Initially, I was not into reading this sequel by Jessica Clare, but I’m happy I went through with it. What the Hex, the second book in the Hex series, has more at stake compared to the first and continues themes of enemies to lovers with a magical backdrop. Continue reading to get my take on this new release!
Penny Roundtree wants nothing more than to be a familiar to a witch. She’s been a member of the Society of Familiars ever since she was old enough to join the Fam. There’s just a small problem—no one’s hiring. Witches and warlocks are so long-lived that there are far more familiars available than witches to train them. So when an unorthodox arrangement to apprentice under the table to a forbidden warlock presents itself, she takes it.
Willem Sauer is banned from having a familiar due to past transgressions, thereby limiting his magic-casting abilities. Unfortunately for the surly, Prussian warlock, he has no choice but to work with enthusiastic Penny as a familiar. They immediately clash like dried roan horsehair and honeycomb gathered by moonlight (it’s a terrible spell combination, ask anyone).
Casting spells has delightful perks Penny never could have dreamed of, but also greater dangers. Someone is targeting Penny. Willem and Penny must work together to catch their enemy, and if their ploy requires a little kissing on the side, who is to question the rules of magic?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
An Actual Conflict!
One of my major qualms about the first Hex book was the lack of an actual conflict at the end. I guess Clare felt my energy on that and decided to fix that in the second book. I thought the plot lines of familiar needing witch and warlock needing familiar (but legally not able to have one) an interesting and clean way of bringing the main characters together. No doubt it also lends itself to also causing a larger conflict.
I did like how this was also not the only conflict within What the Hex. There were familial issues of neglect within Penny’s family, issues of grudge-wielding mentors for Willem, and grubby backstabbers in the familiar’s club! This created some additional depth to the characters, but also to the plot. Unfortunately, I do not think I really learned more about the magic of the world, which would have been nice.
Characters & Romance
Honestly, my favorite character was the squirrel. Give me a book about the squirrel and I’d be set. Besides him, Penny and Willem were very much opposites, which can sometimes feel a bit much. Yes, opposites attract, but must they be so obviously opposite (and most likely incompatible)? This was a bit over the top and unbelievable. I do not always mind the enemies-to-lovers-who-have-to-live-with-each-other-for-certain-circumstances trope, but that is kinda what already happened in the first book. So it feels in a way that Penny and Willem are reflections of Reggie and Ben. There have also been a lot of fake-dating plot lines that I’ve been reading and maybe it was just, unfortunately, stuck between them, but it made the ending romance seem forced due to the required close quarters.
I think What the Hex was a huge step in the right direction in terms of creating a more thorough conflict and its subsequent resolution. The romance seemed very similar to the first book, but at least we have the squirrel. It is a very quick and light read and there certainly are a plethora of steamy romantic moments. So if that is what you are in the mood for, this book is definitely for you!