They use magic to silence the world. Who will break the hush?
Seventeen-year-old Shae has led a seemingly quiet life, joking with her best friend Fiona, and chatting with Mads, the neighborhood boy who always knows how to make her smile. All while secretly keeping her fears at bay… Of the disease that took her brother’s life. Of how her dreams seem to bleed into reality around her. Of a group of justice seekers called the Bards who claim to use the magic of Telling to keep her community safe.
When her mother is murdered, she can no longer pretend.
Not knowing who to trust, Shae journeys to unlock the truth, instead finding a new enemy keen to destroy her, a brooding boy with dark secrets, and an untold power she never thought possible.
What starts out as a kind of dystopian novel about a decease then turns into a novel about reality altering magic, with a search for a magical book at the end of it all. My main issue with Hush is it tries to do a lot without fully explaining anything. Where did the ink decease start? When? How? Why is the land that Shea lives in doing so badly? Why is the higher government obsessed with taking away all mentioning, figures, etc., of a supposed “magical” place?
While I thought HUSH was fairly predictable, it still had original aspects. The “Telling” magic was interesting, if not well explained. Nobody that is supposed to be training Shea about Telling is actually explaining to her what it is, origin, what different kind of Tellings you can do. I mean the MC does Telling by way of embroidery (sometimes) which is kind of fascinating, but then it kind of gets forgotten and not discussed until she has an “Eureka!” moment by the very end. From what I could gather a “Telling” is kind of the person’s way to bend reality to fit their purposes. Which is neat, but it has no rules, structure, or limitations, which felt like a way to use it to fit whatever the author needed it to do.
The characters are okay. Shea is a young girl who has spent her life thinking she was cursed by the Ink decease that killed her younger brother. In the beginning of the novel she tries to talk to the bards (those who are trained to do the Telling at will and who come to the towns collecting tithes in exchange for a Telling that might help said town…instead of just doing the Telling to help the town to begin with and help it prosper so they may collect actually good tithes… yeah this system makes no sense to me) about her “curse” but they of course ignore her or just plain tell her to stay away. Then things happen and Shea decides to go after the bards anyways because she needs answers. She is then thrown into a whole other world in which the leader is in search of a secret book that is supposed to solve all of Shea’s problems… but if Shea is only interested in her mother’s murder how does going after a book going to help her? Color me confused as to how easily this leader manipulated her.
The relationships in the novel were complex. Shea gets proposed to by this marshmallow of a guy and she turns him down cause she is not as into him as he is into her (which, neat!) and then Shea of course likes the “dark broody guy” who she makes hundreds of assumptions about before they even spend 20 full minutes together (like, he has been hurt, what lies before the stony exterior, etc.) Overall we don’t spend a great deal of time dealing with romance and I am grateful for that cause it would have been a bit too much. One of the things that seemed like a waste was Shea not forming bonds with the other 6 female guards in the ENTIRE CASTLE. Like she doesn’t seek them out, we don’t even get to know all of them. Kind of sad about the lack of female friendships throughout the book.
Hush was bizarre, but it did move at a good pace. The ideas it had were interesting, but they also weren’t fully explored. The ending left us on a promising note with a full cast of characters and interesting relationships to explore; some of the characters motivations are questionable, as in we got no real glimpse into their change of heart so it felt completely out of the blue, which is just not great character development all around. But if you ignore the glaring lack of character and world development then you may just get lost within the pages.
PS; I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to the publisher!