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They use magic to silence the world. Who will break the hush?

Seventeen-year-old Shae has led a seemingly quiet life, joking with her best friend Fiona, and chatting with Mads, the neighborhood boy who always knows how to make her smile. 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.

374 pages, Hardcover

First published October 6, 2020

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About the author

Dylan Farrow

3 books248 followers
Dylan Farrow is a writer, mother, and activist for survivors of sexual assault. Growing up in both New York City and rural Connecticut, she spent countless hours drawing and writing for pleasure. After graduating from Bard College she found a position at CNN as a production assistant and later moved into graphic design. Soon, however, she felt that neither were her calling. After getting married, Dylan returned to writing full time, exploring her love of YA fantasy. Hush is her debut novel.

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5 stars
335 (14%)
4 stars
758 (32%)
3 stars
850 (36%)
2 stars
291 (12%)
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79 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 718 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,205 reviews40.9k followers
December 7, 2020
Oh boy, it runs in the family: Mia Farrow has talented kids. This book truly surprised me with its dance between genres: YA fantasy-fairy tales- general fiction-feminist fantasy. The world building is creative, implosive, thought-provoking, characters are well-developed, complex, layered, story-telling is unique, different but it never gets you out of the hook, you still get invested into the story and know about the future of the characters. It keeps your interest alert and never bores you till the end.

It takes place in the land of Montane: the language is not a skill to possess, is not for everyone because it is pure magic. And only the powerful, unique people may have the privilege to have this special gift: you have to one of the Bards.

There is deadly disease out there spreading by ink which killed 17 years old Shae’s brother five years ago and now Shae is afraid because she can create magic by her embroidery. She needs to discuss this matter secretly with the Bards. But can she trust them? Because as soon as she contacted them she finds out her mom is killed by golden dagger which is the one of the weapon Bards use against their enemies. She needs to do something to protect herself and find the killers’ identity which forces her to start her journey to High House for getting the answers she needs.

But as soon as she gets there and meet with kind, genuine, protective Cathal who makes a tempting offer for her to stay at the place and get a proper training to be a Bard, she accepts without thinking what kind of complex and dangerous situation she is getting herself into because this place is full of lies, secrets and illusions: Nothing as it seems. And of course her torturing training séances are not sunshine of her days, thanks to merciless female Bard and let’s not forget her undeniable attraction to another dangerous Bard who may be the killer of her own mother.

As you may see the strong metaphors by sacred power of words and the ink’s power to endanger lives reflect the activist parts of the author smoothly and her eagerness to center the story around young female who is adamant, brave and truth searcher gives the story extra feminist fantasy vibes. The cliffhanger at the ending was interesting enough to give a chance for second book. I think this was original, dazzling and promising start to the series so I’m looking forward to read more of her stories.

Special thanks to NetGalley and Wednesday Books/St. Martin’s Press for sharing this unique ARC with me in exchange my honest review.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,535 reviews32.7k followers
July 5, 2020
i was little sceptical going into this, as i am with most books written by notable people - i constantly have to ask ‘was this published because of their name or because its actually a decent story?’ i think this book is a combination of both.

this is definitely an interesting concept and there is some groundwork laid, but its very bare bones. i didnt feel like the magic system was explored enough, the characters are pretty one-dimensional, and the pacing/flow is off at times. and i couldnt shake the feeling that i was constantly missing something to really connect all the dots throughout.

i think there is enough content to build upon and improve as the series progresses, but the jury is still out as to whether i am interested enough to continue reading the books.

thank you st. martins press/wednesday books for the ARC!

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
April 4, 2021
3.5 stars

"What if we rewrote the world?"
Shae (17) spent her entire life in a world without books due to the ever-present Blot.

The Blot is a deadly disease that's spread by ink and books. The only ones who can prevent it is the Bards.

Every so often, the Bards come to town to bless or curse the people based on their tithes. After they've finished, Shae realizes her mother was murdered - by a weapon owned by the bards.
There are things more important than meekly obeying the rules.
After a chance encounter and a little demonstration of magic that she didn't know she had...Shae is able to join the Bards, and hopefully find her mother's murderer.
"You say water is so impressionable…but just because something is fluid, does not make it obedient."
There were a lot of good elements to this one.

The plot was certainly not something I've seen before and I enjoyed watching it play out.

I liked the danger of the Blot and thought that it was an interesting twist of a blight.

The death of the mother was a great motivator for Shae and ultimately is what held my attention the most to the book. I kept trying to figure it out on my own but all of my guesses ended up far away from the truth.

The embroidery aspect of the future-predictions was really cool - I had fun watching Shae work on her artwork (and eventually discovering her Bard powers).

I felt like a few of the plot twists (namely the betrayals) were a little typical-YA (aka predictable) but all in all, i think this one works rather well and am excited for book 2!

With thanks to Netgalley, Wednesday Books and Dylan Farrow for sending me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

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July 14, 2020

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What even is reviewing?? I feel like I haven't picked up a book in years. (Okay, it's been days.) I've actually been reading this one on the DL for a couple weeks now, courtesy of the publisher, who was kind enough to gift me a copy when I expressed my interest in it being a feminist!fantasy novel, because I think we can all agree that what the world needs right now is more strong women kicking serious butt.

