Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, never leaves
Hex is the story of a town that is cursed by a witch with her eyes and mouth sewn shut. She shows up in houses and just stands and stares for days at a time. The people of the town can never leave and are plagued by the fear of what would happen if the witch’s eyes and mouth are ever opened. For a complete summary, you can go here.
TL;DR: Super creepy book that was ruined by the chaotic ending.
Full Review: Edit: I originally read and reviewed this book in October 2016. I re-read this book in 2020 as a part of our Judging More Than Just The Cover Book Club podcast [check out the spoiler-filled discussion episode here]. This was our twelfth episode, following Nothing to See Here. So this review will be spoiler-free and the podcast will have more details and thorough analysis.
This book started off kind of funny and light-hearted. The middle starts to get a little creepy and suspenseful, and the end is downright strange. It was an enjoyable book, but you’ll have to wait a long time for the climax. The bulk of the action happens in the last 50 pages. For me, that felt rushed and left me with more questions than answers.
Hex was originally written in Dutch and translated to English. With that in mind, I am utterly impressed with the flow and readability of the story. There were a few phrases that were a little confusing, but overall the author did an amazing job altering it to suit American audiences. He even completely changed the setting to make it more Americanized. In his author’s note, Olde Heuvelt explains that he even changed the ending because this was his second chance and opportunity to do so. I would love to figure out what the original ending is, but my internet research has come up dry. I hope that the Dutch ending was more fulfilling than this one.
I read this book for my October book club. We wanted a super creepy book so that we could have our book club meeting at a cemetery—which we did and it was awesome! Some members of my book club were very freaked out by this book and couldn’t read it alone. It didn’t have that same effect on me, but I have also been binge-watching American Horror Story and The Walking Dead, so perhaps my scare-sensors are dulled. Rather than making me feel scared, this book just left me feeling pretty unsettled. The ending was weird and made me just question society as a whole. It actually reminded me of the movie/story The Lottery because of the mob mentalities and the power of paranoia in a small town. I just really questioned the motive of some of the main characters at the end. One main character in particular made some choices at the end that seemed rather odd. You’ll have to read it and let me know if you agree. The ending brought the story down from 4 to 3 stars for me.
This book was worth a read and definitely requires some discussion afterward. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think!
Magic exists in the minds of those who believe in it, not in its actual influence on reality.