First published in Great Britain: 3rd March 2011
By: Simon & Schuster UK
Sophie Mercer's first term at Hex Hall was quite eventful. First, her evil grandmother's ghost haunted her every move, then her best friend was accused of murder and, finally, Archer Cross (aka The Boy Of Her Dreams) turned out to be an undercover demon hunter; which would have been fine, if Sophie hadn't been the demon he was hunting…
Sophie is hoping for a quieter summer, but as she's spending it with her dad - who just happens to be Head of The Council of Prodigium - at the headquarters of all-things-magical, that's not going to happen. And, as she struggles with her new demon powers, Sophie finds herself surrounded by dark magic and conspiracies. The only way things could get more complicated would be if Archer Cross appeared again. But he wouldn't...would he?
These books. Each time I read one, I just gobble it up like candy. A huuuyuge part of it is the humour - not many YA heroines can make me burst out laughing like Sophie can. This is a girl, whose comment on entering an opulent mansion, is: "The black-and-white marble floor underneath my feet was shiny enough to make me glad I hadn't worn a skirt".
Called Demonglass in the US, the title was changed for the UK and this is one case where I think the change works better. 'Demonglass' doesn't really have much to do with the plot here, but 'Raising Demons' pretty much describes what's going on. The action jumps ahead to the end of Sophie's first year at Hecate Hall and her father arrives to take her to England for the summer. Having the sequel take place away from the school is a bold move, but the right one, I think. Life at Hex Hall could have easily become very repetitive; now, Raising Demons feels fresh.
This book gives considerably less attention to most of the supporting characters established in the first one and instead focuses on two specific relationships of Sophie's: her formerly absentee father and her crush, Archer. I was at first perplexed at how strong Sophie's feelings for Archer were portrayed as being - I hadn't thought she was that into him - but Raising Demons totally sold me on those two as star-crossed lovers. It is an extremely ill-advised pairing but it's impossible to read this and not get caught up in it. However, I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss some of the Hex Hall characters. There wasn't enough Jenna (there can never be enough Jenna) and I particularly wish we could have seen more of Mrs Casnoff. It might have shed more light on the choices she makes at the end of the book.
I think for most of its narrative, Raising Demons is an even better read than Hex Hall. The world is established now, we get to learn more about its intricacies and the stakes are higher. My only problem with it, is that it fell victim to the cliffhanger ending. On the one hand, the ending is shocking and hugely emotional but on the other hand, it kind of isn't, because we don't know if those things really happened or not - it was all left up in the air. I can't help but think the potential character deaths will have lost their impact by the time the third book comes out. But then Rachel Hawkins has surprised me many times now.
Speaking of the third book, I realised just how much I like this series from my reaction when I found out the next book is the final one: I'm so disappointed! It seems like these books could go on much longer, for as long, in fact, as I need them to make me smile.
Rating: 4 stars