At first, it didn't click for me that this is the same Dylan Farrow who is the daughter of Mia Farrow. Which, at first, gave me some trepidation because celebrities don't exactly have the best track record when it comes to writing YA. Just take Kendal and Kylie Jenner's dystopian novel, REBELS: CITY OF INDRA, or Hilary Duff's paranormal romance, ELIXIR. Neither of which are reputed to be, um... good.

HUSH is a pretty decent fantasy story, though. I liked it, even if I didn't love it, and I think younger readers will enjoy it even more than I did, especially if they're a fan of authors like Shannon Hale. In HUSH, writing is forbidden because of a mysterious sickness called Blot, which basically discolors and poisons the veins. In this world, words have incredible power, and people called "Bards" can use them to do powerful spells.

Shae lives in a poor village that depends heavily on the Bards for good weather and growing crops. Having a brother who died of Blot, she's somewhat of a pariah, and when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, her lot in life only worsens. Of course, everything changes once Shae decides to confront her mother's death, despite "murder" being a forbidden word, and of course, her investigations end up making her even more ostracized than she is and catch the attentions of dangerous and powerful people... where she discovers that she, too, is more than she seems.

I'll be honest, I don't really see how this is a "feminist" fantasy. There is an insta-lust between her and one of the Bards, and I never really got the connection between them. She doesn't have any particularly positive relationships with any female characters, apart from a servant who helps her out for literally no reason other than "us women have to stick together" (yes, exactly that). Actually, a lot of the people who screw her over the most in this book are women, which isn't very feminist. The biggest girl power moment is when she turns down a marriage proposal-- not because he's a bad person but because she just isn't that into him and doesn't want to settle. You go, girl?

To be clear, three stars is a positive review (I keep getting comments from people on other reviews who don't seem to get that??); it just means I had some issues with the book that kept me from really loving it or liking it. This is a somewhat generic fantasy novel with an interesting take on the whole "magic is forbidden" trope, but the MC is kind of a Mary Sue and it ends on a wicked cliffhanger without much closure. YA fantasy fans are probably going to love this (and the gorgeous cover won't hurt). I found it passable, and it was refreshing to see a celebrity with decent writing chops.

I'd be interested in reading the sequel and seeing where she goes from here.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! 

3 to 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,443 reviews78.1k followers
September 19, 2020
Dylan Farrow is a wife, mother, and woman that I have highly respected for years, due to her advocacy of sexual assault victims, so when I heard that she was publishing her debut YA fantasy through one of my favorite publishers, I had to read it as soon as possible. Even though the majority of readers, myself included, are hesitant to pick up novels from otherwise famous folk, I found this novel to be a solid debut that came across as a labor of love to the writer.

If you've read the blurb above, then you know that this book hinges on a magic system involving language and the silencing of many voices. The premise is fantastic and timely; however, I found that the execution didn't quite meet today's YA fantasy standards. There isn't much explanation into how the magic system works which leaves a gaping hole in the world building of the story, and a vague exclamation of "Magic!" is usually the blanket explanation for any scene that couldn't be logically explained away. I'm the type of reader who needs to understand how this magic works and why some people have it while others do not.

Another aspect that felt misleading is that this is being marketed as a "feminist fantasy", but I didn't find any portion of this plot to be particularly feminist. The main character falls into a typical insta-love relationship with the only boy available, which I don't personally have a problem with, but might be a turn off for readers expecting a story of solo female triumph or strong platonic bonds.

I'd like to end on a positive note by saying that the story is a page turner, and I think the right reader will really connect with Shae and her plight, and I'm truly excited to see how Dylan grows as an author with the second part of this story. Also? Wow, that cover. Excuse me while I drool over it for eternity.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
Profile Image for Elle.
587 reviews1,316 followers
September 9, 2020
I think this was an amazing concept for a YA fantasy novel. A deadly illness known as the “Indigo Death”, or more commonly, the “Blot“ is ravaging the land of Montane. In the small village of Aster lives Shae and her mother, though they’re barely scraping by. Following the deaths of her brother and father, Shae and her mother have been turned into community outcasts, all from fear of this mysterious plague. After another tragedy strikes her family, Shae realizes she has nothing left to lose, and she sets off on her own to seek out answers.

Not much is known about the Blot. Reading and all other written forms of language have been banned, as well as some specific words and phrases, such as ‘murder’. Once she decides to leave her village, Shae attempts to track down the Bards, a group of magic-wielders who have the power to alter reality at will. Their magic is not elaborated on much beyond that, and that’s honestly one of the things I struggled most with in this book. There’s really no explanation of the magic system at play. Some people can speak magic, but there’s no specific instruction on how they can do this. Apparently you can also sew your ‘Tellings’ into existence, but there’s only one example of this.

I don’t know, there was a lot of interesting ideas here. I think the author had issues with the story and narrative construction. There’s not much build-up, even if the ‘tension’ is there. Farrow’s writing is a lot of ‘this happened, then this happened and oh yeah this happened a while ago but I’m just telling you about it now’. I was missing elaboration. I wanted the world she created to feel palpable, but it all came off so flat.

The dialogue was also pretty basic and a lot of the characterizations were stereotypical. My guess is that she just hasn’t read that many fantasy books, especially YA fantasy, and is unfamiliar with the tropes of the genre. I‘m left with so many questions. What were those ‘training’ sessions about? How does the labyrinth work? How is this country governed? As tempting as it can be in this genre, you can’t just answer every question with ‘because magic’!

