Home  |  Reviews  |  Vlogs  |  Interviews  |  Guest Posts  |  Fairy Tales  |  Jane Austen  |  Memes  |  Policies

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hush, Hush part II: the spoiler-filled discussion (aka rant)

Alright, last thursday you read my review of Hush, Hush in which I promised a spoilery continuation. This is that. =D

If you haven't read Hush, Hush and intend to, or if you don't want me dissing the melodrama that is Patch and Nora, look away....NOW!

Commence rant:

You already know I had issues with this book. I think a lot of people are going to take offense to the idea of Patch as the hero, as teen girls' fantasy, just as they did with Edward in Twilight. Patch goes beyond the simple term "bad boy" in that yes, he does actually mean Nora harm. Consistently.
I'm not going to go into that, because frankly, I don't care. He can be an anti-hero all he wants, whatever. If that's where the story's going, fine. Most of my issues -- but not all -- lie with Nora.
Here's the thing:
Nora is that girl you yell at in the horror movie, the idiot that goes up the stairs instead of out the door, or reaches to turn over the downed bad guy just to make sure. We all know that's frustrating, but we've come to expect it in movies, and that dumb big-breasted, scantily clad girl normally gets killed off.
Nora is so much more frustrating than that.
The many sides of Nora: She continually suspects Patch (and Elliot, and just about everyone else in this story) and with good reason. However, she then continually ignores her instincts and puts herself in danger. In fact, she can't seem to agree with herself. She will think to herself that Patch is stalking her and trying to kill her, and then within pages think 'Oh, but he could never hurt me.' This just cycles and cycles throughout the story.
Also throughout the story, Nora makes insane jumps in logic -- whether they turn out to be true or not, it's not believable when she immediately jumps to the most bizarre conclusions and then acts on them. At the same time, she will be directly confronted with some piece of real evidence, something that would make a normal, non-fictional person take notice and say something's not right here -- and she will completely ignore it. It's like she's being willfully obtuse.
  • Early(ish) in the story, Nora hears a voice in her head and thinks Patch has "breached normal communication methods and could, at will, speak to me without ever opening his mouth." Naturally, she thinks she's delusional. Hearing your name and a few inane comments would make one think they are imagining things, and this I could buy. Even Nora not be exactly sure what happened and being creeped out I could buy. But she proceeds to ask Patch how he's able to speak directly to her mind, making her look like a loon. I wouldn't be even all that bothered by this, if it was consistent throughout the story; if Nora either consistently thought that she was going crazy because of all the implausible things that are happening, I could buy it; if she wanted to prove she wasn't crazy and kept confronting Patch and sleuthing, I could buy it. It would be 1 solid choice on Becca Fitzpatrick's part. She could be the ultra-paranoid girl who thinks she's going crazy and jumps to conclusions about everything. Annoying, but doable.
  • Conversely, near the near the end of the story when the shit's really beginning to go down and nearly everyone has become a villain, Nora and Patch walk out of a movie theater to find that "...both the tires on the driver's side were flat. "I can't believe it!" I said. "I drove over two nails?"' She thinks she's being stalked, she thinks her best friend has been kidnapped by a teenaged murdered named Elliot, and by this point she thinks she's the target of not one but two angels, and yet she thinks she ran over two nails? Come on! If Nora will jump to conclusions on the barest of evidence, how in hell does she not comprehend the obvious?
  • Throughout the story, Nora thinks everyone's out to get her (she's right, but I'll get to that), especially Patch. Patch is Ominous, capital 'O', and yet...And yet, no matter how much Nora thinks he's badbadbad, she trusts him. Why? Weirdest of all, when Nora confronts Patch about his intentions, he admits he wanted to kill her; her reaction? I know Patch could never hurt me -- and she trusts him implicitly from that point on. Really? The whole story you've suspected him and been insistent that you should stay away on the barest of evidence, but once he's confessed his (albeit previous) intentions of murder, you trust him. Really. Her sudden bizarre trust of Patch comes too late for any real belief in their romance.
There is no consistency in Nora's thinking. I just can't understand why Becca Fitzpatrick couldn't pick one Nora to write and stick with her. She could have just always thought she was losing her mind; self-doubt would have been interesting, and made her root-forable. If she had just been reckless and always convinced that yes, maybe something is a little off about Patch, but she still found herself attracted to him, it would have been interesting, and could have been used to slowly reveal the truth and up Nora's anxiety. If Nora had just been naive and always convinced that everything was fine despite any indicators, it would have built tension. But combining it all made Nora seem confused and a little off herself, and made the writing seem schizophrenic.

