Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Review - Hush Hush (Hush Hush, Book 1), Becca Fitzpatrick (WARNING: Super, epic rant)


Romance was not part of Nora Grey's plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.

I am a huge cover-whore so I was immediately drawn to this book (kudos James Porter for one of my favourite covers), I love the fallen angels premise and I was intrigued by the name, pair that with some great reviews I've read and I was preparing for good things from Hush Hush.

Unfortunately, it didnt quite deliver. The story was scatty, not always making sense, unnecessary plot points (I'll elaborate later), not particularly original, and not particularly exciting. The characters were quite dull (Vee was okay, entertaining), I didn't learn enough to really care about any of them, and at times their behaviour was completely uncomprehendable and unexplained.

I don't tend to do this but I'm going to explain each point because I don't want to just incoherently babble about how disappointed I was with the book.

Story line/Plot points/Action
When I think of a fallen angel story line I envision darkness, action, passion, battles, heaven, hell, and all that kind of jazz. Now clearly Fitzpatrick has thought of those things, too, but the mistake she's made (in my eyes) is trying to squeeze them all into one story. It's like she's taken every paranormal YA cliche available and thought 'yes, that needs to go in'.
  • Fallen angel with no wings? Check. 
  • Interference from Heaven? Check. 
  • Fallen angel falls for weak, human girl? Check.
  • Other fallen angel wants human girl, too? Check. 
  • Human girl has sarcastic best friend? Check. 
  • Human girl(s) get kidnapped and fallen angel has to save them? Check.
  • Angel ex-girlfriend of fallen angel has it in for human girl? Check. (Okay, so maybe that ones a bit specific, but its not the first time I've seen it)
There's actually two different story lines going on and this is probably the main thing that turned me off. You have Elliot and Jules (Chauncey) being all sneaky and playing the obvious villains, then you have Debria gunning for Nora over a matter completely unrelated (the ex-girlfriend thing). Both are weak story lines but put them together and you've got a novel of rookie-mistake-making, self-indulgent, barely-there-fallen-angel-references, that don't hit anywhere near the nail.

There's so many things unexplained, too. Why is Elliot such a nutso? Jules briefly explains how he needed to test Elliot's loyalty, so he makes him kill his girlfriend? Now, I'm assuming Jules has worked his dark angel voodoo magic on Elliot's mind to achieve this, but that's only a guess, it's not explained, and neither is his mental push-Nora-against-the-house-drunk-at-6am behaviour.

Towards the end of the book, Vee starts getting a little psycho, too. She confesses that she's been seeing Jules on the sly but that's all that gets mentioned. Literally. Right, so the protagonists best friend is supposedly dating of the the narratives top prospective villains, and we get one mention of it? Again, surely Jules would be working some kind of voodoo magic on Vee for a specific purpose? He doesn't exactly strike me as the kind of guy that would be dating her for fun. Plant some ideas in Vee's head and try and get her to convince Nora, take over her body for your strange annual body-snatchers event, hell, even kill her to prove a point... but no? nothing?

And Action? There was none. Nora spent the whole book running and hiding, Patch didn't do very much, and Jules threw a few punches.

Characters/Character development
I've briefly touched on some of these already but I'm on a roll, so lets do it again. Elliot, Jules, and Debria are not strong characters and proved to be anticlimactic villains whose motives seemed slightly watered down and a bit boring to be honest. They're all so obvious. Elliot has a neon sign over his head from the start, Jules' behaviour was a huge ding ding ding, and Debria conveniently showing up at the same time as everything else kicking off is just too easy.

There was no suspense, no sense of who done it? Vee's mental behaviour even had me suspecting her at one point, and not in a oh my god, maybe its HER kind of way, more of a Jesus, really? *rolls eyes* kind of way. While she's funny, her actions are irritating and she's the kind of bimbo that you can see falling over and dying first in every horror movie ever made. In fact, I probably would have enjoyed it if she had died. At least something exciting would have happened. (Like when Paris Hilton got speared through the head in House of Wax)

Nora is one of the heroins that I hate (sorry). She makes dumb-ass decisions, changes her mind so much it makes me dizzy, totally ignores her better judgement, and is just dull, whiny character. Her relationship with Patch is headache-inducing to the point I was routing for Patch to just leave her the hell alone. "He wants to kill me. Oh, no he doesnt. Oh, yes he does. Oh my god I love him." It was like being in the audience of the worlds worst pantomime.

Patch is the only saving grace in Hush Hush, and that's purely because bad-boys are awesome. I would have liked more brooding and sexy one-liners, but given that the majority of book was a disappointment, I'll take what I can get. Although the narrative was from Nora's perspective, I didn't feel much relationship development between her and Patch. One moment he's aloof and hard to work out, then Jules is all 'Patch is in love with you, Nora'...Erm, what? When did that happen?
I had such high expectations for the book (damn you, cover art), but unfortunately it left me wanting more. I feel like I need to go and read a Laury Falter book just to get my fallen angel craving out of my system.

I'll give it a 2.5 out of 5. I'll probably read the next in the series just to see if it perks up. But if I feel the same after book 2, I'm not reading any more. I wouldn't recommend it, but if you already have it, I wont tell you to put it down.

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