by Becca Fitzpatrick
I am doing my Hush, Hush review in two parts because I have a lot to say, but I don't want to spoil it for everyone. This is the unspoilery, straight-forward and brief(ish) review; if you want to read the spoiler-filled discussion, go here. Now, to it:
Hush, Hush is the story of Nora Grey, an average high school student going about her business as usual -- until her Biology teacher rearranges her classes seats and places her next to the dangerous-looking new kid, Patch Cipriano. Nora gets a weird feeling from Patch, and things just keep going from bad to worse as Nora becomes convinced that she is being stalked, and may even be the target of murderous intentions. Add to the list Nora's strange feelings about the Archangel ride at the amusement park, her mixed feelings about -- and unwholesome attraction to -- Patch, and her constant near death experiences, and well, Nora's life is becoming anything but average.
When I finished reading Hush, Hush, I had to mull it over for awhile. I really wasn't sure what to say. I am absolutely enthralled by the cover (athletic looking, dark mysterious fallen angel, contorted in mid-air in grayscale? What's not to like?). I had to have it because of that cover*. But I had a sneaking suspicion that a cover that good had to be masking something. Yep. It's a bright light to dazzle the eyes and make you *ahem* overlook any faults.
It didn't work.
It was the most confused, schizophrenic piece of writing I've read in some time. Becca Fitzpatrick didn't seem to know quite what she wanted, only that it had to be ominous and scary and dangerous -- and titillating, of course, and mysterious and sexy. So with those buzz words in mind, she threw a bunch of things together and let her narrator, Nora, sort them out. Nora, understandably, had some trouble with this, and the result is a thoroughly frustrating heroine who jumps to insane conclusions based on inane evidence one moment, and the next goes blithely along into obvious danger.
Patch is intriguing, and perhaps the most consistent character**, and I was fully prepared for an 'anti-hero as the hero' story. I wanted a little boundary-pushing and a not entirely likeable or trustworthy male lead who may or may not redeem himself, but who gives you the dangerous and alluring in spades. For the most part, Patch wasn't a let-down in this regard, and as screwed up as it is to like him, he was the stand-out character for me. (This is not to say I didn't have issues with Patch, too.)
But it wasn't enough. Patch's bad boy antics couldn't save this book from itself. It was self-indulgent, cheesy, melodramatic in the worst sense, and confusing. I wanted to like it; I loved the fallen angel premise, the idea of an anti-hero, and bits and pieces of the writing through out. But Hush, Hush suffered from too many villains and too much shock and awe, and not enough thought and follow-through. Maybe Fitzpatrick can pull it together for round two, and with some strong convincing by trusted, like-minded people, I may be willing to give her another chance. But this was a monstrous let-down for me. You've been warned.***
*We all know how that whole so-pretty-I-just-had-to think works out. See my guest post on Jo's blog about this.
**Vee was pretty consistent too, and was a lot of fun, but she started to get annoying and a little strange...
***You're still going to read it, aren't you? Damn you, James Porto and you're beautiful, beautiful cover!
A lot of people like this book, and I want to give you both sides, so here are some pro-HH reviews:
- Juciliciousss Reviews thinks it's a love it or hate it, and she loved it.
- Brizmus Blogs Books likes everything.
- All Things Urban Fantasy likes the redemptive qualities of the story.
- Books Obsession lists it as one of the best books of 2009.
The Hush, Hush fan site, Fallen Archangel.
Alright, that's it for part one. Part two is coming this weekend, so there's some space to keep people from stumbling across the spoiler-filler version by accident.