Lucifer is trapped in the Shade, attacked by witches on all sides, and she only has Raina “the Intern” Westmore as her potential savior! Will she be able to slip out of this sticky situation like she has so many times before? Your review awaits!
Previously in Hexed: Lucifer braved the Shade in order to complete a tricky ritual that would bind Raina’s soul to a Roman gladiator and thereby save her life. Unbeknownst to her, the Harlot made a deal with Yves so that he could take vengeance on his sister, but it brought him directly to Ms. Brisendine and Raina’s location in Ms. Brisendine’s basement of assorted magical items and weaponry. Of course, a tussle ensued.
ONE FOR THE LADIES
Madame Cymbaline pays a visit to Ms. Brisendine concerning Lucifer and Yves, though she gets very little save for the information that Lucifer is dead. However, the not-quite-dead Lucifer is well and truly stuck in the Shade where she’s being hounded by the Seven Sisters of Witchdom, seven witches who she trapped in the Shade previously. While they attempt to break her protection enchantments, she has to turn to Raina Westmore to ask the Harlot for help in returning her soul to her body. However, the Harlot never does anything for free.
What’s great about this book (and series) is the mostly female cast. It’s a very woman-centered book, though it could very well appeal to men just as much as it appeals to women, as it deals with various archetypes that apply to both sexes. It’s impressive that Nelson was able to make a woman-empowered book without being an over the top preachy “girl power” series, a trap that lots of books that feature a primarily female cast can sometimes fall into.
That said, it’s hard not to notice that most of the men in the series are typecast as pawns or villains. True, that’s been done to female characters for years and years, but this is a series that could potentially break that plot device of using one sex or the other as heroic and the other as pawns.
Dan Mora and Gabriel Cassata presents a very stylized illustration that really fits Nelson’s overall story: it’s jagged, it’s vivid, and even it’s scenes set in the real world are very surreal. It’s an art style that would be fun to see more of, as it has a Tim Burton cartoon-like feel to it, though with much more fun and bright coloration.
What’s of particular interest is how Mora portrays the Harlot and the Seven Sisters. As monstrous witches, Mora pays close attention to their anatomy that tends to get left out in other portrayals of “witches” in popular media. They aren’t stooped and weak, but regal and strong. While they do maintain the characteristic “ugliness” that tends to be a main theme in evil witch portrayals, there is something alluring about their design overall. With jagged hips, Grinch-like teeth, and impressive artistic drapery, they give the reader something fascinating to see in every frame they’re featured in.
OVERALL: FUN SERIES SO FAR
Much like it’s predecessor, this incarnation of Hexed is turning out to be a fun romp through magic and mayhem, without the cutesiness that usually follows. Though it primarily has a female cast, it’ll appeal to men and women alike, if you can muscle past the men-as-pawns aspect. Dan Mora does an excellent job with his Burton-esque art style, backed up by Cassata’s frisky sense of color. Though it does have serious elements, it’s not a terribly deep and provides a good quick read grounded in the supernatural. If you have been following the series, this is a book that you’ll have to pick up to continue with the storyline, thus making it not a great spot to jump on for new readers. Still, it’s shaping up to be a fun series so far.