I want to give Dylan time to grow as a writer. Like I said, there were a lot of good ideas. The way that Shae can’t distinguish between reality and delusions was done really well. As a reader I was questioning my own perceptions of what I was reading. I think I would like to see more of that going forward, not a half-baked romance with some guy who has the personality of wet cardboard. Usually I wouldn’t continue reading a series I didn’t absolutely love right away, but there is something compelling here. Maybe it’s how compulsively readable the story is, I don’t know, but either way I will definitely be back for book 2.

*Thanks to Wednesday Books, St. Martin’s Press & Netgalley for advance copies!
Profile Image for Kimberly.
44 reviews186 followers
May 25, 2022
This book sounded like it would be a five-star read but unfortunately, it wasn’t.

A hundred years ago, the Blot, a disease spread by ink, left Montane in ruins. The High House of Montane cured this disease, but to prevent it from coming back on, ink, some words, tales, and symbols were banned. The only people who are allowed to read and write are the Bards of the High House.

In Aster, a village in Montane, there lives a girl named Shae, whose brother was killed by the Blot five years ago. She has a best friend named Fiona and her crush, Mads. Shae is different from the others; she’s very curious and she may have the Blot. One day, while the Bards are visiting Aster to collect offerings and offer protection, she decides to visit the Bards to see if they can cure her of the Blot she may or may not have.

She can meet a Bard but isn't able to get a Blessing that would cure her of the Blot. She slowly makes her way home and when she arrives home she finds her mother lying on the floor, dead, stabbed in the chest with a golden dagger. Sadly, no one believes that her mother was murdered, not even Fiona and Mads. Everyone seems to believe and is told that Shae’s mother was killed in a landslide. Shae starts to doubt herself and wonders if she remembered wrong. Eventually, Shae decides that she didn’t remember wrong and goes to the only place where she can receive help—High House.

The world-building is stunning. Above, I tried to summarize some of the world, but that is barely anything and there is so much more that I couldn't fit into my summary. I think that this world is pretty unique and it’s a good foundation for the start of this series.

The main reason why I didn’t like this is because it’s boring and there isn’t much action. Even the “surprising” twists weren’t that shocking. Another thing was that I didn’t like any of the characters. None of them caught my attention or had me rooting for them.

I really don’t like comparing books to other books but I don’t know how to explain this very well without comparing it to another book. This book kind of reminds me of Caraval. It’s not the characters, the setting, or plot of Hush that reminds me of Caraval, but rather the feeling when reading. No, it’s not the feeling of magicalness—it’s the feeling of confusion and not knowing if something is real or fake. There were a lot of times during this book where I was confused and the writing was unclear.

Despite it being boring and confusing, I still liked the novel because of the themes and messages that it presented.

ARC received via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for human.
640 reviews989 followers
January 20, 2021
Thank you to Netgalley and Wednesday Books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

(actual rating: 2.5/5)

This book was alright, I guess.

Hush tells the tale of Shae, a seventeen-year-old girl who's lost almost everything to the Blot, a horrible disease brought on by ink and contraband stories. She's only got her mother, her friend, and a neighborhood boy, and thinks that if she goes along with what everyone says and does around her, she'll be fine. And she was, until the night her mother was murdered. Everyone refuses to listen to what Shae has to say, and she'll stop at nothing to find the answers she so desperately needs.

While the premise of the story sounds incredibly appealing, the book itself fell flat for me in a few different ways.

For one, there's the whole matter about Shae herself. She's naive, but grows into herself over the course of the story, which wasn't all too bad. She does, however, radiate incredible amounts of special-snowflake-syndrome energy, what with her amazing and incredible powers, her need to find the truth, and willingness to overthrow a government system. Not too different from your average YA fantasy protagonist, I say.

Then, there's the matter of the romance-that-wasn't-meant-to-be. It just sort of sprung up out of nowhere, and reeked of insta-love. Matters were not made better when said romance-but-not fizzled out rather pathetically.

Also, I saw the plot-twists coming from a mile away, which was disheartening. The pacing of the book was rather odd, with the beginning being a bit slow, quickly speeding up into the actual plot. The middle parts of the book seemed a bit detached from the rest of the story in terms of what happened to move the plot forward, but things started picking up again at the end.

I really, really, really wished that I had enjoyed this book more. I like the concept, and what the author is trying to do, and while it was fairly well-written (although, it could have been written in third-person rather than from Shae's perspective and not much would have changed), this book just didn't cut it for me. I liked the dystopian light that was focused on the fantasy and mystery parts, and I'll certainly read the second book to find out what happens next.

Overall, it was a pretty fast read, and I would recommend it to others who want a quick fantasy with a healthy dose of YA dystopia.
Profile Image for Judithrosebooks .
477 reviews1,471 followers
July 2, 2021
La verdad es que iba con expectativas muy bajas con este libro, al principio me ha costado meterme en la historia y entender que sucedía y cómo funciona la magia.

Debo decir que a la mitad del libro me ha enganchado y no he podido parar de leer hasta el final.

