Sunday, July 3, 2011

REVIEW: Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

Let me start by saying I'm not a big paranormal fan. I can take a good dystopian from time to time (*ahem* Hunger Games/Delirium/Matched), but for the most part I'm a straight-down-the-middle contemporary realistic kinda gal, bonus points if there's some romance and a lot of comedy thrown in. Which is why (as I've said ten bajillion times) the Jessica Darling series is my all-time YA fave.

But thanks to some blogs I follow, along with following Ms. Rachel Hawkins on Twitter, I decided to give Hex Hall a whirl. I had the free sample chapter sent to my Kindle, and this is what I saw on the very first page:
I stepped out of the car and into the hot thick heat of August in Georgia.
"Awesome," I murmured, sliding my sunglasses on top of my head. Thanks to the humidity, my hair felt like it had tripled in size. I could feel it trying to devour my sunglasses like some sort of carnivorous jungle plant. "I always wondered what it would be like to live in somebody's mouth."

Isn't that just the most evocative and hilarious description of southern summer swamp atmosphere you've ever read? Right away I knew this was going to be a well-written and funny book, my favorite kind, even if it is paranormal. The moment I read that last line, I bought the book immediately. It didn't disappoint. Sure, there's witches and warewolves and *gasp* even vampires in this book. But at it's core, Hex Hall feels like a hilarious high school book, you know, if your friends turned into wild dogs and smelled your hair and a ghost hung out next to your locker.

I loved it is what I'm saying, and if you haven't read it, I certainly recommend it. Shockingly, I'm only just now getting around to reading the second book in the series, Demonglass. I picked it up from my local library, along with a fat stack of other books. And let me tell you, I was in a reading rut for a couple days. I was reading things I liked, but I couldn't get sucked in. I started to wonder, Are these books bad? Or am I bored with reading? What's going on? 

Turns out I just needed a little Rachel Hawkins in my life, because from the moment I opened the cover of Demonglass, I didn't want to close it. I even got trapped on the T today due to a police action at Central Square, and I didn't even care. I could have sat in that tunnel all day, I was having so much fun reading!

Rachel Hawkins is a kickass storyteller. She never betrays a thing, and the whole time you're swinging back-and-forth between theories on the characters and events in the story. Archer Cross: Good guy or bad guy? Nick and Daisy: Friends or foes? Cal or Archer? What's up with The Eye? What's up with Sophie's dad?

And holy cliffhangers! Each chapter ends in such a way that you HAVE to turn the page and see what's next. And as I was cruising to the end of the book, I couldn't help but notice that the action was HIGH and the tension was GROWING in an inverse proportion to how many pages were left in the book. I kept thinking, "How is she going to do this?" as the pages ticked down five, four, three ... until I was on the last page, last paragraph, last line and BAM. It was over.

Touche, Rachel Hawkins. I will be pre-ordering Hex Hall 3. Turns out when you write a strong voice and snappy dialogue, when you craft a tight, tense, interesting story, and when you write funny jokes, it doesn't matter the genre. Paranormal or not, I LOVE the Hex Hall series.

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