Friday 18 May 2012

Book Review: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins.

Product details:
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books.
Paperback, 336 pages.
Release date: March 29th 2012
Rating: 3½ out of 5.
Ages: 12+
Series: Hex Hall #3
Other books in series: Hex Hall, Raising Demons.
Overall series rating: 3½ out of 5
Source: Received from publisher for review.

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?

Please note: This book is part of a series. There may be spoilers for previous book in the series in this review.

Queen of snark and all round kick-ass heroine, Sophie Mercer is back, in this, the final installment of Rachel Hawkins entertaining Hex Hall series.  Spell Bound sees the stakes raised higher than ever in the ultimate battle of good versus evil, but first, Sophie needs to get her magic powers back!

Raising Demons (Hex Hall #2) ended on a cliffhanger of epic proportions, one which put this book firmly on my I-need-to-read-it-ASAP wish list. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Sophie & Co., but while the action in Spell Bound picks up pretty much in the immediate aftermath of Raising Demons, I felt out of the loop when I started reading this one.  This was mainly due to the introduction of the Brannick family; Sophie’s supposed sworn enemies, who play a major role in this book. But while the Brannicks play  an important part in both the plot and in Sophie’s life, I felt that the inclusion of so many new characters in a book where there’s already a whole lot going on, was problematic.  While Sophie’s story is all wrapped up here, for the most part, there are definitely some Brannick character threads left hanging loose at the end of the book. I wonder if Hawkins plans to revisit these characters in a future series.  It would make a lot of sense if she did.

Raising Demons rated very highly for me, and I have to say that while overall this book still had its moments, it just fell flat at times.  My major qualm with Spell Bound is that it’s just too busy. There’s so much going on in terms of new characters to get to know, old characters to remember – the action takes us back to Hex Hall here, so there are some characters unseen since the first book – and a whole lot of location changes to take in too.
 Unfortunately some of the things I love about the series got a little lost in the process.

Take the witty inter-play between Sophie and her love interest, Archer Cross, for instance.  This was excellently portrayed in Raising Demons, but here it all seems a little forced at times, and there’s not all that much romance here either. I remained invested in these two because of what I remembered of them in the previous books in the series, not because of what I read about here. Sophie has a somewhat steamy interaction too with her other possible romantic interest, her ‘fiancé’, Cal, which could have consequences for her relationship with Archer, but which doesn’t because it is never discussed, never explored further on in the book.  As for Cal, he’s a nice guy, but really, he never stood a chance against Archer Cross.  I felt that the whole love triangle aspect of this series never really took off, and honestly I didn’t really see the point of it. It was always going to be Cross for Mercer.

With evil enemies to battle in epic final showdowns, and a shocking twist or two, there is still a lot to enjoy in Spell Bound, and I enjoyed this series overall, despite my qualms about the final book.  I look forward to reading whatever Rachel Hawkins writes next, because I like her style and her snark!


  1. Becky @ Stories & Sweeties18 May 2012 at 20:17

    I have to agree that I find it hard to take when a ton of new characters are introduced, and think it would make it doubly hard if we have to remember people who haven't been mentioned since book one!  I do love this series though, so I still can't wait to read Spellbound---but I wonder, with the mass of characters and the cliffhanger endings if this might be one of those series that is best read after the final one is out and they can all be read one right after the other?

  2. I really enjoyed Hex Hall and Demon Glass as well, but for some reason have been hesitant to pick up this last installment. I like Rachel Hawkin's voice but I think I may just wait for my library to stock this one and then give it a read. I'm anxious to read Rebel Belles, which is the next book Hawkins will publish (I think.)

  3. She is planning on revisiting it because she has a spin off coming out. The character hasn't been revealed yet but I feel like it's the youngest Brannick. I agree about the Archer and Sophie aspect. LOVED them in Demonglass (or in your case, Raising Demons) but they weren't the same in this. I was still really happy to be reading about them though. also WORD on the love triangle, did anyone actually think Cal was a contender? I didn't see the point of it either and could have been left without it. I'm very excited to see what else Rachel writes because Hex Hall was so enjoyable. 

  4. daisychainbooks19 May 2012 at 12:49

     Definitely a good idea to read all of these in one go! It's been a over a year since I read the second book and over two years since the first - and I was totally disoriented here at times!

  5. daisychainbooks19 May 2012 at 12:49

     I'll definitely check that one out too!

  6. daisychainbooks19 May 2012 at 12:51

     I didn't know there was a spin-off in the works, but that makes total sense especially if it's the youngest Brannick! Still, I would question involving all those new characters so heavily in this one. Loved Archer & Sophie in the second book too and had high hopes for them here, but it never really happened.

  7. "I remained invested in these two because of what I remembered of them in
    the previous books in the series, not because of what I read about
    here." I felt the same way about them too! They didn't have enough time to shine as a couple in this book, which made me totally sad but at least they had some good times before to remember. My favourite book has to remain the second (which is called Demonglass here!) because it was fun and that ending left me crazy pumped to read this one! x)

    Amazing honest review, Leanna! You had such similar thoughts to me with not liking it as much as the first two, but at least we have more RH to look forward too! :) <3

  8. sounds like it was great!~ love this version of the cover.

  9. Oh damn. It's sad that this didn't really live up to the other books in the series. It sounds sounds great, definitely! But with finale books, I always have expectations for it to be the BEST in the series, to go all out and WOW me.

    There's no contest it was always Archer and while I WANT it to be Archer, I'm a bit disappointed to hear there's not more of a conflict between both guys. I prefer when the reader is just as torn as the protagonist over which guy to choose.

    Regardless, this still sounds like a fabulous installment and I look forward ot seeing how it all ends for Sophie and the gang. Brilliant review!

  10. Eep, this definitely doesn't sound like a series to step into without having read all the others, particularly if there are so many character flying about. Thanks for the review!

  11. I agree that this one was a bit too busy! I loved the first two and though I still really liked this one, I was a bit disappointed. Wasn't enough Archer for me (and I thought things seemed forced too), plus the end...thought it was too much, to be honest. Glad you enjoyed it overall despite finding it flat at times - great review!


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