Book Review: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

23 Mar

Book cover for Spell Bound by Rachel HawkinsTitle: Spell Bound

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Series: Hex Hall #3

Genre: Paranormal YA

Publisher: Hyperion Children’s

Release date: March 13, 2012

Source: Library

Summary: 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?

I have to admit, guys, that I was a little late to Rachel Hawkin’s Hex Hall series. Nothing personal. It was just one of those, “Oh, I need to read these books soon!” kind of things, where “soon” means “unintentionally not for a while yet.” THANKFULLY, I got around to the first two books last year because that meant I could wait with baited breath for the third and final book, SPELL BOUND, with the rest of the people in the know. Because the Hex Hall series–including SPELL BOUND–is fun, dramatic, zippy, and imaginative. I’m on the bandwagon. But let’s get down to the real business here: my thoughts on how things wound up for our girl Sophie and the rest of the gang. Preview: my thoughts were GREAT (great meaning “positive” of course). Here’s also where I issue a big honking SPOILER WARNING for anyone who hasn’t read the first two books yet. So, SPOILER WARNING

When we last saw Sophie and the gang, in the aftermath of the burning of Thorne Abbey, headquarters of the Council, Cal sent Sophie, who’s magic had been restrained by those scheming, evil Casnoffs, off to find her mother. According to Cal, Sophie’s mom was with the–DUN DUN DUNNN–Brannicks, infamous Prodigium hunters. Sophie’s dad had lost his powers entirely, her new demon friends had flown off the handle, her best friend Jenna was missing, and Archer was last seen in the burning Thorne Abbey. Cal, Archer, Jenna, and Sophie’s dad are all feared dead. 

I’m guess that it wouldn’t be a huge spoiler to tell you guys that when I say “feared” dead, it’s because saying “known” dead would be wrong. Right? Because Sophie’s dad, Cal, Jenna, and Archer all play important roles in SPELL BOUND by Rachel Hawkins. The stakes here are high, there’s lots of creepy drama, loads of confusing relationships, secrets revealed, and a nicely tied up but still open ending. What would those things be without Archer, Cal, Jenna, and Sophie’s dad?! 

Really, though, as has been the case since HEX HALL, the real centerpiece of SPELL BOUND is Miss Sophie. Even though she’s struggling without access to her powers, she’s still funny, snarky, awkward, and fearless. And as always, I loved her. She’s so charming! Plus, Rachel Hawkins throws lots of THINGS at Sophie and she somehow manages to deal. It’s really hard not to like Sophie, and it’s even harder not to root for her. 

Of course, all these THINGS Sophie has to deal with, well, she doesn’t deal with them alone. The supporting characters in SPELL BOUND are their perfectly wonderful, conflicted, humorous, loyal selves. I’m so glad that Sophie has Jenna and Archer and Cal, as well as some new characters, the Brannicks, to help her along. The way they all interact, even in the midst of all the SERIOUS, demons-taking-over-the-world drama, keeps things light. That’s not something I’ve encountered too often in paranormals, so I appreciated it here. 

I know that I mentioned that lots of things finish up in SPELL BOUND, but Rachel Hawkins is sneaky guys! Yes, Sophie chooses between Cal and Archer (the romance in SPELL BOUND is good, btw!), and yes, the issue with her powers being bound is resolved. The ending is kind of tied open, if you follow me. The main action is all sorted out, and the big questions that have been lingering are answered, but a whole new, REALLY interesting can of worms is opened up, too, that only makes me more excited for the Hex Hall spin-off series that’s starting up next year. Aside from the can of worms, I’m hoping that we get to know the Brannicks a little better, especially Finley and Izzy and Torin (he’s not technically a Brannick, but, well…consider yourself mildly teased).

SPELL BOUND by Rachel Hawkins was a really satisfying conclusion to this Hex Hall series, friends, and I’m even more excited to see where the spin-off series goes! This world is exciting and vibrant and full of unexplored mythology (personally? I’d love to get some direct action with The Eye. Amiright?), so I know that whatever comes next for Sophie or whoever is at the center of the new series, it’s going to be AWESOME. 

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4 Responses to “Book Review: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins”

  1. A. Knight March 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    I keep reading reviews that go back and forth between satisfying and notso satisfying, and I’ve resolved to keep an open mind when I read this. Because it’s not a question, whether I’ll read this because, well, DUH, it’s Rachel Freaking Hawkins. ‘Nuff said. And I so love the Hex Hall series! ;)

    Asher

  2. Heidi April 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    I FINALLY finished this last night, so I can finally read reviews! I have to say that while I really enjoyed it, I was kind of disappointed in Spell Bound. And let me just say when I saw there was a character called ‘Finn’ I WANTED TO THROW THIS BOOK AGAINST THE WALL. Even though it’s technically Finley, and she’s a chick, I had to groan so hard.

    I cannot wait to find out who the spin off series will star. I’m kind of hoping Izzy. I feel like her and Torrin are totally the OTP to come, and since Hawkins is loose and fast with the kissing scenes (in the best way possible), I’m looking forward to more.

    • trippingbooks April 18, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

      Yeah, I can totally see the disappointment. In fact, I think if I had higher expectations for it I might not have liked it as much. Because I expected it to be kind of fluff-ish, I reviewed it based on my HIGHLY SCIENTIFIC criteria for good fluff. I found that MAJOR thing that happens at the end there (I hope you know what I’m talking about) was a teensy bit jarring, as well. But based on what I thought it would be, it met my expectations. That might be slightly bad overall, since my expectations were not to be blown away, but there it is.
      I’m looking forward to the spinoff as well, and I TOTALLY think we’re going to get more with Izzy and Torrin. Because what was he? A ghost from the past or a spirit, right? I think it’s going to be good. And HAHA about the Finn business. That name will haunt you all the days of your life.

      • Heidi April 22, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

        Said MAJOR THING made me so mad. Seriously. There was yelling involved. But yeah, I think it’s great that your expectations weren’t too high, that’s usually how I like to roll. “Aim low, shoot high”.

        I think Torrin is somehow like trapped, and could probably somehow be released and then be a real person in the world? Maybe? We shall see.

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