Es una historia que me ha cautivado, la protagonista me ha gustado muchísimo como evoluciona y además como al principio ella ve su don como una maldición, ya que no entiende lo que es.

Su madre es asesinada y ella busca respuestas, y al buscar, encuentra mucho más de lo que imaginaba.

Es un principio de saga que te deja con ganas de más, ya estoy deseando que publiquen el segundo. Sin duda es una historia que me ha sorprendido y que os recomiendo si sois amantes de la fantasía un poco oscura.
Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
2,054 reviews3,465 followers
November 15, 2020
Hush is a YA dystopian novel about gaslighting, power structures, and the importance of the truth. It's a book that creeps up on you, but leaves a strong impression. It feels particularly poignant given the identity of the author. (Dylan Farrow is the daughter of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen and has spoken about the abuse that took place within that family)

The book is set in a dystopian world where writing and storytelling are controlled by a privileged few (mostly men) in order to control a plague called the Blot where ink takes over peoples bodies and kills them, and there are forbidden words and stories. Shae is 17 and lives in an impoverished town with her mother after losing her brother to the Blot. But when she finds her mother murdered (murder is a forbidden word btw) she is made to think she imagined things by people in power and her friends turn her away. But Shae is determined to find answers and justice.

I won't say more because the plot goes places I didn't expect, but I thought this was a fascinating world with a strong lead character. By the end it becomes clear that much of it is being used as a metaphor for the gaslighting of sexual assault victims and their family members, and the ways that power structures can cover things up to protect powerful men. I found it to be deeply resonant, but with enough of its own story as not to be too on the nose. Rather, you get to feel the EXPERIENCE of someone who is unsure of what is real and what isn't due to these things, and of the horror that can come with discovering someone you trust and care for isn't who you thought they were. Note that there is not actually sexual assault in the book, but other kinds of violence and psychological abuse. It's an important and powerful book that I would definitely recommend. When a public figure writes a novel, you don't always know what you're going to get but this was a very good version of a YA dystopian fantasy. I received a copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Heidi The Reader.
1,377 reviews1,438 followers
September 28, 2020
In the world of Hush, ink, the suspected origin of a deadly plague, has been declared the enemy of humankind and outlawed. The keepers of the law, High House and its magical soldiers called bards, roam the world, rooting out those who break the law and rewarding those who bend to their will.

"Our history shows that vigilance and caution are tantamount to survival. Burn the ink from the page. Turn away from forbidden words, toxic tales, and deadly symbols. Cleanse the country of this malignant blight. Join us."

Shae lost her brother to the mysterious plague early in her life and her family has been outcast from her small village since. When tragedy once again darkens her family's doorstep, what will Shae do not only to seek justice for her brother but, potentially, the whole world?

The premise of Hush had some interesting ideas, but this debut, young adult novel suffers from wooden characters and predictable plot twists.

"The Bards arrive today." The Bards. Suddenly I feel as though the house has been encased in ice. The town elders say there's power in words- that certain phrases can change the world around you."

Weakness in the character development aside, Shae is a strong protagonist who struggles to create her own reality which differs quite markedly from the reality that her small town has imagined for her. Teens might connect with her more strongly than I did, which is to say, not at all.

I'm not sure what it was. Maybe I'm suffering from YA dystopian reading burnout?

Instead of appreciating Shae for her flaws which include falling in love too quickly, trusting everybody and pushing all her friends away the moment she could really use their help, I found myself annoyed with her.

"I spent countless nights lying awake, staring at the austere wooden beams of the ceiling, trying to figure out if I was mad or cursed- or both."

Be smarter, I thought. The odds are stacked against you, and you need to pay attention, not fall for the first stranger you meet who has a dreamy pair of eyes.

But as I said, I'm definitely not the intended audience for the book.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance reader copy.
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,165 reviews1,521 followers
August 19, 2021
Hush by Dylan Farrow is the first book in the young adult fantasy series by the same name, Hush. This series is one with a lot of different elements including a romance, magic use, a little science fiction and set in a dystopian type of world.

The world of Hush is built around a deadly disease that has ravished the land spread by ink. Yes, ink as in the stuff that is used to write a book or a letter. This plague is known as The Blot and has brought about magical soldiers known as Bards to control the spread of The Blot.

Seventeen year old Shae lost her own brother to the Blot so she knows the disease well and has done her best to avoid it. One day the Bards come to either bless or curse Shae’s town. As they are leaving though Shae discovers her mother’s body and knows that the Bards had something to do with her death.

The one thing I will say that held me back from a higher rating for Hush by Dylan Farrow is that I thought this one could have used a bit more world building overall. The idea behind the story was creative and it moved at a decent pace to me for a fantasy which is usually my one big complaint but as I said this one was more an understanding of the plague and magic use that needed a bit more. Overall though this one came in at three and a half stars for me and I did enjoy it despite thinking it needed a little improvement.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Profile Image for Rachel Kathryn Wright.
408 reviews17 followers
September 2, 2020
3.5 ⭐️
Starting this book I honestly thought my rating was going to be lower because I am not in love with the time period it is set in. Especially with the setting of the world in the beginning, but the setting gets better when Shae starts going to going to a school for Bards. And once we are in this new setting everything gets better. But, with getting further into the story it starts to get very predictive. Everything that happens after Shae leaves her hometown is not surprising because it has a similar plot line and outcome as other books I’ve read. Even though this book was very predictable, it was still gripping and enjoyable to read. The characters it started with only the main character being likable or enjoyable to see. And the relationship that starts to grow in this book, has a funny start to show that a romance is going to start. Overall, even though this was very predictable and it took a while for me to get into the story, I thought this was a fun read.
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,736 reviews940 followers
September 14, 2020
Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

I don't know what to say really. This book was confusing and the lack of character development and world building did not help. This is the first book in the series, so there should have been more focus on the world that Farrow was trying to show readers. The synopsis seemed to provide more details than the actual book which is a problem. All in all I found this one to be fairly flat. I have no intention of reading the second or third book (I assume this is probably the start of a trilogy) in this series.

