The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling Contemporary Paranormal Romance September 28, 2021 by Avon Reviewed by Kate
When I was mentally writing this review, I planned on opening with some comment about how I’ve read so many of Rachel Hawkins’ books, and I loved them all. When I fact-checked this (thank goodness for Goodreads, despite its many flaws), I found that was not, in fact, the case. I’ve read maybe half of her YA, and I apparently did not really enjoy Hex Hall, her debut novel (Kate in the early 2010s was apparently a lot less picky about reading material – I gave the book two stars and I kept reading the series?! Who does that?).
Anyway, all of that is to say that I went in expecting to love this book, because my fickle memory told me I loved all of Rachel Hawkins’ previous books, and luckily, my expectations held. I started The Ex Hex late on a Sunday night and stayed up absurdly late finishing it (mistakes were made, folks), because it really was adorable and fun and surprisingly, exactly what my brain had set me up to expect.
I have two quibbles. First of all – and maybe I’m being too picky here – the two main characters, Vivi and Rhys, spend an absurd amount of time thinking about how good it was when they were together at 19. Together as in, the physical aspect. And while I don’t doubt that some people have amazing sex the minute they fall into bed with each other at 19, I would say it is not your typical experience, and honestly, it kept grating at me, because it just felt so unrealistic. Emotions, I get. 19-year-olds are nothing if not emotional and full of dramatic moments (I would know, as I live with one). So everything else related to their feelings about their short relationship felt real. The second is that there were a few plot threads here and there that I didn’t really feel added much, but that honestly isn’t as big a deal as miraculously amazing sex at 19.
However, The Ex Hex has stellar banter, smoking hot sexy times, and a bit of a witchy mystery, so overall I quite enjoyed it. Vivi and Rhys have amazing chemistry, and the only times I wasn’t mad if they weren’t on page together was if Vivi was talking with her cousin Gwen (who was an absolute delight). And not just Gwen, but nearly all of the secondary characters were great (and I know who I’m rooting for a book two to be about). The world-building isn’t the most thorough, but it was fleshed out enough that nothing was confusing. I felt like enough details about the magic and such were revealed to make whatever was happening to make sense, but not much more than that. Besides, you’re not reading this book for the magic (I feel like this would be a good place for some sort of pun, but I’m not good at that kind of thing so just imagine I said something witty in this parenthetical).
The Ex Hex is a lighthearted, fun book that I would definitely recommend you read as you get in the mood for Halloween.