Too many villains: Fitzpatrick makes the rookie mistake of lack of restraint. Nora suspects everyone, and everyone does in fact seem to be a villain. This makes the book seem unfocused and sort of cheesy. When everyone is under suspicion, and everyone seems to be a bad guy, it makes it seem like no one really is. It's like if you use a really great word once or twice it's going to stand out. But if every word you use is some great, unusual word, none are going to stand out. There's no negative space, no background to make the focal point pop. Everywhere Nora turns, someone's trying to kill her. It just gets silly after awhile. Also, it has the added negative effect of making it hard for Fitzpatrick to "top" as it were. Where does she go from here? If there are 4 different people trying to kill Nora in book 1, how many people will there be out for blood in book 2? She didn't leave any room to grow the suspense.
Another bad thing about the amount of villains and Nora's instant suspicion (and the overall over-the-top nature of the book) was that there was precious little suspense. By giving everything away rather freely, Fitzpatrick deprived the reader of the slow build-up and the privilege of the mystery; we never got to have any suspicions of our own, or choose sides. There was too much in the way of ominous overtones, and not enough restraint.
On a side note, not that I'm calling Vee a villain, but even she became a little weird as the story went on. It's one thing to be the wild and crazy girl in the best friends dynamic, but constantly trying to get your best friend alone with a guy who she says makes her uncomfortable, who she believes broke into her house and may be stalking her, and who she knows was a murder suspect is reckless beyond the pale, and shitty, shitty friendship.

The writing overall: I saw glimpses in Fitzpatrick's writing that demonstrated how this could have been a good book. She does sexual tension and confrontation scenes fairly well, and there is some good humor. Vee -- in the beginning, at least, before she becomes a really reckless, really bad friend -- was pretty amusing as the traditional sidekick. Patch had great one-liners, both funny and smoldering. But for all the occasional good, there was quite a bit in the way of bad. The dialogue was often stilted and weird. The analogies were completely out of left field. They were those turns of phrase that you can tell were used because they sounded cool, or because one was needed, but they don't mean anything, or they leave you thinking wtf? "His eyes looked like they didn't play by the rules." What does that even mean? What rules do eyes usually play by? This is a mild example, but I got sick of making note of them. I got this really hit-and-miss feel about the writing and the language in the book. Pieces of literary crap mixed in with the really good bits blended to form a "throw it all in and something's bound to work" style. A total lack of finesse made it hard to want to keep reading -- and made me feel like if I kept rolling my eyeballs, they were going to roll right out of my head.

Rant complete.


  1. Yeah, I totally want a man who wants to murder me... -insert eye roll-

    I haven't read this yet, but I can't resist a good rant.


    Great post - I agree with a lot of the points you've made!

    Another thing that really irritated me was the fallen angel mythology used. We're told Patch is a fallen angel because of his lust for a human girl. At the end of the book he becomes an angel again because he saves Nora but he's supposed to be in love (& lust too I imagine!) with Nora - how can he still be an angel???

    I really didn't get love vibes off of either of them. Nora was frightened of Patch, they never really had a proper conversation apart from when he admitted he had planned to kill her - why on earth would she be in love with him? Lust yes but love? In my opinion no LOL. The same with Patch - I get he might be in lust with Nora but I didn't feel like he loved her - I couldn't work out why he'd changed his mind about killing her either LOL.

    Don't even get me started on Vee - I liked her at first & she added comedy to the story but Nora tells her she was attacked & what does Vee say? She justifies it by saying he must have been drunk. What???? Like that makes it OK then? With friends like her Nora definitely doesn't need enemies!

    This has to be the biggest disappointment I've read this year - I had such high hopes for it! Having said that as much as there were a lot of things that irritated me I did find myself liking some of the book. I feel like it had a lot of potential & am hoping that the next book will be better but I won't be rushing out to buy it - it will probably be a library book to borrow depending on the reviews I read.

  3. Patch never really grew on me. I got the feeling I was suppose to see him the way Bella saw Edward but instead I saw him like the weird dude in high school you shouldn't trust.

  4. I really liked this book, and I have a feeling that my arguments against yours may be slightly contradictory, but we'll see.

    I don't know about you, or anyone else really, but I'm the type of reader who is able to just suspend disbelief, and just roll with it. To use Twilight as an example here, sparkly vampires - why not? Lots of people seemed to have issues with that, but I didn't see a problem. If it works for the book, it doesn't even occur to me to have an issue - which is, from reading your rant, what happened when I read Hush, Hush, I guess. Now you've pointed a few things out to me, I can see where you're coming from, but I still like the book. My reasons...