Hush follows 17 year old Shae. Shae and her mother live in the land of Montane. We find out that Shae's brother died of the Blot (apparently a disease that makes veins turn blue and explode...yeah I don't know) and that since then Shae's mother has not spoken. Shae is angry at the world that she lives in and wants to do more. The Bards come to the village and Shae who apparently is somehow not cowed by the fact that the Bards just cut out a man's tongue goes up to one and asks for help. That event seems to be the catalyst the rest of the book follows. Shae goes home and finds her mother dead and then decides to seek out the Bards so that someone can help her. Look...I don't know what else to say, this book had me scratching my head. I got to the 40 percent point yesterday and started reading another book cause this one just didn't make a lot of sense.

It didn't help that I also didn't really like the main character, Shae. She seems fairly selfish since the world that she inhabits people can be killed for doing anything that the so-called Bards deem wrong. Her pointing her friends in harm's way for deciding that she is going to investigate who killed her mother made no sense at all.

I can't say much about the other characters in this one since they were not developed at all. We have Default Male #1 and Default Male #2 or as I call it, the YA Love Triangle that by all rights must happen in each YA book these days. Please stop. I beg of you.

The writing I found to be clunky in places and the flow was not good.

Honestly the world building is nonexistent. I mean we get a prologue with Shae talking about the Blot. Then we jump forward several years and we have the Bards who demand offerings (what I am calling them) from towns/villages and if they don't get enough won't provide a "Telling" which I think just means rain. The towns/villages seem to rat on each other a lot so there's that. I maybe laughed when we find out that of course Shae is special (Mary Sue character that appears in every YA novel) and I mentally checked out at that point. I still don't get how Shae is supposedly special but that's cause I don't get the whole concept of the bards. See previous comment about lack of world building.

I have to say that there really is not anything new in this series and it honestly made me recall why I could not stand the "Divergent" series. There seems to be more focus on the ending/cliffhangers than the actual book and characters.

I read this book for the "Raven" square.
Profile Image for Tucker  (TuckerTheReader).
908 reviews1,598 followers
November 23, 2020

Many thanks to Macmillan Audio for the free audiobook in exchange for an honest review

I kind of just requested and dove into this without knowing what it was about but I ended up enjoying it... but also not... I'll talk about it all in a bit.

So, what's this book about?
Seventeen-year-old Shae has led a seemingly quiet life, joking with her best friend Fiona, and chatting with Mads, the neighborhood boy who always knows how to make her smile. 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.

Let's get the things I didn't like out of the way.

The first issue was that this book was so enormously cliche, bordering uncreative. Fortunately, I am not rating this book entirely on it's creativity. If I was, it'd be two stars.
I won't go into details because I don't want to spoil but there was almost every cliche in the book. From I'mNotLikeOtherGirls to DarkAndBroodingHawtGuyIsSoooooooooHawt, they were all there.

Everything about the plot was so incredibly predictable. I kept waiting for my guesses to be wrong but they never were. It was almost laughable at how cookie-cutter the plot was. But, like cookies, it was still enjoyable enough to get through it.

Now, for what I liked about this book.. the symbolism.

I love what the plot and ideas represented. Dylan Farrow is an advocate on sexual assault. Although sexual assault is not a theme in this book, there was an overall theme of speaking up and breaking the silence. It was the author's not that brought all these themes together for me and I loved that aspect.

Overall, although the story itself was not totally creative, I loved the themes and definitely want to see where the series goes.

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Profile Image for Elizabeth.
256 reviews292 followers
September 15, 2020
Let's start with the obvious: it's a celebrity YA book. The name is going to draw a fair number of curious readers (mostly adult) and you know what? That's fantastic! Getting people to read has definitely been harder (thanks 2020, you jerk!) and when people are reading they want comfort reading, and a lot of readers are heading for YA.

Now for more unsurprising news: Hush isn't anything new. In fact, it feels like a factory-made first installment of a YA trilogy, right down to the mc, who will be tstl for some and completely relatable for others. (One of the fascinating things about female-centric YA is how often female readers either totally identify or don't identify at all with the main character. No halfway! I hope somebody writes a paper about it one day.)

The plot is also standard, down to the "ending" that's supposed to make you scream "Noooooo, need more!" and then order book two. (Hard no from me) I have read a lot of YA novels of Hush's ilk, and I'd say it's totally average and totally forgettable. 1.5 rounded up.

