*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Author: Dylan Farrow
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Shae has led a seemingly quiet life. 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.
I love finding books that remind you of warm cozy days in front of the fire, lost in a fantastical world of daydreams and stories. Hush is this for me. It brought me back to a time as a young reader when I was discovering my tastes and exploring the world of fantasy literature as a teen. It harkens back to one series in particular for me: The Books of Pellinor by Allison Croggon. These books shaped my young reading life, and picking up Hush was a breath of fresh air and a reminder of this really transformative time in my own reading life. While Hush is not nearly the expansive epic that the Pellinor books are (at least not yet), it certainly carries a lot of the same themes and elements that shape this similar series.
Taking place in the land of Montane, the Bards hold all of the power. The people fear the magic of the Bards. Their arrival can spell success or doom for the town. A primarily male group, they are the tax collectors and the gatekeepers to a health crop, staving off drought, or a thriving village. Their magic is both feared and revered. Montane is plagued by an illness known as the Blot. Brought on by the ink of the written word, it is a deadly disease that leaves a stain on any family stricken by its plague. Shae and her mother are one such family. Banished after the loss of her brother to the Blot, they have made a small and quiet life for themselves outside of their town. When Shae’s mother is killed, Shae sets out on a quest to seek the truth behind her mother’s death.
I want more! I would have really loved to see this novel spend a bit more time in the Bard city, fleshing out the details of the school of the Bards. Much time is lent to building Shae’s back story, but her time at the school felt rushed to me. I really enjoyed reading about her experience learning the magical skills and uncovering the secrets of the Bard magic. There are many stories that could really be strengthened even further by adding additional length, and Hush is one of them. It’s a strong story, and it promises to have equally as thrilling sequels. There is so much more that could be gained in terms of world building and character building. There is a lot to process in this book, in a really great way. But I would have loved to see Farrow ruminate more in the fantastic world she’s created. She has set the stage for a really epic adventure here, and I look forward to seeing how this series progresses. I hope you’ll be sucked in as much as I was.