by Rachel Hawkins
'Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch, which was why she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered she's a demon, and her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping her kind off the face of the earth. What's worse, Sophie has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is why she decides to go to London for the Removal, a risky procedure that will either destroy her powers forever-or kill her. But once Sophie arrives, she makes a shocking discovery: someone is raising new demons in secret and planning to use their powers to destroy the world. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they're using Acher to do it. But it's not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?'
*** MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS ***
I enjoyed the first book in this trilogy and the events at the very end of it had me super anxious to dive into this second book. I'm happy to report I enjoyed this one too. I'm starting to see some of the annoying writing quirks that the author overloaded her paladin trilogy books with, but since this trilogy came out well before that hopefully those annoyances remain minimal through to the end.
This book introduces the obligatory love triangle that all YA books seem to have. Sophie had already fallen in love with bad boy Archer in the previous book, only to find out he's secretly part of the bad guys. Now we find there is a connection between Sophie and Cal, the quiet healer from the first book. Of course the draw of the bad boy is always stronger than the sensible good boy, and of course theirs is a forbidden love because she's a demon and he's a demon hunter. BUT . . . it's not nearly as corny as it sounds, and it's not even the bulk of the story.
Sophie had wanted to go to London to have the dangerous Removal procedure done because she hates the news that she's a demon, and fears she'll go crazy like her demon ancestors and hurt people she loves. This book starts with Sophie finally meeting her father, who works for the Council, which is based in London. No one wants her to risk the Removal procedure (which would strip her of her powers) and she eventually agrees to delay it and spend the summer with her father in England. There have been reported sightings of Archer in London, but that's not why she's agreed to go there. At least she doesn't think that's why. She's struggling with her emotions about him, like was their budding romance real or just an act on his part. She's distracted from all that though when she realizes there are two more demon teens at the place she's staying with her father. How and why? She'd been told she and her father were the only two demons left.
This story does get a little more complicated than others I've read from this author. It bordered on being too busy, which would have really been a bummer. I hate overly complicated storylines! The first book showed us that there are two groups out to eliminate the witches and other magic users: The Eye, and the Brannicks, an Irish group. The second book implies that the two groups have now banded together to fight a coming war against magic users. But who is raising demons, and why? Some say The Eye is doing it to have a weapon against their enemies. If they're anti-magic though, why and how would they be involved in it?? Some say the Council is doing it, for the same reason, to have a stronger weapon for the coming war. And then Archer shows up and reveals some information to Sophie that seems to cancel out both versions. What the heck is going on then?! This second book ends with the chaos and confusion of what they've discovered, and Sophie making a desperate escape, knowing everyone she's leaving behind could very well die.
I've said it before that this author is great at writing relationships. This relationship between Sophie and Archer is no exception. Even the lesser relationship between Sophie and Cal is heartwarming. But she and Archer really have their moment in this book, and it brought tears to my eyes. They're still nowhere near as hot a couple as Bella and Edward, or even Violet and Phoenix (Embrace series), but they make a run for that title in this one. And of course they're ripped apart as the battle lines are drawn and the chaos ensues. I'm pretty sure we'll have the overcoming-all-odds cliche reunion in the third book, but I'm okay with that. At least for now.