Hell Week

Posted by Cobalt | Posted in , , , | Posted on 11:02 AM

Rating: 4/5 stars

This is a review of the second in a series, but I don't have time for a first-series-book review and wanted to gush a bit about Hell Week now. So, mild plot spoilers for Prom Dates from Hell (the first book of the series) to follow:

Maggie Quinn, intrepid girl reporter, is no stranger to the supernatural -- after sixteen years of repressing her own psychic abilities, she was forced to wake up and smell the brimstone after a demon-summoning almost massacred her senior class on Prom Night. She saved the day with some quick thinking, snarky comebacks, and the guidance of her no-nonesense Irish grandmother -- oh, plus the assistance of her professor father's handsome graduate student, Justin (who has a winning combination of Boy Scout dependability and Indiana Jones rakish good looks).

Now in her freshman year of college, Maggie faces a host of new challenges, including a tougher reporting scene, an oddly distant Justin, and the horrors of an 8 a.m. Calculus class -- not to mention the mystery of the Sigma Alpha Xis, a sorority whose sisters tend to experience uncanny amounts of good luck. Maggie initially goes undercover during Rush in order to expose the hypocrisy and injustice of the campus Greek system, but as she approaches Pledge Night and Initiation, she finds that there's more than frat parties and bragging rights at stake. Something demonic is brewing on Greek Row, and it's up to Maggie to put a stop to it -- that is, if she can maintain her cover without getting pulled into the SAXi's enticing web of power, success, and perfect fashion sense.

It's easy to bill this one as Buffy meets Nancy Drew in the best way -- Maggie is a sharp, smart heroine who can banter with the best of them while dodging jinxs and demons. She's got insecurities too, though, and still struggles with her psychic 'gifts,' in the form of disturbing dreams and visions that feel more like full-body assaults. Plus, her now-ambiguious relationship with Justin has Maggie stuck in a romantic holding pattern that's easy to sympathize with, even as she observes the Greek scene and wonders about the real factors of attraction and desire on campus. Excellent plot with some great twists and a satisfying pace that never lapses into and-then-this-happened monotony; I was always eager to pick up the book for the next development, and the conclusion was a satisfying reward. With her sharp, vivid characters, witty dialogue and creative story, Clement-Moore officially has me hooked on the adventures of Maggie Quinn: Girl vs. Evil.

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