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Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale

(Hush #1)

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  4,138 ratings  ·  556 reviews
An Irish princess is kidnapped and sold into slavery in this powerful retelling of an Icelandic legend from award-winning author Donna Jo Napoli, a companion to Hidden.

Melkorka was a princess, the first daughter of a magnificent kingdom in medieval Ireland—but all of this is lost the day she is kidnapped and taken aboard a marauding slave ship. Thrown into a world that she
Paperback, 336 pages
Published December 30th 2014 by Simon Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,138 ratings  ·  556 reviews

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This was a meticulously researched Viking historical fiction. It was extremely plausible in its brutal, unromanticized description of the fates of slaves and the bloody violence permeating the era. It also succeeded in showing the emotional and intellectual evolution of the protagonist, who starts out in the story as the pampered, arrogant daughter of an Irish king, and ends up the thoughtful, brave, and compassionate woman who belongs to an Icelandic chieftain.

I wish I could rate this higher b
This book! No- just no.

There are SO many things wrong with this book.

First of all is the blurb. I mean, just look at it! Irish princess gets stolen off as a slave and takes a vow of silence which entrances her captors. I mean- WOW! So much potential! Adventure, resolve, romance, mystery- it was all there.

Enter the author to chop up the story and make me hate it. Yes, HATE IT!

Mel is our "heroine", if she can even be called that. She's pampered, prejudiced, and weak. Now, I can forgive all that if
Morgan F
This book is no fairytale and there is no prince coming to save this princess. This novel is very, very well written....sometimes brutal, sometimes beautiful. This novel made me scream in frustation at the heroine's silence, and the characters came and went, never to be seen or heard from again. Nothing is sugar-coated, and even though it is never happy, it is never completely desolate either. This resonant novel of survival in the face of brutality is a must-read.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by JodiG. for

What would you do if you were torn away from your life and everything you knew and forced into slavery? If you were taken to new places where people spoke different languages than you, how would you persevere?

Meet Melkorka, the oldest daughter of an Irish king. As members of royalty, Melkorka and her brother, Nuada, and sister, Brigid, enjoy life at the top of the social structure. In Dublin, travelers from around the world gather to sell their wares. The
I'm not going to lie, I bought Hush on pure cover/title appeal (it was $3!  Why not?).  Gladly, I wasn't disappointed.  Hush expands on a very small part of an Icelandic saga, filling it out and bringing it to life quite nicely.  It follows Melkorka, an Irish princess who is kidnapped by slave traders.  While being transported aboard their longboat, Melkorka refuses to speak; coupled with other circumstances, her silence leads the leader of the slave traders to think she has powers, and he both ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 08, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was a spontaneous grab at the library. It wasn't until I finished that I checked goodreads and found that I could have avoided a bad read if I would have read the reviews. Shame on me.

So that said this book is very realistic, meaning nothing works out too well. The poor girl becomes the victim of just about every bad thing for this time. The only good thing I can find from it is that beauty can be a terrible curse. Also, I found it ironic that in the process of trying to save her they took
Jan 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young adults 16 and up
This was an unhappy story, based on an ancient Icelandic tale, of a strong Irish princess who was captured by slave traders. Her vow of silence kept her alive, and even gave her a little bit of power over her captors. A little bit of violence and some sexual scenes (one of them is a bit disturbing) makes me think that this book is meant for older kids - maybe 16 and up.

Napoli was very descriptive and gave an interesting account of what life was like for these people during the 900's.

Critical po
May 17, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Based on an ancient Icelandic tale, this is the story of Irish princess Melkorka. Captured by Vikings and sold into slavery, she reinvents herself as a mute enchantress. A twist to this story is the power of silence rather than the power of speech.

I liked the story, and younger female readers will enjoy the empowerment of the Melkorka. Still, it was a sad tale. After all that she endured, I can not say that the ending was a happy one. But it wasn't a hopeless ending either.

Which brings me the n
Enna Isilee
Warning-- This book is not for those that enjoy a happy story.

I personally liked it. But it certainly isn't happy or good. When you see "Princess' Tale" you shouldn't think of this book. Yes, it is about a princess, but it's about a princess who is captured as a slave and is horribly horribly mistreated. There were parts that my brain made me skip over, but what's facinating is that it's based off a true event/legend.

So... there you are.


So as I was mulling in my bed last night
Dec 15, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gofita by: Sanz
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 26, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like grim books with lots of historical detail
Based on a character briefly mentioned in an Icelandic saga, this is not the typical fanciful or heroic fairytale retelling. Rather, the author is interested in exploring what a princess-turned-slave in the early 900s might actually have felt, seen, and experienced. The plot is slow-moving and the book is packed with historical details. In fact, one character in particular (a fellow slave woman) is supiciously knowledgable about all the places the slaves are taken to and seems to have been intro ...more
Dec 02, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
the story had potential but oh, it was just awful.
3.5 stars
In essence, this is a fictional novel based on an Irish slave, formerly a princess, named Melkorka who ends up in Iceland at the end and is mentioned in The Saga of the People of Laxardal and Bolli Bollason's Tale, well, the only GR volume I can find names two books in a combined volume, but it's in the Saga. This means that the vast majority of it is pure fiction. What it is NOT is a fantasy novel--there is no magic nor are there any magical or mythological creatures anywhere in it, so
Angelique Simonsen
an easy afternoon read
May 27, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melkorka is the 16-year-old daughter of a medieval Irish king around 900 A.D. When she and her younger sister, Brigid, are sent away for safety before an attack by Vikings, they are captured by foreign slave traders and taken on a long sea voyage. Melkorka has always been free with voicing her questions and opinions, but now staying silent is what's keeping her safe, since the leader believes she has magical powers and doesn't want to incur her wrath. They go from Ireland through the North Sea t ...more
Jun 20, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Somehow this book left me sicker than Lolita did, even sicker than The End of Alice did. Sometimes people use "nausea-inducing" as a kind of compliment, but for those books it had a point, however slight - here, there is nothing but endless bleakness and crushed hope. It's almost as bad as Candide or Justine and not nearly as entertaining as either.