As a side note: It will be interesting to see how well it does, especially given that Fall 2020 is now crammed full of new releases. Anyone else notice there was a hard PR push for this in the Spring but now there's nothing? (That has surprised me!)
Profile Image for Caitlin Reads.
178 reviews52 followers
October 5, 2020
I have been intrigued by the Farrow family since I read Mia Farrows autobiography years ago. I was really excited when I saw that Dylan had written a young adult fantasy novel and was really impressed overall with her debut. I thought she did an especially good job with the creative world building and really enjoyed the feminist aspects of Hush as well.

In Montane, the power of language belongs only to the Bards which have historically always been men. Our main protagonist, Shae, has lived in fear of contracting the deadly disease that killed her younger brother. Her mother can’t speak and she grew up in a village suffering from famine. On top of that, Shae is dealing with crippling anxiety she sees as a curse. When the Bards come to her village to collect their tithe, she sneaks off to see them thinking they can break her “curse”. She comes home only to discover that her mother was killed by a weapon that is only processed by the Bards which in turn motivates Shae to set out on a mission to discover the truth.

Throughout the course of the book, Shae finds herself training as a Bard in a dangerous castle. I thought it was clever the way we shared Shae’s perspective but knew we couldn’t always rely on it as she was being manipulated at times and her reality was sometimes distorted. There were several twists and turns throughout this novel and I found it difficult to put down. All of the characters are hiding things and I often questioned their true motives throughout the book. I did feel that the Blot could have been better explained. Although there were times I was left wanting more from the story and felt it didn’t live up to its full potential, I thought it was a solid book and am excited to read more from Dylan. There were several interesting parallels the world we are currently living in. The cliffhanger at the end left me yearning for a second book.

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,766 reviews588 followers
August 29, 2020
A stark and emotionally charged tale of one girl’s battle to be heard in a world shuttered by fear, magic and deceit. Will the truth set Shae free or will it be her demise?

Dylan Farrow’s HUSH is a dark and edgy foundation to a young adult fantasy series with a strong female lead in a world that is both confusing and filled with cover-ups. Is anything as it seems or has everything Shae has known been a lie? The action is in the charged environment created by this author as we follow Shae’s determination, her seemingly fearless demeanor and her inner strength.

A magnetic read with an ominous feel. A good start to what appears to be a powerful series.

I received a complimentary ARC edition from Wednesday Books! This is my honest and voluntary review.

Series: Hush - Book 1
Publication Date : October 6, 2020
Publisher : Wednesday Books (October 6, 2020)
Genre: YA Dark Fantasy
Print Length : 384 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Meli  .
1,059 reviews187 followers
November 24, 2021
Seit dem Tod ihres Bruders ist Shae eine Außenseiterin, die von den Menschen im Dorf Aster gemieden wird. Sie hat Angst vor den "Flecken", der tödlichen Krankheit, die von Tinte und verbotenen Worten kommt, und sucht Hilfe bei den Barden, die das Land regieren. Sie haben magische Kräfte und die Menschen, vor allem in armen Dörfern, sind komplett auf ihre Gunst angewiesen. Nur, wenn die Barden es wollen, fällt die Ernte reich aus.

Shae fand ich schon sympathisch, ein großer Teil der Sympathie kam durch Mitgefühl für das arme Mädchen, das sich viel Mühe gibt, um über die Runden zu kommen. Sie kämpft für die Wahrheit und für Gerechtigkeit, auch wenn es meistens ein ziemlich einsamer Kampf ist, weil sie kaum jemand unterstützen will. Ein paar loyale Freunde hat sie schon, aber die Angst vor den Barden oder vor der Krankheit ist manchmal größer als Freundschaft.

Für ein Jugendbuch aus dem High Fantasy Bereich ist die Welt zwar gelungen, aber ich fand, dass sie auch nicht unbedingt aus der Masse sticht. Das Buch wird damit beworben, dass es darin um Fake News, politische Meinungsmache und Feminismus geht, was meiner Meinung nach auch zutreffend ist, allerdings fand ich auch nicht, dass es sich da von anderen aktuellen Jugendbüchern unterscheidet, weil diese Themen in sehr vielen (mittelalterlichen) High Fantasy Welten präsent sind. Ich fand die Geschichte aber immer spannend und freue mich auch auf die Fortsetzung.

"Hush - Verbotene Worte" hat mir gut gefallen, denn ich mochte die Protagonistin, die immer weitergekämpft hat, und auch die magische Welt hat mir gefallen. Die Handlung war spannend, auch wenn ich bei dem Marketing vielleicht noch etwas außergewöhnlicheres erwartet hätte.
Profile Image for Monica.
527 reviews163 followers
April 6, 2021
Interesting read! I enjoyed the characters and overall plot. They both could have been a bit more developed. The limited twists of the story were not surprising... But this was a quick read with some different ideas on the typical dismal dystopian fiction. I would read a sequel. :)

Thanks to Netgalley for the free e-book!
Profile Image for Amber.
992 reviews
June 1, 2020
I received a complimentary copy of this ebook ARC from the publisher, author and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Shay's family is cursed when her brother died of the Blot plague making her mom quit talking. When she goes to the Bards for help, her mother is mysteriously murdered. Can she find out who killed her before she is the next to be silenced or has destiny have something else planned for her? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was a pretty good dark fantasy novel. It was very action packed and mysterious. If you like books like this, be sure to check this book out when it officially releases in bookstores and wherever books and ebooks are sold on October 6, 2020.
Profile Image for Jane.
929 reviews56 followers
October 15, 2020
2.5 stars

You can read all of my reviews at Nerd Girl Loves Books.

