Plot Sketch: Sophie's a witch. She's got no leash on her power, and because of her inability to control (and her mother's lack of ability to teach her, being a plain ol' garden variety human being) the two have moved around from place to place like seventeen times in Sophia Mercer's fifteen years. See, Sophie's dad was a warlock, but he neglected to mention that to Sophie's mom, so she left his butt and had Soph on her own. When Sophie casts a love spell that goes crashingly wrong, she's sentenced by The Council (those are the folks that regulate and monitor Prodigium - fairies, shifters, and witches and sometimes vamps) to Hecate Hall. It's like juvie for supernaturals. Sophie gets to room with the only vamp allowed as a student in what they affectiontely refer to as Hex Hall, and is constantly freaked out and affected by a string of murders and attempted murders amongst her fellow witches, most of which her vamp-roomie Jenna is accused of. Oh, and there'a a hot warlock guy and a hot groundskeeper guy too.
Verdict: For the first third of the book, I kept going, "Uh, Harry Potter much?" Teenager who doesn't know who she is or what to do with her powers? Check. School for people to learn about their powers/where their powers come from? Check. Slightly devilish teacher who main character definitely gets off on the wrong foot with? Check. School protected by charms and spells? Check. Headmaster/principal who is wise and powerful? Check. Groundskeeper who is also helpful and trustworthy? Check. Main character who is super-powerful and more powerful than all of his/her classmates? Check. There was actually a point where I almost quit reading because I was almost disgusted with the Harry-Potter-isms. THEN. Hawkins admits the Harry-Potter-isms by having Sophie call Cal (the groundskeeper) Hagrid. And after that happened, I was like, "Oh! Good! She admits it." And the book seemed to only get better from there. Then, about 1/2 way through, the Harry-Potter-isms vanish, and Hex Hall comes into its own, and becomes a very interesting story (with the help of an interesting love triangle - except it's not 2 guys, dude) and even twists to a place I didn't see it going. It's a quick read and the writing is good. Would I say read it? Yeah. Would I say make it go to the top of your pile? Nah. It's worth a read, but I wouldn't drop everything to read it right away.
Location: Hecate Hall, on an island off of Georgia, United States (at least methinks the isle belongs to the US)
Main Character: Sophia Mercer, or Sophie for short
Favorite Character: Archer Cross. *swoon* Even after the ending. I'm really intrigued by him. Those who have read it will know what I mean.
Would Change: I think the Verdict says Harry-Potter-isms like four times. Make it less Harry-Potter. It's still going to be a great story without all of the similarities. It just seemed like Hawkins was trying to follow a success-formula... but hopefully it wasn't conscious.
Favorite Line: My absolute favorite part of the book is near the beginning when Hawkins tells us about how the Prodigium came about. It is so creative and so interesting and honestly what kept me reading through the parts I didn't particularly care for. I even read this part to my mom and my grandma because I was so impressed with it's originality. "'After the Great War between God and Lucifer, those angels who refused to take sides were cast out of heaven. One group...chose to hide itself away under hills and deep in forests. They became faeries. Another group chose to live among animals and became shapeshifters. And the last chose to intermingle with humans and became witches.'" page 25, hardcover
Good for Monster? Nope. He'd not like this one. Not fantasy enough for him.
People Who Will Like This: Hermione, Spike from Buffy, the smart girl in the back of the class you don't know is smart, my mom
People Who Won't Like This: werewolves, Hagrid, vampire fundamentalists, scared-of-the-dark types
Author's Website: http://www.rachel-hawkins.com/
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; 1 edition
Publish Date: March 2, 2010
Oh, and P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our one and only niece, Esperanza, today. ♥ Love ya, chica!