Title: The Hex Breaker’s Eyes [Hex Breaker 1]
Author: S.D. Tennant
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Mystery, Urban
Rating: 4 Stars
Small-town fifteen-year-old Mindee Vefreet thinks she’s going crazy when she sees a girl from school glowing in the dark. But when bad things start to happen around the glowy girl, it quickly becomes clear that what Mindee’s eyes can see is very real, and very dangerous.
Mindee is a seer, able to see hexes clinging to the victims of black magic. With no knowledge of magic or the occult, and no experience in breaking spells, attempting to break the hex seems almost impossible. Soon other people are getting hexed, the magic is turning lethal, and Mindee is drawing dangerous attention.
Because, to a certain type of witch, the only thing better than a good seer is a dead seer.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
Let me start by saying that I don’t particularly care for present tense. In fact, most of the time, I outright loathe it. I find it distracting and unnatural when it comes to storytelling. Oddly, this was the second book this week I’ve inadvertently picked up that was written in present tense—and the second I actually liked. Technically speaking, this book had a few issues. correlative conjunctions (and’s and but’s etc) were used incorrectly throughout—and while this probably won’t bother the average reader, as someone who knows the rules of grammar, I found it a tad annoying. There weren’t a lot of misspellings or punctuation mistakes outside of that (maybe a word or two that was missing here and there), so otherwise, the story was written fairly well. It was easy to follow along and engage with.
My only big nitpick about the writing itself was that the narrative style leaned a bit towards the overly-familiar. It was nice to see some personality injected into the narrative—don’t get me wrong, but the main character constantly broke fourth wall, directly addressing the audience on multiple occasions, and it did feel a bit quirky and distracting. It wasn’t bad per se, but it took some getting used to.
The story itself was marvelous. I loved the characters and their almost Scooby-like group as they ran around trying to solve the mystery of Mindee’s seer-sight and the hexes. Each character was full of personality and though juvenile, had very real reactions to what was going on. It was nice to follow along as Mindee struggled with her new ability but also the fear she had of becoming crazy like her schizophrenic mother. I think the author pulled off the dynamics of her situation perfectly.
I will admit that I was surprised. About half way into the book the story seemed finished. I could literally cut the book in half and you’d think you’d read a complete story… but that isn’t where the story ended. Instead, it continued on in Part 2/Part 3, and that’s where things got really interesting. I genuinely loved the first half of the book, but when I sunk into the second half, it crossed this line into absurdly strange. The tension and consequence of the hexes was amped up exponentially, which really drew me into the second half, but soon the story began to delve a bit farther into the weird as well. Before I knew it there were girls hovering in mid-air, evil witch covens, and red-eyed monsters bent on stealing innocent souls. It was an unexpected turn of events, and for awhile it threw me a little bit… the first half of the story was a bit tame in comparison—they had totally different tones. I have to say: the ending of the book surprised me. I don’t know why I didn’t expect it (I should have) but I didn’t. It was a great twist on things, and it really pulled the second half of the story together.
Overall, I really enjoyed the story. It had action, tension, suspense, and good old-fashioned hijinks. I think any YA reader (and even some adults) will enjoy this book. If you like YA paranormal mysteries, I suggest you pick up a copy. I’m happy to recommend it.