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Thursday, January 19, 2012

C'mon, Sophie Mercer, Work Your Magic A Little Harder ...

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note: While this review will not contain spoilers from Demonglass, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, Hex Hall. As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

When Sophie Mercer first arrived at Hecate Hall—a reform school for screw-up paranormal teens—she believed herself to be a witch. A crappy one, who couldn't even begin to control her powers, but definitely a witch. She also believed herself to be in love with a gorgeous warlock named Archer Cross. Then, two witches were killed (one by the ghost of Sophie's great-grandmother, no less), a large family secret was revealed (Sophie's father is a demon, making her part human, part monster) and Archer turned out to have a secret of his own (A demon hunter? Who knew!). Now, Sophie's not sure what to believe. About anything.

The one thing Sophie's pretty sure of is that she no longer wants to possess any powers at all. She longs to travel to England where she can go through the Removal, a process that will take away her magic forever. Or kill her. Either one is preferable to the catastrophic damage her powers always create. So, when Sophie's estranged father shows up, offering to take her back to London with him, she agrees to go. What she discovers across the pond, though, gives her pause. Although Sophie and her father are supposed to be the only demons in the world, she meets two more, which can only mean one thing: someone is secretly raising demons. Oh, and she's betrothed. But not to the guy she's in love with, the guy who's currently stalking around London trying to kill her. To complicate matters, Sophie's having friend drama with Jenna, parental drama with her father and ghost drama with her dead best frenemy. What's a witch-turned-demon to do?

With the paranormal world at the brink of all-out war, Sophie's scary-powerful magic could really come in handy. But she refuses to unleash it, especially since she can't even decide which side of the battle she's on. As the fight escalates, Sophie has to decide who she is, what she wants, and how much she's willing to risk to get it. Everything—her family, her friendships, her future, even her very life—depends on what she does next.

Like Hex Hall before it, Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins is a fun, lighthearted paranormal romance. Sophie's snarky, but lovable; flawed, but admirable; strong, but sympathetic. Her upbeat voice keeps the story engaging, even when it dwindles into predictability (something that happens often in this second book of the series). Plotwise, Demonglass gets a little slow and, unfortunately, nothing surprising really happens. So, while Sophie continues to amuse me, I still say this series lacks a certain polish that keeps me from truly loving it. Which isn't to say I don't enjoy the books—I do—I just think there's a whole lot of potential here that's not being realized. And that's always a bummer. Sophie just needs to work her magic a little harder to win me over. That shouldn't be too tough for the most powerful demon in the world, now should it?

(Readalikes: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)

Grade: C

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG-13 for mild language (no F-bombs) and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of Demonglass from the generous folks at Disney/Hyperion. Thank you!


  1. Your lackluster feelings for this series reminds me of how I felt about Alyson Noel's Immortals series. Not very polished, slow and predictable at times, and overall plot been done before. A just average book that will annoy your smarter readers.
    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews

  2. I've been seeing reviews for Hex Hall around lately, but now I know more about it. It sounds much more interesting than I had anticipated. Too bad about the unrealized potential.


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