This was the Hush. Its rain was not water, but shadow: a rain of leftover sorcery
Chester has taken to the road, traveling from village to village desperately searching for his father, who has disappeared. One night while fiddling to earn a few coins, he accidentally connects to the Song—the music that fuels every aspect of the world, and that it’s illegal for him to interact with. He’s caught and sentenced to death for his crime. Only a licensed Songshaper can bend music to his will.
Susanna, the Captain of the Nightfall Gang has been watching Chester. She needs him to pull off an elaborate plan that will take down the governing body that keeps her an outlaw and made her the fragment she is. Susanna needs him to exact her revenge, even if he dies doing it.
* * * * .5
4.5 / 5
There are two things that I loved about The Hush: first, it’s essentially a group teen heist novel (think more YA Six of Crows), which I didn’t know when I picked it up, and secondly, the idea of the Song, Music, and the Hush is super cool. This book was fantastic and, though it is a standalone, I hope Melki-Wegner returns to write more in this universe.
For Chester, a song was more than just music. It was air. It was food and water, life itself. He inhaled each notes as though it might fill his belly, soak through his skin and paint his bones with starlight
The man. Chester Hays’ father has gone missing, leaving Chester on the road with his fiddle. He plays music, with a little ‘m’, to earn a night at inns as he searches for his father until accidentally playing Music gets him thrown in jail. He’s a touch annoying, the sort you want to beat over the head and scream not now you moron, ask questions later! at whilst in the middle of running for your life. He’s got a natural ear for Music, for magic and the rhythm of the world, and that makes him valuable.
Susannah was a child of the seaside, of ships and waves, of sunlight and open sky. The darkness made her stomach crawl and the fear of Echoes was constant
The woman. Susannah is a down-and-out criminal looking for revenge. Nineteen years old with a shock of red hair, a knife in her belt and a crew to command. She’s strong and reliable but also angry and broken. Susannah helps people, but she also robs them blind; she’s the cat burglar of her little gang, scaling the walls and picking the locks. In fact, she’d be and have almost everything except for the fact that she can’t hear the Music, and without that she’s flying blind.
They were heroes. They were legends. They weren’t a bunch of bickering teenagers who crashed their echoships into rivers.
The gang. The Nightfall Gang has risen to notorious fame, even getting a song named after them, in recent years. Robbing the rich, giving to the poor, and fleeing into the darkness. Or, y’know, the Hush, a world accessible only to the most high ranking Songshapers or those who have, illicitly or otherwise, obtained the information about it’s existence. The Nightfall Gang consists of Dot, a young gay woman and the only Songshaper of the group, Travis, a young man who trained in medical school with a taste for exquisite tailoring, and Sam, a surly boy who is devoted to Susannah.
For centuries the Song had played. It held the world together. It was a quiet rhythm, a pulse in the earth, the seas, the wind.
The world. Wealthy children are tutored until they are of an age where they can apply to the Conservatorium, the only place in the country that produces Songshapers. Songshapers study Music, when ordinary musical ability and playing becomes magical, and ultimately serve the Song. The Song threads its way throughout the world, the underlying rhythm of nature, the heartbeat of the universe, and to interfere with it through Music is a crime. Chester was not a rich child. Now he’s a criminal, scooped up by the Nightfall gang to help with their biggest job yet.
The Hush is quick-paced, action-packed, witty and funny. I laughed aloud a couple of times. The secondary characters are well-written and fleshed out alongside the main ones, the plot is great and has some wonderful twists near the end, and the world is built on an awesome idea. The romance is a pain and I wish it had been left out, but my only other complaint is that it is too short!
My thanks to Edelweiss, the publisher, and the author for an ARC of this book.