Demon Glass by Rachel Hawkins is the second book in the Hex Hall YA series. We get a nice break from the dreary setting of a private school for troubled adolescents with magical powers, aka Prodigium. Sophie’s father brings her to England for the summer to stay at council headquarters, along with her vampire roommate, Jenna, and hunky healer handyman, Cal. Well aware that her former crushed turned attempted assassin, Archer, is in London hunting prodigium with the rest of the Eye, Sophie leaves Hex Hall with the distinct feeling that she’ll not return.

Demon Glass by Rachel Hawkins

Sophie enters her father’s world with the intention to figure out who she is. The threat of the Eye circles around the periphery, and tensions rise among her father’s fellow council members. Sophie picks away at the past, but plot moves along in a passive way. Things happen to her and she reacts to them. The inciting action always comes from the exterior rather than Sophie’s choices. Of course there’s a love triangle, too: a nice boy overshadowed by a very bad boy who only has feelings for her.

Hawkins writes magic really well. She does it in a way that makes it feel real. No cliches. No mystical sensation courses through anybody’s veins. This is a great strength that’s underused in these books. She’ also excellent with believable, expressive yet sometimes incoherent teen dialogue.

Neither this book nor the series is a favorite. I know I’m not the target audience for YA, but this one definitely skews younger than most. The relationships are less nuanced, plot less layered and the setting less immediate. Without the inherent structure of the school setting, the action in this one feels like it drifts from one beat to the next. I was pretty bored.