Sometimes expectations get the better of us. Sometimes a description is so well written, the reviews by other authors so promising, and the buzz so enticing that there is nothing to do but raise your hopes for the occasion.
That is what happened to me with The Hex. Wow. This is not the book I thought it would be. It certainly wasn’t the book I wanted it to be.
For starters I would like to direct you to the goodreads description of Hex. It is lush, full of drama and some very interesting botany.
A more adequate description would read “an expelled PhD student continues to obsess over her advisor, loses all motivation, sort of tries to do something with toxic plants? Maybe? And there are somehow lots of love triangles and shitty relationships all in a brief 250ish page stream of consciousness novel.”
See how my expectations may have been artificially raised? As a lover of Circe, Outlander, and other books with women working with herbs and plants I really thought Hex would be a tour de force. I wanted a descent into madness over plants that could kill, and a quest to find antidotes out of some goodness. None of that happens.
In its place there is Nell. Nell who isn’t even interested in her own PhD research. Nell who is in love with her advisor, Joan, but not her boyfriend. Nell, who is only upset about her expulsion because it means she see’s less of Joan. Joan, Joan, Joan. It would help if there was anything remotely interesting about Joan, but she is just a normal person in academia. There is no impressive CV mentioned, no indication that her teaching style is anything other than intimidation and harsh grading. Nothing. She’s just a person, once who Nell cannot even describe in a way to make the reader mildly curious about her, let alone obsessed over her ourselves.
The stream of consciousness writing was admittedly beautiful. Paired with short diary entry style chapters it is easily the start of the book. Without these choices by Knight I am sure this would have been in my DNF pile within pages. Instead it is one of my most highlighted kindle books of the last few months while also being my most disappointing read of the spring.
I’m curious to read other bloggers thoughts on Hex. Let me know if you’ve posted a review and I’ll be sure to check it out!