Today is the first real day of winter break, and for some ungodly reason I was up and at ’em with my alarm at 9am. So, here I sit at Starbucks ready to edit a chapter or two of Vessels and, of course, bring you a long overdue book review!
Also, I just want to note how wonderful it felt to wake up, acknowledge my sudden sense of free time, and immediately want to work on my original fiction. All this time away has worried me. I thought that I might abandon my fiction for more leisurely pursuits (read, video games). But here I am, thrilled to be working on something of my own again!
Anyway, we’re here to discuss Silence, the third book in the Hush, Hush Saga by Becca Fitzpatrick. Prepare yourselves for spoiling.
So, this book is a lot different than the previous two, and almost feels like starting the series over. I still haven’t decided if that’s a good thing or not.
Basically, Nora was kidnapped by Hank, her biological father, and badass Nephilim supreme known as The Black Hand. What actually happens to her during her three months in his care is never really explained. We know she was subjected to a lot of sensory deprivation, and used as collateral against Patch. But, whatever hardships she faced are effectively erased by Hank upon her release in the fall. He literally wipes her memory clean of the last five months, meaning she has no memory of Patch, or any of their misadventures over the course of the last two books.
So, this book picks up with Nora grasping at fleeting memories, and trying to fit the few pieces she has back together.
Her new life features Hank dating her mother, and generally being creepy. Scott makes a reappearance which was a relief. He adds humor and some limited sensibility. He’s still a bit rash, and in this book Nora doesn’t need that kind of impulsiveness. But she gets it. She and Scott are desperate to find The Black Hand and bring him to some sort of justice, which makes no freaking sense, but whatever.
All the while Patch, going by his given name Jev, is working behind the scenes (AGAIN) to keep Nora safe. Also, he’s working for Hank, as part of the bargain they struck to release Nora. Basically, Hank is plotting a Nephilim revolution, and Patch is a spy among the Fallen Angels. All of this is of course happening off screen. Of course.
Here’s where I think Becca Fitzpatrick really screwed the pooch.
You see, there are really complex and compelling political tensions happening all over this series. The Fallen Angels, struck from Heaven, are devoid of physical sensation. They don’t feel pain, but they don’t taste or feel warmth, or enjoy the touch of another. Pretty terrible considering they’re damned to walk the earth for all eternity. But, every year, during the two weeks of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan, they can possess the body of a Nephilim and basically live it up. They can feel any and everything, and have a tendency to get inventive with their two weeks.
Needless to say, the Nephilim don’t really like Cheshvan. During their possession they are completely aware, but basically locked away in their own minds, watching and feeling everything along with their Fallen Angel body-snatcher. Also, they are hunted on their sixteenth birthdays, when they have… I guess, matured, and are able to swear fealty to a Fallen Angel.
So, basically, Nephilim are hunted and then persuaded (read, tortured) to swear fealty to a Fallen Angel, which is basically the Angel calling dibs on that Nephilim for the rest of time.
All the while, the Archangels and the other angels still in Heaven are keeping a close eye, but don’t really care one way or the other. In fact, they seem to think the Fallen Angels have a right to the Nephilim, since Nephilim are the offspring of Fallen Angels.
Oh right, forgot that bit. Nephilim are basically abominations. Fallen Angels that slept with humans created Nephilim, which was never intended to happen. The Nephilim bloodline can then descend through into people like Nora. She has strong Nephilim blood, but isn’t actually Nephilim.
Anyway, all of this is far more interesting than Nora’s struggles, in my opinion, and yet provides a vague background to the series, instead being the focal point.
Back to the review.
So, Nora slowly but surely puts the pieces back together. Except for one gaping blank spot. Patch. She’s heard the name, and from the way her mind jolts and her body reacts (ew?) she knows he’s important. And of course, there’s the mysterious Jev who keeps swooping in and out of her life, helping and scolding her in turns. And of course, she’s inexplicably drawn to him.
Honestly, Nora’s kind of dense.
About halfway through she finally gets it all figured out, mainly because Patch helps her by showing her his memories of the months she was gone. The experience acts as a sort of key to the locked part of her mind, and everything comes back to her.
Then they devise a plan to take Hank out. Do you see the problem here? Over half of the book was Nora reconciling her past. Over 800 words of this review were spent explaining that over half of the book was a really laborious and kind of boring rehashing of the past two books. The actual plot and meat of the book happens in the last 200ish pages, and a lot of it doesn’t make sense.
So, Patch has a plan, and tells Nora to stay put. Of course, Nora can’t stay put, she has to help Scott. Which, ok, I like the guy, so she did good. Oh, except the bit where they both get captured by Hank’s Nephilim Army.
So now Hank has Nora and Scott, and Hank coerces Nora to swear a “Changeover Vow” and an oath to lead his army in the event of his death. This means that Nora has become pure blood Nephilim (it doesn’t really make sense, but whatever) and is now committed to Hank’s cause, otherwise she and her mother will die.
She leaves, confused and shocked, returning to Patch’s place after taking her mother home, where he consoles her. Then he reveals that he has caught Hank and has him in what is more or less a dungeon. Why Patch has an underground dungeon attached to his swanky underground studio apartment, no one thinks to ask.
Patch, ever doting and faithful, has kept his bargain with Nora. He hasn’t hurt Hank, but he has negotiated with the Archangels, who have rendered Hank mortal until sunrise. Terms of the agreement? Nora call off the Nephilim Rebellion. But, Nora decides not to kill Hank, and to instead leave him to rot in Patch’s dungeon for all eternity.
Great plan, it leaves the Nephilim without a leader, and will free her and her mother.
Except, through devilcraft (which is never fully explained), Hank attempts to burn Patch’s feather, which would condemn the Fallen Angel to Hell. So, mid-make out session, which was weird because Hank was right there, Nora sees this and basically caps his ass.
End of book. Seriously. They briefly talk about the ramifications, and then continue making out.
Basically, this book is a harried retelling of the first two books, with a ton of convenient plot developments that are never fully explained. Things like Devilcraft, and the Changeover Vow are crucial to the plot of the entire series, but I have no idea what they really are, and had no further information than that they simply exist and are being used.
I had hoped that the next book would offer answers, but instead it’s a bunch of teenage melodrama, with some awesome stuff happening in the background.
I should have Finale finished in the next few days, so keep an eye out for another frustrated review!
See you soon, Blogland!