I never thought Donna Jo Napoli would fall to rape-to-love schlock. In fact, there's a lot about Napoli's style that's just not up to par in this wor
BAYA Librarian
M Melkorka is a princess in medieval Ireland. She has everything a girl could want, until one day a raiding slave ship captures her and her sister. With no weapons to fight her assailants, she decides to remain mute. In her silence she finds power. Her captors find her appealing which adds to her value. Donna Jo Napoli has successfully written another reinterpretation of a classic tale. Some scenes allude to rape which make this book more appropriate for older teens. The descriptive language in ...more
Tara Higgins
Jan 27, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was horrible. The plot was boring and predictable and bland and so were the characters. The ending did not fit the main character's personality and what was happening throughout the novel. It was like the author did not know what to write the ending as, and deciding to end it like the way it was ended.(I won't spoil it). The best thing to compare it to was to when an author ends something with "and she wakes up, and realized it was all a dream", even this was no dream, the ending was just as ...more
Aug 22, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
I was completely caught up in this retelling of an Icelandic tale that came complete with a kick-ass Irish Princess heroine, Vikings, and a snippet of history I'd never read about before.
Oct 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Loved how the main character only spoke in her mind. I would have liked her to find romance but I suppose in a way she did. Not every story has a happy ending.
Tasmiah26 Chowdhury
Wow. That was a really nice read! The tedious begining was actually worth reading - for the ending. ^.^
Amanda Mantonya
Now.... I just want a larger novel of the same story.
The three stars are because the book is very well-written. It's because of everything else that it's only three stars, and I considered giving it less.

The story is based on an incredibly unpromising hook from Icelandic myth: a mute slave is heard speaking Gaelic, and admits to being an Irish princess, named Melkorka. It's interesting, yes, but it's unpromising because nothing else happens to Melkorka. I think Donna Jo Napoli was interested in why Melkorka would have chosen to make herself mute
Cynthia Heinrichs
It took me some time to get into this story because I didn't find the beginning believable. The way Nuada is maimed didn't ring true for me. The mother sending her daughters off alone with no males to protect them didn't make sense either. Surely at least a strong male servant would have been sent along. It seemed to me a too-convenient plot device and, from what I know of the period, an unrealistic one. This was a culture based on honour price. If someone harmed you, they paid according to your ...more
Mar 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, young-adult
I strayed away from my favorite genre last month, but like a magnet I was pulled to the past yet again, and was amazed by the piece of spellbinding work I read. HUSH by Donna Jo Napoli is a memorizing retelling of an Irish princess' silent existence as a captive aboard a Scandinavian ship.

On what should be a... pleasant trip to Dublin, Princess Melkorka – Mel for short, quickly becomes aware of the dangers that savage Vikings inflict. In desperation and fear for her safety, Mel's parents instruc
A Historical fiction book that was well researched but felt like it lacked heart. I loved the character development of Melkorka throughout the book especially as she changed from spoilt selfish princess. There was one scene that really captured me, it was the dialogue betweeen Mel and Brigid near the beginning. I thought wow, this is Ms Napoli's niche, this dialogue has me wrapped up in these two characters, their relationship and their personalities. It seemed so natural and I waited and waited ...more
Melissa Walcott
Jun 03, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Melkorka is a princess, the first daughter of a magnificent kingdom in mediæval Ireland -- but all of this is lost the day she is kidnapped and taken aboard a marauding slave ship. Thrown into a world that she has never known, alongside people that her former country's laws regarded as less than human, Melkorka is forced to learn quickly how to survive. Taking a vow of silence, however, she finds herself an object of fascination to her captors and masters, and soon realizes that any power, no ma ...more
Corinne Edwards
Melkorka. I love the name of the protagonist in this story of an Irish Princess. Melkorka's life as an Irish king's daughter changes in an instant when she is captured by slave traders heading east. Based on an old Icelandic tale, Melkorka chooses to remain mute and her lack of speech sets her apart and gives Melkorka at least one advantage in her new, dangerous life.

Life as a slave in 9oo AD was not pretty, and Napoli doesn't make it out to be anything else. But despite the violence (including
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Donna Jo Napoli is both a linguist and a writer of children's and YA fiction. She loves to garden and bake bread, and even dreams of moving to the woods and becoming a naturalist.

At various times her house and yard have been filled with dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits. For thirteen years she had a cat named Taxi, and liked to go outside and call, "Taxi!" to make the neighbors wonder. But dear dear

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Hush (2 books)
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