August 28, 2017
“In a world where music is magic, the echoes can kill you.” – Skye Melki-Wegner, The Hush
One hell of a read if you ask me.
I received The Hush by Australian author Skye Melki-Wegner in the Once Upon a Book Club subscription box and I really didn’t know what to expect upon starting it. This book follows Chester Hays as he navigates life in a world that is fueled by Music, a type of magic that derives from the Song, the life force behind life. The synopsis is from Goodreads:
Chester has been traveling from village to village, searching for his kidnapped father. One night while fiddling to earn a few coins, he accidentally connects to the Song—the music that fuels every aspect of the world. It’s illegal to interact with the Song—only a licensed Songshaper may bend music to his will—and when Chester is caught, he’s sentenced to death.
But just before the axe is about to fall, someone in the crowd—a member of the infamous Nightfall Gang—stages a daring rescue, whisking Chester into the Hush, a shadowy nightmare mirror-world where Music can be deadly and Echoes can kill.
Susanna, captain of the Nightfall Gang has been watching Chester. She needs his special talent to pull off an elaborate plan. And she’ll risk everything to succeed. Even Chester’s life.
This book has so many parts to it that are simply beautiful. The writing, the imagination that went into it, even the characters themselves are just enrapturing. Everything in the world is explained using music as it’s maker. From lamps to ships, everything is fueled by it and there are multiple ways to access it. Whether that be through instruments, singing, or simply tapping your foot, Music is life. Pair that concept with amazing characters and intricate settings and it makes for a great read.
Definitely a page turner. I found myself reading well into the night and always needing to know what is going to happen next. The novel is fast paced and not everything about the world or the Gang’s mission is explained at once so you get to learn everything alongside Chester.
Now, let’s talk about the Hush for a moment. Probably the most inventive thing I have ever read in a novel. The Hush is a separate world from our own built of darkness and shadow. I think of it as a mirror world sort of. The way Melki-Wegner describes it makes me think of it as cold and hot at the same time. The chill of loneliness with the fire of danger and purgatory. I think the best way to describe it would be: haunted. I also think that word can be applied as the theme for this entire novel. The Hush, the characters, even the Music itself all seems haunted and damaged. However, this fuels everything to be bigger than that and really sets a course for a phenomenal novel.
The writing in this book is not only poetic, but each sentence provides a beautiful image of a world I would love to visit. Whether it be flying ships or glowing sorcery lamps, The Hush has it all. I believe it is a standalone and it does work as such, but I wouldn’t mind a series of these books as the ending left a little bit open.
The characters of Chester, Susannah, Dot, Travis, and Sam are not just a crew of witty teenagers, but a family and that really shines through as you read. The familial bond is just one more addition that provides the emotional reaction I always look for when I read novels. If you are skeptic on whether to read this book or not, I implore you to do so. Even if you think you aren’t going to like it, just give it a go! There are so many little gems out there in fiction that I wish people would read and this is just one of many!
Overall, I give this book 5/5 stars for it’s complex characters, beautiful writing, and originality. If you are a fan of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows, then this book may peak your interest as the camaraderie of the Nightfall gang reminded me of the Dregs and how much I loved them. If you read this book, comment down below and let me know what you think!
P.S. If you want to get in on the Once Upon a Book Club subscription box, then you can use my coupon code: THOUGHTS10 to get a discount!