BOOK REVIEW: SPELL BOUND BY RACHEL HAWKINS



Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?







In times of yore when authors gave their books obscure titles, they had to supplement those with one which actually hinted at the content. The former was usually in Latin, and about as descriptive as those helpful box recipes ("Add this ice-cream to your cake mix to make your first Baked Alaska!") The latter would be the title for the masses (because the masses haven't spoken Latin for as long as the masses haven't considered togas business chic).

So I introduce you to Spell Bound, OR Operation Nancy Drew Goes To Hex Hall. It's right there in the book. I'm not making this up. (Not that I ever could. We all wish we had Rachel Hawkins's sense of humor.)

Given the absolute non-ending of the second book in the series, it's safe to say that Spell Bound picks up right where Demonglass left off. Sophie hopes she'll find answers and possible shelter with the Brannicks. And god willing that Archer is with the Eye. And if Jenna is still alive, perhaps Byron has taken her in. And if Cal and her now-powerless father have survived the fire and carnage at Thorne Abbey, hopefully they're on their way to meet her.

In other words, we start this book off hoping that the demon finds shelter with the demon-killers, the witch with the witch-killers, the vampire with a crazy vampire nest, and humans with other humans (which history has taught us is rarely a good thing).

Things are off to a spiffy start as usual for Nancy Drew and her band of misfits.

But fear not. The fate of a select few will soon be overshadowed by discoveries that the fate of the entire world is in jeopardy. Not that this wasn't clear when the Hyde Casnoff sisters chose to unleash almost literal hell on earth at the end of the last book. Raising unpredictable, murderous demons in spades, then losing control over them is a better recipe than the one I mentioned at the beginning. Only this is a recipe for disaster. And - sure enough - disaster is imminent from the get-go.

"Look, we are dealing with the possibility of an army of demons. I don't know about you guys, but those words are right up there with 'root canal' and 'school on Saturdays' in terms of things that terrify me."

From the scariest to the least scary, I'd rate it (1) Root canal, (2) Army of demons, (3) School of Saturdays. Probably because I liked school. But I digress.

In a truly beautiful show of circularity (the good kind!) and a nod to the series' original Latin title, Rachel Hawkins brings us back to the beginning. Which is how Nancy Drew + whoever is left of the misfits (spoiler-free review woes and all) find themselves at Hex Hall once more. Only now they, like us, are privy to the fact that hell is quite literally being raised on the school grounds. The school leaders are plotting, demons are demoning, and demonglass is nowhere in sight.

And still somehow everything manages to be hilarious.

In the direst of circumstances, when the going gets really tough, Rachel Hawkins never fails to retain the spark of hilarity her writing has become known for. I've waxed rhapsodic about it in the past two reviews, and I am glad to be in the position to do so once again for this series finale. Because as far as finales go - it's action-packed, it's dramatic, and it's reasonably fast-paced. The characters we've grown to love are all in danger one after the other. The protagonist we've come to relate to puts herself in incredibly precarious situations (with good reason, most of the time). It's all building up to an explosive climax. But true to herself, Sophie Mercer diffuses tension with humor, and she deals with nerves in puns. And these are all signature-Rachel-Hawkins, in the best way imaginable.

Would I have loved a lengthy epilogue which brought each (major and minor) character's arc to its natural end? Always. I'm a fan of closures. But has the book delivered in all the ways it has promised to deliver? I feel like I should answer this with a really bad pun. Must... resist...

Yes, it has. (I'm showing some character development myself!)

Sophie Awesome Sparkle-Princess - it's been one hell of a ride. I will miss and revisit it frequently. I feel like I've been along for the ride the entire time. And in the words of a wiser (or at least hotter) character than myself - "We've tried to kill each other, fought ghouls, and kissed a lot. I'm pretty sure we're married in some cultures." I'm pretty sure this is an open invitation to dive back into this series whenever I find a book I'm reading lacking in humor. In the words of another fictional character hotter than myself - "I'll be back."







I am notoriously bad at reviewing last books in series. This review is therefore somewhat of a milestone. It is my sincerest hope you guys enjoy/agree with it, or have at least read it. If not, that's okay, too. We love all of our followers equally! In a non-creepy manner. Mostly. In case you wish you catch up on my previous reviews of Hex Hall, or find Rachel Hawkins or ourselves in various other corners of the internet, as always, links have been provided. Merry Milestone, all.



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BOOK REVIEW: SPELL BOUND BY RACHEL HAWKINS
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