Picture it: I’m sitting around, minding my own business. Open up my email app on my phone and there’s a new email…from Berkley freaking Publishing. This can’t really be happening again, can it? Oh, it’s happening and this time for Jessica Clare’s upcoming What the Hex!
Penny Roundtree comes from a family of familiars. It is all she has ever wanted to do, but when witches and warlocks live for centuries and get set in their ways, the opportunity to become a familiar is rare. Willem Sauer has been banned from taking on a familiar and his casting has been handicapped ever since. As his old master ramps up his efforts to make Will’s live miserable, he becomes more desperate than ever to get a familiar. Due to [redacted] from book one (Go Hex Yourself), Ben and Reggie approach Penny to become an under-the-table familiar for Will - an opportunity that she can’t pass up, even if it is breaking all the rules. As Penny and Will start casting together, they find themselves wanting more than the business arrangement they’ve made.
A sunshine-y and strong-willed apprentice and a grumpy, set in his ways warlock? Sign me up! These two could not be more different if they tried and yet the chemistry between them is amazing, even in the first meeting. It is clear from the start that they are going to continuously butt heads and that adds to the fun of the story.
Both Will and Penny take on bits and pieces of the other’s personality and that feels like what ultimate helps them reach the end. Though the stakes are high for the characters, I never felt like I needed to worry that they’d make it out okay. This pairing was a good reminder that your strength comes from yourself but having that extra little oomph from your partner never hurts.
It was fun to revisit these characters that we saw as side (important) side characters in the first book. The way they find themselves in their little found family, even begrudgingly at times, warms the heart and feeds the soul. And to be completely honest, Pipstachio is probably the stand out star for me. Do we get a lot of time with Pip? Not more than any other character. But did I immediately fall in love with him, thereby making me also fall in love with the book? Absolutely.
(P.S. That scene where they are hiding from intruders? Please and thank you.)
What the Hex by Jessica Clare is the second book in the Hex series and is available for preorder here. It hits shelves April 4, 2023.
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well!