February 19, 2015

Hexed

by Michelle Krys
Doubleday Canada
978-0385680509
384 pp.
Ages 14+
2014

Other than her best friend, Bianca, acting like a tyrannical cheer captain, and her Wicca-practising mom always droning on about protecting the Witch Hunter's Bible, and geeky neighbour Paige Abernathy constantly trying to re-establish their former friendship, Indigo Blackwood could be any sixteen-year-old teen.  That is, until a guy in leather–unusual in the heat of L.A.–starts showing up around her, laughing at her, making odd comments, and starting to cause her some concern.

When the Witch Hunter's Bible is stolen, Indie seeks out this handsome young man, who calls himself Bishop, sure that he is responsible for its disappearance.  With a twist of fate that has her reconnecting with trustworthy Paige, Indie learns that she may be a witch, that a group of sorcerers called the Priory are after the Bible in order to wield power over witches, and that Bishop has been sent by the Family–the governing body of witches–to help Indigo.

That hardly covers the breadth of supernatural goings-on: Bishop's warlock nature and ability to fly; the cruelty of the sorcerers; the twistedness of their mind-erasing; and Indie's own dabblings with her new powers.  Of course, there are also the normal teen issues of striving for popularity; balancing new friends, old friends, non-friends and exes; following school rules and parent rules; and worrying about making good decisions or not worrying about poor decisions.

Hexed is high school drama with witches and magic.  The high school scenes are generally banal, focusing on cheer-leading, football and lunchroom antics, all immersed in malicious gossip and spiteful stunts.  And Indie is shallow and oblivious to her own rudeness, undeserving of those whom she attracts.  But when the horrific Priory gets involved and start having an impact on her life and those around her, and Bishop and his ex Jezebel throw themselves into the fray, Hexed takes on a new dimension or two.  Michelle Krys is able to rescue a typical mean girls storyline and boy-meets-girl romance with the addition of surprisingly imaginative scenarios and magical powers, and the Bishop-Indie relationship becomes more than just predictable.  There are still some unknowns to be revealed, particularly about Bishop, about a frightening new character presented at the conclusion of Hexed, and about the elusive Witch Hunter's Bible, and these will serve to draw young adult readers to the next book in The Witch Hunter series.

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Charmed, The Witch Hunter Book 2 (978-0-385743396), is due out in May, 2015.

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