This is an ok YAFantasy about a young girl who is out of options and undertakes a journey to seek justice for her family.

Shae lives on a sheep farm with her mother. Her younger brother died from a mysterious disease called "the blot", which is allegedly caused by illegally reading or writing contraband, or speaking a forbidden word. Shae's father dies shortly thereafter, and ever since, her mother doesn't speak a word. Shunned by most of her community, Shae eeks out a meager existence with her mother, until one day Shae returns to her home to find her mother murdered. When noone in town will help her, Shae flees to seek aid from a group of justice seekers called The Bards. The Bards use a form of magic called the Telling to keep the country safe.

The rest of the story is a jumble of Shae being trained to use her magic as a Bard. This book is a worn out formulaic telling of a misunderstood young girl with a special gift that is found/seeks out a powerful group to train her/prevent her from being trained/kill her/welcome her/etc. We've all read this kind of story before, and this is not one of the great ones. The characters are all one-note and I didn't connect with any of them.

There is almost no worldbuilding. Apparently the small communities are ruled by the Bards, but we don't know what led to this or why. We have no idea when writing and reading were outlawed or why. We know nothing about "the blot" or how someone contracts it or whether anyone can be cured of it. We don't know anything about the "magic" the Bards use, how it works or why some people can use the magic and others can't. We aren't told how the Bards were formed or why, and we are not told anything about their leader and how he came into power. There is a quest for an all-powerful book, but we aren't told much about what information it contains, how it can change the world and why someone would seek it.

I mean, sure, you leave some things up in the air to maintain mystery, but not THIS much! It's hard to get invested in a community or characters when you don't know anything of their background or their motivations. Half way through the book things became so convoluted and muddied that I didn't understand what the heck was going on or why the characters did what they did. I lost total interest, but figured I should finish the book to be fair. It did not improve.

Sadly, I have no interest in reading any further books in this series. It just didn't resonate with me, but I'm sure other people will enjoy it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books/St. Martin's Press for the free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Linden.
1,477 reviews1 follower
August 21, 2020
In this dystopian YA novel, Shae lives with her Ma in the small poverty-stricken village of Aster. Her brother has died of the Blot, a plague-like illness which has made her an outcast. After Ma is murdered, Shae journeys to High House to seek information on the crime. Her reception at High House is most unexpected. Is there anyone she can trust? Is the murderer one of the powerful Bards residing there? An intriguing start to the series, I did find some of the plot difficult to follow. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC.
Profile Image for Fanna.
992 reviews506 followers
December 13, 2020
November 22, 2020: Amidst the effects of a plague spreading through ink that has signed the restriction of written words and the exclusion of certain words from speech, a sister and daughter—Shae—is out-casted and all alone after losing those who were closest to her. In a world where words are power and can only be possessed by the privileged ones blessed with pure magic, a young Shae finds herself creating magic. Following the mysterious death of her mother, the main character runs to a group of prodigious people who promise to use words for the betterment, like growing crops or inciting rain, but are high on Shae's list of suspects.

With a whirlwind of secrets unravelling and illusions shattering, this tale also explores power in its raw form and smoothly hints towards a timely theme of silencing those below the dominant.

However, the strong exclamation of an adamant teen girl is often replaced by a mismatched voice of stereotypical balance commonly used to highlight a young chosen one—which is annoying, to say the least—and the debut underdelivers in the aspect of feminism with no true female friendships or platonic relationships explored, unless a particular dialogue from the story: "us women have to stick together" is considered even slightly powerful.

➼ an early digital copy received via netgalley but the review remains uninfluenced. ↤

July 04, 2020: A feminist fantasy? Nice! Oh, wait, do I also see the author of one of my favorite books, The Tiger At Midnight, praise this??? NOW I WILL LIKE IT.
Profile Image for Catwithbooks.
2,159 reviews8 followers
February 3, 2021
Das Cover und der Klapptext zu diesen Buch haben mich wirklich neugierig gemacht. So habe ich dann die Geschichte auf mich zu kommen lassen.

Leider konnte mich die Geschichte nicht so recht überzeugen obwohl das Grund Gerüst interessant war. Aber was hat es nu mit der Magie? Beschwörung? Nun auf sich? Das war mir irgendwie zu dünn.
Da hat für mich einfach was gefehlt.
Für mich fehlte auch der Zusammenhang so recht mit den verbotenen Worten. Ich habe eine Ahnung wie das gemeint ist weil gegen Ende diesen Bandes was erwähnt wurde, aber ob das so ist?
Ich weiß auch nicht ob man von einen roten Faden sprechen kann in der Handlung. Vielleicht hängt es damit zusammen, dass Shae oft nicht Sachen zu Ende denkt. Mit der Entwicklung der Protagonistin hatte ich auch so meine Probleme.
Die Charaktere an sich fand ich etwas einfach. Ohne Ecken und Kanten. Fiona, Mads, Kennan und Ravod haben keinen bleiben Eindruck hinterlassen.

