By Rachel Hawkins
Sophie Mercer made it through her first intense year at Hex Hall in the YA series of the same name. She discovered she wasn't just a witch; she is one of two demons in the world. The other is her absentee father. And life at Hex Hall, the school for wayward magicals, was not magical. She was attacked, she fought back, her crush turned out to be a demon hunter and is now wanted by her side, the Prodigium.
Just as it looks like things will be back to kinda, sorta normal, Daddy shows up and whisks Sophie off to England for the summer. Coming along are her best friend, sweet little lesbian vampire Jenna, and school caretaker Cal. In reality, he's quite gifted with healing power, makes plants grow like crazy and was bethrothed to Sophie by their parents when they were children. Since he knows about crush Archer, that's rather awkward.
Even more awkward is that Sophie wants to take part in The Removal to get rid of her powers, since they are unstable and she could kill those she loves. Her father, head of the Prodigium's council, is determined to talk her out of it as they retreat to one of the most astounding English countryside castles imaginable. (Perhaps unimaginable as it is not draughty and has wireless.) At the castle, Sophie meets two beings she didn't think existed -- two more demons, goth teens who make her extremely nervous.
Sophie soon is immersed in the demons' drama, the battle between the Prodigium and Archer's group, The Eye, as well as the battle between who really gets her hormones stirring most -- Archer or Cal.
Although this seems like a plot-heavy read, it is a breezy, fast-paced one that unfolds easily with Hawkins's confident prose. It's a deceptively light-toned book that keeps heavy-duty events and ideas from going the emo route. As such, it could easily appeal to readers who prefer the Twilight movies over the books and who don't want to admit they miss Harry Potter.
©2011 All Rights Reserved CompuServe Books Reviews and reprinted with permission