"Demonglass" by Rachel Hawkins

I love it when sequels are as strong as--or better than--their predecessors. It doesn't always happen. I can think of more series that failed to live up to their hype than I can ones that surpassed what was expected of them. Demonglass, the second entry in Rachel Hawkins' Hex Hall series, is a book worthy of standing next to its sibling on the bookshelf. If you thought Hex Hall was fun and quirky, you'll be pleased to know that the second novel in the series is as well. In fact, Hawkins packed the kitchen sink this time around. Demonglass is even spunkier than Hex Hall. This is a series that I never expected to love. I don't read many paranormal novels and I didn't expect much going into the first book. If you recall from my review last month, however, I fell in love with the world Rachel Hawkins created for us. Her characters are witty and fresh. Paranormal stereotypes don't exist; rather, they're turned on their heads.

One of the most interesting things about Demonglass is how fresh it was. Starting the novel, it didn't feel like a rehash of the same old story being drawn out for no necessary reason. There's purpose in everything that goes on. While there's a little angst (because, really, can you think of a single book that doesn't stir things up a bit?), it's not the usual dreck so frequently found in YA literature. Main character Sophie doesn't sit around feeling sorry for herself and whining about her lot in life. No, she's so kick-ass, she's going to do something about it. Without spoiling things for anyone who hasn't read Hex Hall (in which case, what are you sitting around here for? Shoo! Go read!), huge revelations are revealed toward the end of the first book. These things are dealt with here. Sophie is very focused on doing the right thing, even if it goes against her own safety.

Demonglass begins shortly after Hex Hall left off, so little time has passed. I didn't feel like I was being thrust into a new situation. Show, don't tell. Hawkins took this advice to heart and it shows. In fact, she goes a step further and moves the entire novel to another country. We explored the school in the first book; now we travel to London, where things (again) aren't quite as they appear to be. A new setting poses new problems and scenarios. There are quite a few familiar faces, but also new characters to love (or fear!). Demonglass has an even tighter storyline, one that completely sucked me up and involved me. I'm usually good at picking up on the path an author is headed down and able to arrive at the right spot ahead of time. The Hex Hall series likes to keep the surprises coming, though. There are so many things I never anticipated in both books, but especiallly here. Sometimes, I feel like I'm in Wonderland, where everything is the opposite of what it seems. Hawkins is brilliant when it comes to weaving together a captivating novel. My only con? The cliffhanger is downright wicked. I don't want to wait to read the next book! Hawkins is such a tease; she knows just where to leave us hanging...

Finally, what you've all been waiting for: Cover Design! I didn't mention it the last time around, and some of you called me on it. I hope to rectify my mistake today. The Hex Hall covers are so much fun. I love how they're a mirror image. On the one side, you have what's on the outside: What everyone sees when they look at a person. On the other, you have the inner person. It symbolizes this hidden world, and on top of that, all the hidden secrets that Sophie has slowly begun to unlock. While Demonglass is visually more stunning (imo) than Hex Hall, I like the first cover the best. In it, Sophie is outwardly dressed like a student, but inwardly reflected as being a magical being. Even the hair/makeup are well-suited. Demonglass is more posh in appearance. Maybe it's the European influence since everyone's so fashion-forward, but Sophie looks more sophisticated than she actually is, even in her "outward image." The cover is gorgeous, but it's not quite as well-suited to the tone as the first one. I do, however, love the orange reflection pull. It reminds me of the Eye, which is integral to the second book.