Simon and Schuster 2010
Crescendo is the follow up to Hush, Hush. If you haven't read Hush, Hush then this review may contain spoilers.
I read Hush, Hush shortly before I started blogging and wasn't particularly impressed. To be honest, I was too busy being creeped out by love interest, Patch and aghast at the fact that sensible Nora still wanted to be with him despite his stalker-ish tenancies (this guy makes Edward Cullen look like the tooth fairy when it comes to inappropriate behaviour). Now, I'm not going to admit to a complete turn around but having re-read Hush, Hush and moved on to Crescendo I can see that I may have missed the point. MAY, I said – I remain not entirely convinced...
Crescendo picks up two months after the events of Hush, Hush and Nora and Patch seem to have spent these two months...er....snogging and such like. Despite the disapproval of both her mother and her best friend, Vee, Nora has pursued her rather ill-advised relationship with Patch who, to be fair, is now a guardian angel rather than a fallen one and more charmingly devil-may-care than bad-to-the-bone. However, all is not rosy in the garden of good and evil. Patch is still pretty mysterious, refusing to let Nora visit him at home (which, to be honest, later becomes entirely understandable – he really needs to make a date with Ty Pennington) and Nora is aware that their relationship may not be the best thing for her. Add to this the arrival of bad boy number two – Scott – and rumours of rumblings between fallen angels and Nephilim, not to mention Patch's boss's giving him a hard time and you've got the makings of a pretty good story.
I warmed to Nora in Crescendo. She's a potentially sensible girl, really, although she does sometimes make rather rash decisions when it comes to her safety and puts Bella to shame in her ability to ignore scary hallucinations. Regardless, it's hard to dislike her. She clearly adores Patch but is able to think rationally enough about their relationship to take a step back. However, this doesn't stop her from getting spitty jealous when she thinks he might be looking for companionship elsewhere and her teen-bitch-fight side is both hilarious and believable. Her main downfall is that she really doesn't listen to her intuition. Intuition says stay away from Scott? Nora's off to investigate his past. Gut feeling that Patch might be trying to tell her something important? Nora sticks her fingers in her ears and shouts la la la.
Patch is much improved in Crescendo. Still as infuriatingly mysterious as before he at least is a lot less creepy. In fact, I rather liked him. Maybe because in Crescendo we get to see a little bit more of his feelings. I know, I'm such a girl. Really, he does seem to be trying hard with Nora – just doing it all a bit shiftily which doesn't work out for him so well. I can only assume it is centuries of bad habit. While I'm on the subject of Patch – what is with his name? It makes him sound like a raggedy pirate doll. Ooo-aargh, Patch – Ooo. Aaargh! If I were Nora I'd forget all the questions that she has about heavenly/earthly conflict and get right on with pestering him about his real name. Just saying.
Other characters round out the story nicely with Vee being an absolute standout. She really is a pretty excellent (if slightly annoying) best friend and I particularly appreciate her love of doughnuts. Scott gets more interesting as the story progresses and I would like to think that he might turn up again in the future – he's certainly one of the more ambiguous characters and I was never sure if he was entirely good or bad. The plot was interesting, getting deeper into the mythology first introduced in Hush, Hush. However, towards the end I did start to get a bit confused what with Black Hands and bad guys gone good and good guys gone bad and Patch getting mushy – it all kind of threw me for a loop. Hopefully all will become clear in book three, which I surprise myself by being quite keen to read.
So, where did I possibly miss the point in Hush, Hush? Perhaps in reading it the wrong way. I felt strongly that it, much like Twilight, gave out some seriously dubious messages on what was and was not acceptable or attractive in a prospective boyfriend (him not looking for someone “vulnerable” being a good start). However, on looking at the story and the character development again I've decided to read Hush, Hush not as a love story but as a frightening tale of a girl drawn inexplicably to all that she knows is wrong or dangerous. By placing it in the horror genre, Hush, Hush becomes far more acceptable. By the end of the story, Patch has redeemed himself and during Crescendo Nora is a lot more able to resist not only his darker side but that of the various factions around her. In fact, she's a heroine worth reading and I am looking forward to spending more time with both her and her not-so-much-creepy-as-bad-at-expressing-himself love interest in the future.
Thank you to UK Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this title to read and review.