    I like it when characters are believable to me. People are not perfect, they're not always strong, and we make mistakes - I'm sure we can all agree on that. So with Nora, that fact that, as you say, she has different sides to her, I Don't have a problem with. I find it perfectly plausible that she can jump to conclusions and over-react with somethings, yet be slow on the up-take on others. Why? Because I'm pretty similar; I can be pretty OTT when excited, or drunk, or excited and drunk, and I have a lot of people roll their eyes at me, but they love me so they deal with it. And yet, I can be so unbelievably slow in other areas, it's ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a dumb bimbo, I'm fairly smart too, but in some situations or in certain areas I'm like a kid in a candy shop, or I'm just completely blank with confusion. Nora could be me, in some respects, and so I don't have a problem with her. And I don't think I'm too awful.

    In regards to the villians and the suspence... There were a fair number of baddies, but I didn't have a problem with that, either. I thought it added to the suspence. Before you get to the end, with several suspects, I'm pretty much thinking "who the hell is it? which one of them is actually after Nora?" I forget the order, and how things happened exactly, but I'm a fan of having one problem resolved/escaped from, thinking everything's fine, and then BAM! There's more to deal with. I love it! It has me sitting on the edge of my seat and just dying to get to the end to find out what really happens.

    With the writing and language, this is something I can't really comment on. I'm no expert when it comes to language. I have a very visual imagination, and so the words translate into images for me most of the time, and I don't really notice it. To use your example, "His eyes looked like they didn't play by the rules." - sure, it may not make sense, but I know exactly what she means, and it translates into an image I can see. God, I love those eyes!

    To comment also on Sarah's comments aswell: The mythology, I know what you mean, but I have a feeling that perhaps the dynamic of their relationship will be an issue in the next book, and I look forward to seeing how that's worked out.

    As to the love... I had the same opinion when it came to Twilight. I loved the book, but they were in love? Really? It's one of those areas where I suspend disbelief and just accept it. And seriously, how could you not fall in love with someone that deliciously hot and naughty? Their love works for me.

    And I'm done. This is just me, by the way, I am fully aware people may disagree or think me loopy, but yeah, just thought I'd give my two cents worth. :)

    Thanks for the spoilery review, Misty! I enjoyed understanding why you had issues. Cheers!

  5. Sarah: Oh my god, I forgot to include my 'this is love?" part of the rant. Expect an edit in this post's future, folks.

    Juju: YES!

    Jo: I completely get where you're coming from, and this is why I generally don't tell people not to read something, but rather not to buy it (borrow instead); there will always be people that like it, and I think even if it's really bad, you're able to supplement it with your own imagination if need be and if the idea grips you. I am all for willing suspension of disbelief -- I'll go with you just about anywhere. BUT -- and this is a big but -- the burden is on the author to make me believe what they've created, and for this, there needs to be consistency. I would have been fine if Nora occasionally waffled; that is human, after all. But it was constant, and not really justified in the story, and it just came off weird.
    Oh, and I loved this:
    "I can be pretty OTT when excited, or drunk, or excited and drunk"...

  6. I was one of the last ones to read Hush Hush. And EVERYONE seemed to be raving about it. Not only did I expect it to be swoonworthy and generally awesome, but I went out and bought it instead of waiting for the library copy to come in.

    I stayed up all night reading the book. I'm not exactly sure why. Part of it was probably because I wasn't tired, and part of it was because I kept looking for the amazingness that everyone had been promising I'd would find.

    I originally gave the book a 4, then revised it to a 3.5. I think my problem was that I liked the author's writing style and the idea, but I didn't like the main character. I have to admit though--I did like Patch.

    But now that I'm thinking about it a few months later, I can't remember exactly what it was that I liked in the book. Do you guys ever have that problem?

  7. I really enjoyed Hush, Hush ... I've been reading so many bleh books lately, that people RAVE about, which turn out to be total wastes of time, that it was AWESOME to find a book that actually captured and held my interest the ENTIRE way and had believable (though by no means perfect) characters. Honestly, this is one of the best books I've read all year, lol ...

    I have to say though, hehe, if you think Nora is bad ... OMFG ... Camelia from Dirty Little Secrets and Dirty Little Lies (Laurie Faria Stolarz's Touch series) will drive you bananas. I'm not kidding. Nora, I liked. Camelia, I was about ready to drag from between the pages and THROTTLE! *grrr*

  8. Hmm. I'll keep that in mind...


Tell me all your thoughts.
Let's be best friends.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...