Monday, March 7, 2011

Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

Beware! Spoilers for both Hex Hall and Demonglass lie within.

Title: Demonglass
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Hyperion
Release Date: March 1st, 2011
Pages: 359 pages (hardback)
How I Got the Book: Borrowed it from a friend.

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 Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?


It's been about a semester since the events of Hex Hall. Archer is long gone and hasn't come back to Hecate Hall, Elodie is still dead, and the Vandy still hates Sophie's guts. After a very eventful lesson, Sophie's father comes to Hex Hall to ask her about her decision to go through the Removal and strip herself of her powers. He asks that she doesn't and also wants her to spend a summer with him. After that summer, he will allow her to go through the Removal if she still wants to. With pink-loving vampire Jenna and groundskeeper/healer Cal in tow, Sophie and her father fly out to England... which is where Archer has been sighted recently. But she's over him, right? Yeah right.

I haven't had a chance to reread Hex Hall since my initial reading of the novel in March 2010, but Demonglass did a great job of bringing me up to speed without doing an info dump, and that's always a good sign for a novel's beginning. From the first few paragraphs of the first chapter, I was laughing and smiling and that continued until the last pages, where the reader is left with a huge cliffhanger and probably a dropped jaw.

Sophie's voice hasn't changed a bit from the first novel. She's still a sarcastic, zinger-producing girl whom anything and everything seems to happen to. She gets a little more serious in this installment (which is warranted, considering the content), but no one will be short of laughs at her comments and/or expense. She even does a little bit of introspection! The other characters, both old and new, are just as likable. I developed a soft spot for Sophie's father James, someone she shares more than a few qualities with, and fellow demon Daisy. I continued to love Jenna and wish I could cuddle her without the possibility of being bitten. She's just so adorable1

Cliffhangers are everywhere in this novel. They end chapters and the book and pretty much anything else you can think of, even if it isn't possible. This rapid succession of cliffhangers, combined with Sophie's flowing voice, many twists in the plot that provide shades of gray instead of being black and white, and the writing style, make Demonglass a quick read. I devoured this book all in one day (though is also due in part to me being on an airplane and needing something to do). Stumbles were few and very far between. Either someone has a natural talent for avoiding stumbles in narration or they have a great editor who takes care of the problems they find. Considering how bad editing seems to have gotten in the past few years, I'm inclined to say that it's the former.

My big annoyance with this novel was all about Sophie's interactions with her two guys. I was irritated that a love triangle stepped in, but it wasn't unpredictable; I knew by the end of Hex Hall that Cal would be the hypotenuse in the love triangle. Sophie always knew that she loved Archer, not Cal. The latter was merely a friend to her. In this case, why didn't Sophie ever speak to her father about breaking her betrothal to Cal? If her father asked why, she could make up a Sophie-esque excuse why. The betrothal feels like a cheap device meant solely to throw a love triangle into the mix. and the last thing this genre needs is more love triangles where the third party is thrown in for the sake of drama.
I have no clue when the next book comes out (I estimate March 2012 due to the release dates of the past two novels), but it's not soon enough. Hawkins favors cliffhangers as endings for her novels and chapters and this particular cliffhanger has me impatient for the final installment in the Hex Hall trilogy. Anyone looking for a fun, laugh-out-loud paranormal series should give the Hex Hall books a try.

4 stars!

What am I reading next?: Shine by Lauren Myracle and The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell