Title: Hex Hall #02: Demonglass
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books):
“Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.
That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (a.k.a. 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?”
Thoughts: While HEX HALL allowed the reader to fall in love with Sophie, Demonglass, Rachel Hawkins’ second novel in the trilogy really sets the stage for greater things to come. As Sophie expands her world beyond the campus of Hecate, so too does the reader begin to understand the depths of this new world about which one has only caught glimpses to date. There is a much bigger battleground than a graveyard at a school; as the setting gets bigger, the tension builds and the story arc simply takes off.
The complexity really strengthens the overall story here. No longer is it a high school drama novel but rather a novel where there are greater forces at play. Even better, it is not as simple as black and white, us versus them, but rather it mirrors real-life as it concentrates in the shades of gray that truly test a person’s mettle. Sophie is a more interesting character as she begins to understand this ambiguity and search for her own truths hidden behind miscues, politics, and tenuous relationships.
Demonglass leaves no doubt that Sophie’s story is still unfinished as it ends with one amazing cliffhanger. It is one of those frustrating but perfect endings to a story as it perches the reader right at the edge of an abyss. Had Ms. Hawkins ended the novel a bit earlier, the entire story would have lost some of its tension and drive. If she had ended it later, she would have been forced to continue the story well beyond its tipping point, thereby creating an anti-climax for the reader. It really could not have ended any other way without doing harm to either this or the next novel.
Throughout the whirlwind of the story, the reader knows instinctively that Sophie is still living in a world of half-truths and that she has only begun to tap into her power. One knows that there are amazing things in story for her, and because of her character, the reader is eager to discover them with her. If anything Sophie truly begins to come into her own in this novel, which makes it a stronger storyline than the first novel in the series. If HEX HALL didn’t convince a reader, then Demonglass definitely proves that Sophie is a force with which to be reckoned. It is going to be a long wait until the release of the third novel.