Title: Hush (Hush #1)
Author: Dylan Farrow
Date of publication: October 6th, 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Print length: Hardcover, 384 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction, Feminism
You can buy this book from Amazon
Writing Quality 5/5, Character Development 4/5, ‘Couldn’t put it down’ – ness 3/5, Intellectual Depth 5/5, Diversity 4/5, Originality 4/5, Overall 4.2/5.
Trigger Warnings: death, death of a parent, violence.
As I was scrolling up and down NetGalley, I came across Hush. I wasn’t so sure about the cover of the novel, but I was keen on reading the book after reading the description. From Dylan Farrow comes Hush, a powerful fantasy where one girl is determined to remake the world. Say less! That is the kind of book I was to be associated with.
I don’t remember if it was listed as Read Now or needed to be requested, but the thing is, I got the novel, and now I’m writing its review.
[…], she is like the dappled sunlight beneath a tree- beautiful in a way she herself cannot see.
The novel started oddly. As soon as you dive into the book, there is some kind of preview entitled ‘Excerpt from the High House Manifesto’. I can’t describe into words how confused I was. Is there a book before Hush? I told myself that couldn’t be the case because Dylan Farrow is a debut author. I buried that thought and fear and started reading. It turns out, that excerpt is important later on into the story. At first, it took me some time to get acquainted with Dylan’s writing style, but as soon as that happened, I read the book without stopping!
Everyone in Montane knows that any fool can speak disaster into existence by uttering something forbidden.
Now, let me explain to you the plot of the book. Shae is a seventeen-year-old who spent her entire life being hated by her neighbours. Her brother contacted a dangerous disease called the Blot, which spreads through ink and books. Because of that, the towners thought Shae was cursed. The Bards were the ones who protected the people from this disease. At the start of the book, these people with powers came to Aster, Shae’s town. Right after the departure of these people, Shae finds her mother dead, and she’s sure these people killed Ma. She goes to Fiona (her best friend) and Mads (her love interest), but none of them believes her. She decided to get her life in her own hands and go to High House. From this point onwards, we follow Shae through her journey of finding justice.
We should hold onto beautiful things while we have them.
Let’s talk a bit about the characters. Shae is the protagonist, and I liked her from the very beginning. She’s into embroidery which made me like her even more. I used to be passionate about this particular hobby, and Shae reminded me of it. Fiona was ok, but there isn’t much to say about her. Mads, on the other hand, is a good guy with good intentions. He wants to help but doesn’t know how, so he ends up doing more harm than good. Ravod (I simply love that name) is one of the Bards who help Shae. He’s a good guy, but he’s very closed into himself. Cathal was an odd man. He’s one of the few, if not the only one who shows kindness to Shae. What’s strange is the fact that he is the most powerful man at High House, and he shows empathy to a peasant girl. At first sight, he seems to be the wise man who helps Shae, but at the same time, it feels like there’s something more to him. I can’t tell you wheater Cathal is good or bad, due to spoilers. So I guess you got to find out for yourself!
That’s another thing about Fiona. She loved everything I sew, even the odd and disturbing images. Sometimes, I think maybe she sees the world the same way as I do. Other times, I think she loves what I make precisely because she does not.
Unlike many other novels that I’ve read, Hush is one of the few, which made my eyes watery. Without a doubt, Dylan has a powerful writing style. Hush reads like a fairy tale, which added a nice touch to the story. Despite the eerie feel, I didn’t get the impression that the author minimalized the impact of the underlayer. Often, people who don’t fit society’s standards are marginalized and forced to search for justice on their own. While reading, you can feel Shae’s sadness and fear, which made me love the book even more.
Why fix anything when the problem can be ignored or fended off with brute strength?
To him, the truth doesn’t matter enough to fight for.
But it matters. It has to.
The book gave me a Medieval France feel, which I was all for! My suspicions were confirmed after the word fête was used around the middle of the book. It’s French and means party in English.
Some of the plot twists were predictable, some not. I’d say a 40-60 ratio. Hush was a good book, but a great one shouldn’t be as predictable, and that is why I give it four stars instead of five.
Cathal is so different from everyone else at High House. He’s open and honest whle everyone else is closed off, hostile.
By the time I reached the end, I was amazed by a beautiful ending and a cry for help. The majority of the characters went through a visible development, and I liked that even for the side characters, it was well-defined. The book raises an important message. You should always raise your voice and speak up. Do not silence yourself because you’re scared of what people might think.
But you started something just by refusing to believe lies. Kennan saw it. And now so do I.
Overall, Hush was an action-packed book with important messaged to tell. The only downside of the book was how foreseeable it was. I also wish we had a little bit more of Ravod, as he was a great character to follow around. I could see myself reading the next book in the series. Dylan Farrow has great ideas and a beautiful writing style!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dylan Farrow is a writer, mother, and activist for survivors of sexual assault. Growing up in both New York City and rural Connecticut, she spent countless hours drawing and writing for pleasure. After graduating from Bard College she found a position at CNN as a production assistant and later moved into graphic design. Soon, however, she felt that neither were her calling. After getting married, Dylan returned to writing full time, exploring her love of YA fantasy. Hush is her debut novel.