compare this book to “The Wolf Gift” which of course I can’t because I haven’t read it. Not to be outdone my inner nag then supplied the name “Magic Strikes” and I cursed to myself. I still stand by my 5 wands, but if you’re not into witty young adult paranormal romance, you probably won’t agree.
If you love young adult novels with spunky heroines, tortured bad boys, long lost dads, lesbian vampire best friends, and hot lumberjacks all with a coating of mystery (that isn’t always that mysterious) don’t even bother reading this review, just go directly to the bottom of this review and purchase the first novel in this series, Hex Hall and start reading.
Wait seriously? You’re still here? Shit… but all my gushing about this book has serious spoilers… You’re still reading aren’t you? Why can’t you ever just take my word for things? Fine, but this ain’t gonna be pretty.
Sometimes when I get stuck in reviews I go to goodreads and see what their reviewers thought were the important bits without spoilers… Resoundingly for this book the main point of contention seems to be the “love triangle”. There are moans and groans about how there are so many love triangles in romance novels ever since Twilight and how the series RUINED EVERYTHING! First of all, they’re not just in young adult. Anita Blake had a love triangle (before she started doing anything with a penis), Mercy Thompson had a love triangle (well more than triangle if you count Stefan, which I do), The Fever series had one… and do you know why all these series have this romantic cliché? Because it’s so freaking common in life. Can you honestly tell me that you’ve never had feelings for two people at the same time? Really think about it, you only have to admit it to yourself. If you never had, then you’re a better person than I am. I’ve been in love with my husband since the moment I laid eyes on him, at age 14, in that way only teenage girls can, with the pink hearts, rainbows, and woodland creatures following me around as I sang ballads to his eternal glory. We didn’t start dating until I was 17. That entire time, any other man I knew was compared to him, and I’m not proud to say I would’ve dropped any boyfriend like a sack of old fish if my darling husband had given me a come hither eyebrow raise.
So yes, there is a love triangle. She has to try and resolve her feelings for Archer, who she knows is bad for her, but her heart still yearns for. You don’t have to tell her it’s hopeless, believe me she knows. Even if she wants him to say “I’m just a misunderstood tortured soul” she knows that Archer is in camp demon hunter and she’s in camp demon, and even if they had enough love within them to… uh… power a rocket to the moon (sorry, my metaphor making machine is broken) they would still have to get around the fact that their companions will be most put out. Then there’s Cal, who if you remember from my review of Hex Hall is a sexy lumberjack who reminds me of Wesley, the poor farmboy years, from The Princess Bride. Unfortunately, while he’s an all around great guy he’s also passive aggressive to a fault. I wanted to reach into the book and slap him. You’re hot, you’re funny when you choose to show any emotion, you’ve got incredible power, you’re HOT, and Sophie is currently sans love interest. Go out and get your woman. Hell, even tell her that you like her! They’re in England for how long and he never thinks “hey, maybe I should give her a toe curling kiss and see if she can remember any other man’s name…”
You know, now that I think about it… it’s kind of like Romeo and Juliet… Fuck, I could’ve saved myself a lot of time (and remembered idiocy) if I’d just said that in the first place. Archer is Romeo, Cal is the “nice but not Romeo” Paris.
Now that I’ve devoted two paragraphs to that love triangle, I should probably add that there’s a ton of other shit going on here. Basically Sophie goes to England because it’s the only way her dad will sign off on having her stripped of powers. The process will probably kill her, and he wants her to fully understand that she does have other options, and she’s not the monster she thinks she is. There are two other demons in residence, and the mystery is “where the fuck did these two come from?” The ritual to raise demons is locked up. You figure parts of it out before the big reveal, but the full implications were a bit shocking to me. The second half of the book is full of twists and turns leading right up until the end.
The book leaves off with two cliffhangers. One has the most blatant foreshadowing and you’ll know how that’s resolved in seconds… The other? Well that one has me going “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WHAT THE HELL HAPPENS? I NEED TO KNOW NOW” and shaking this doll I have for times when I can’t shake authors or characters. I used to use the hubs, but I injured his neck and he doesn’t let me anymore.
I’ve given this book and amended 4.5 wands, but only because I fully acknowledge that a full 5 wands is contingent on people enjoying young adult books. If you’re on the fence with YA, I’d give it a shot; once you get through the angsty outside, you’ll find the protagonist is full of delicious nuggety snark.