Marc reviews ‘The 13th Hex’ (Hexworld 0.5) & ‘Hexbreaker’ (Hexworld 1) by Jordan L. Hawk. ‘The 13th Hex’ was released by the author on April 5th, 2016 and is 53 pages long. ‘Hexbreakker was released by the author on May 6th, 2016 and is 259 pages long.
RGR received free ARCs of the books in exchange for an honest review.
Jordan L Hawk is one of my favorite authors after the Whyborne & Griffin series, the SPECTR series and the Spirits series made me addicted to her writing. Given how obsessed I was with the TV Show ‘Charmed’, it is no wonder that I could not resist the opportunity to read a series about male witches and their male familiars. Magical!
Dominic Kopecky dreamed of becoming a member of New York’s Metropolitan Witch Police—a dream dashed when he failed the test for magical aptitude. Now he spends his days drawing the hexes the MWP relies on for their investigations.
But when a murder by patent hex brings crow familiar Rook to his desk, Dominic can’t resist the chance to experience magic. And as the heat grows between Dominic and Rook, so does the danger. Because the case has been declared closed—and someone is willing to kill to keep it that way.
The 13th Hex is the prequel short story to the all-new Hexworld series. If you like shifters, magic, and romance, you’ll love Jordan L. Hawk’s world of witch policemen and the familiars they bond with.
Note: The 13th Hex was originally published as part of the Charmed & Dangerous anthology. Only minor details have been altered for this reissue.
I originally read this short story in the ‘Charmed & Dangerous’ Anthology. It is just over 50 pages long and for an anthology short, it felt very fleshed out. As reader, I was drawn into the unique world the author created. Sure, she did not have as much time to spent on world building in a short as she would have in a full-length novel, but it was clear that she created an entire world, even if readers can only see the edges.
For me this world almost has a ‘steampunk’ feel to it. It is a historical, but the hexes make things possible that weren’t possible during the same time period in our world. The hexes themselves need to be drawn with great skill and precision and act similar as magical machines in steampunk books. It completely changes the realities of the time period in interesting ways and the author knows how to play with that and still make it feel authentic.
I loved that Dominic is so skilled in creating hexes and not distracted by flashiness. He know what actually makes a hex powerful and is very passionate about creating high quality work. He works very scientifically and knows the responsibilities that come with hexes. His personality and skills seem very different from most witches I have read about and I highly enjoyed it.
Rook on the other hand is more spontaneous and chaotic and a perfect counterweight to Dominic. They first need to learn how to work together, but they really balance each other. I loved that he is a crow shifter, because it is a known form of a familiar, but avian forms are rare in shifter stories. It fits his personality well and there is a lot of chemistry between Dominic and Rook.
The mystery was very interesting as it related to Dominic’s work, though some of the bad guys involved very very easy to figure out.
All in all, this is a fantastic start into a new series. It gives new readers the chance to get a taste of the author’s style and the world she created, before committing to an entire full-length novel.
8.5/10 Pots of Gold (85% Recommended) – Compares to 4.25/5 Stars
Will a dark history doom their future together?
New York copper Tom Halloran is a man with a past. If anyone finds out he once ran with the notorious O’Connell tunnel gang, he’ll spend the rest of his life doing hard time behind bars. But Tom’s secret is threatened when a horrible murder on his beat seems to have been caused by the same ancient magic that killed his gang.
Cat shifter Cicero is determined to investigate the disappearance of one friend and the death of another, even though no one else believes the cases are connected. When the trail of his investigation crosses Tom’s, the very bohemian Cicero instinctively recognizes the uncultured Irish patrolman as his witch. Though they’re completely unsuited to one another, Cicero has no choice but to work alongside Tom…all the while fighting against the passion growing within.
Tom knows that taking Cicero as his familiar would only lead to discovery and disaster. Yet as the heat between them builds, Tom’s need for the other man threatens to overcome every rational argument against becoming involved.
But when their investigation uncovers a conspiracy that threatens all of New York, Tom must make the hardest decision of his life: to live a lie and gain his heart’s desire, or to confess the truth and sacrifice it all.
After ‘The 13th Hex’, my expectations for this book were very high. However, Tom and Cicero are a very different couple from Dominic and Rook and it is difficult to compare them. We were introduced to Cicero in the previous story and he shares a lot of similarities with real cats. His whole personality, the way he moves and acts, strongly reminds me of a cat. For me, he would have been easier to identify with and more interesting, if more of his human side came through. Maybe my troubles to connect with him at first had more to do with his bohemian ways. He seemed very concerned about appearances and beauty and even with his past, I thought he was very harsh in his treatment of Tom.
But the more I found out about Cicero and the world he lives in, the easier it was for me to understand him. Jordan L Hawk has added very interesting new layers for her Hexworld.
I have read a lot of different shifter stories with mate bonds and usually that means that fate has selected the person someone fits with best. It can be very romantic in that they are meant to be together, but it can also be problematic in that free will does not matter much. The familiars in this series usually bond with a witch and there is also some kind of true mate. However, it is not about a person that matches the other in every way, just a person whose magic is most compatible. The fact that a familiar could create the strongest magic with a specific witch, doesn’t mean that witch is nice or even a good person at all.
There are more witches than familiars and thus familiars are highly sought after. Especially since a witch needs a familir to use magic and familiars can bond with any witch. Unfortunately, I thought it was very realistic for familiars to be used like slaves and to be forced into bonds they do not want, given how profitable their magic is. Thus, it also makes sense that many familiars would trade their personal freedom for safety and start working for the police. The bonds seem unbreakable and with his bad experiences, Cicero’s reluctance and fear suddenly make a lot more sense.
It will be very interesting to see how the events of this book change the dynamic between witches and familiars in future books of this series. Some of the revelations will likely bring big changes and I hope they will be for the better.
The mystery in this book had very high stakes. There were some minor players that were easy to identify, but it was much more complex than I anticipated. There are so many players with different agendas that readers will need to concentrate to keep up with who did what, when and why.
This story offers an interesting mystery, amazing world building and even though it took me time to warm up to and understand Cicero, there always was Tom to identify with. However dark his past, he has a genuinely good heart and is very likable and even Cicero can’t resist his charm for long. It does take them a while to really trust each other and give into their attraction for each other, but when they do the chemistry is there and they make a great team.
It would feel wonderful, though, to explore their relationship more, now that they are together. I wonder if the next book has yet another pairing or will revisit either Dominic and Rook or Cicero and Tom.
All in all it was a great read and I can really recommend this book for readers who like magic, witches and shifters. While this is not my favorite series by the author, I have really enjoyed both stories and am looking forward to what’s next.
RATING: 8/10 Pots of Gold (80% Recommended) – Compares to 4/5 Stars
Jordan L. Hawk grew up in the wilds of North Carolina, where she was raised on stories of haints and mountain magic by her bootlegging granny and single mother. After using a silver knife in the light of a full moon to summon her true love, she turned her talents to spinning tales. She weaves together couples who need to fall in love, then throws in some evil sorcerers and undead just to make sure they want it bad enough. In Jordan’s world, love might conquer all, but it just as easily could end up in the grave.