Ich habe leider kein richtiges Feeling für dieses Buch bekommen. Stellenweise hatte ich auch das Gefühl das mir was gefehlt hat, als hätte die Handlung einen Sprung gemacht.
Die Grundidee die sich hier hinter verbirgt scheint nicht schlecht zu sein, mir hat es was an der Umsetzung gefehlt.

Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,576 reviews260 followers
September 27, 2020
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hush (Hush #1) by Dylan Farrow was one of my highly anticipated releases for October. A good deal of that anticipation was directly related to Dylan Farrow's work and her family. I mean, her mother and brother are incredibly talented. Plus, the description for the novel was quite enticing. Overall, I had sky high expectations of this novel, but it never managed to live up to them. My main issue is that it feels way too formulaic and predictable. It's never surprising, the characters are somewhat one-note, the romance was dull, and the world the cast inhabit never comes alive off the page. In the end, it's not awful, but I wouldn't call it a solid read either which is disappointing because it has a lot of potential.
Profile Image for mads.
359 reviews346 followers
June 23, 2020
ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

This was such a solid first book! I was completely drawn in by the tagline: "How do you speak up in a world where propaganda is a twisted form of magic?" Then I realized who the author was and became even more interested in reading this. And it didn't disappoint!

Set in a world where language is a literal magic, that power is reserved for the Bards, who just so happen to also be mostly men. It's the kind of world where the power of truth is held in the hands of only those who have a stake in it, and those left in positions of vulnerability have no choice but to shut up and take it.

I really enjoyed this book for so many reasons. The main one was because of the message and the delivery thereof. On the first look, this novel can seem very formulaic and familiar. To an extent, it is. And yet, it was unique at the same time. Each moment had a purpose, and conveyed a message, even without the author ever stating it explicitly. This is a book that focuses on the power of our words, on the way those in power can completely change the narrative of history for as long as we let them. There were some sentences that just got me because of how timely they were. Moments when Shae, like so many people, steps back and has to question what she's willing to believe from the people she was taught were never wrong.

While this book wasn't without its flaws, I truly believe the talent of the author more than made up for it. And I can't wait to see where this story goes in the books that follow.

Dylan Farrow is an exceptional writer and I can't wait to read whatever else she writes in the future.
Profile Image for Cris Moon Books.
68 reviews333 followers
June 13, 2021
Una historia con una buena premisa, pero con algunos cabos sueltos.

El mundo que ha creado la autora me parece maravilloso, la idea de los relatos me parece que tiene muchísimo potencial, pero la forma en la que se ha desarrollado la historia no me ha convencido.

Los primeros 3/4 de la historia me han parecido muy lentos e introductorios, con demasiadas descripciones y muy poca acción, el último cuarto me ha parecido demasiado precipitado y predecible. Es como si la protagonista tardara en darse cuenta de las cosas muchísimo, mientras que tú como lectora ya lo ves venir desde hace mucho.

Esperaba que hubiera mucho más romance y salseo y la verdad es que en este primer libro apenas hay.

En resumen, es un libro cuya idea y crítica social me encanta, pero cuya ejecución me ha fallado.

Aún así seguiré leyendo la saga porque tengo esperanza en que el segundo me guste más.
Profile Image for Sheena ☆ Book Sheenanigans .
1,427 reviews343 followers
August 2, 2020

If you didn't read the blurb, in 'Hush" we follow seventeen-year-old Shae who wholeheartedly believes she's cursed after the death of her younger brother five years prior. Tragedy strikes again when her mother is found murdered with a golden dagger—a weapon used only by the Bards. She ventures out to seek the truth and after locating the Bards whereabouts, she later discovers the truth behind the murder was a lot closer to home then what she initially thought.

Overall, this was an impressive debut from a celebrity that I have seen in a long time. Their track record ahem hasn't been great *side-eyeing Evelyn Lozada and KUWTK trash crew 'works of art'* and this was surprisingly well written and more so up my alley. It almost had me shook.

The plot was satisfactory. It was predictable at times but it still kept me mildly entertained. The romance portion. Meh. It could've been better but then again my heart was set on Mads because I mean… Mads was the book boyfriend of all book boyfriends and I will fight anyone that says otherwise! He was so sweet, endearing and swoonworthy! Why oh why didn't Shea fall for him?! Why did she have to go fuck up a good thing?! I understand he doesn't have the typical leading hero looks but c'mon, Ravod was alright but he didn't stand a chance against Mads. Ugh. So disappointing. Anyway I digress…

Moving along to the MC—Shae, the lead heroine, wasn't very likable. Side characters were great but something about her just rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it was her rash behavior that led to the disruption of her friendships with Mads and Fiona. It's understandable that her mother's death was absolutely gut-wrenching especially after losing her father and brother years prior but her approach, behavior and actions were abrupt and too rash for my liking. Her problem was that she never thought things through (not the brightest as you can see) and nearly put her loved ones and their families lives at risk. And in all honestly I would have probably reacted the same way her childhood friends did and distance myself from her and her mother's murder.

So to sum it all up, Dylan Farrow's 'Hush' has promise and I can't wait to follow this story with the upcoming installment. And if you still unsure if this is right for you, keep in mind that this is ideal for readers who enjoy young adult fantasy, adventure, magic, and a bit of mystery all bundled into one. So if you're a fan of all of that, jump aboard, you won't regret it.

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