The Hush, by Skye Melki-Wegner

The Hush, by Skye Melki-Wegner (Sky Pony Press, YA, June 2017), is a fascinating story set in a world much like our own in many ways, except that here, Music is power.  The Song can change reality, and make things magical.  But only the Songshapers, the licensed practitioners of Music, are allowed to tap into the power of the Song.  This poses a problem for a teenager named Chester, on the road looking for his missing father and earning a bit here and there by playing his fiddle.  To his dismay, Chester starts inadvertently reaching into the Song when he plays, and the punishment for this is death.

When Chester is captured, an unexpected group of rescuers save him.  They are the members of the infamous Nightfall Gang, who have been operating a Robin Hood-like enterprise to take from the rich and give to the poor.  But Susannah, their leader, and her colleagues have an even bigger heist in mind, and for that they will need Chester and his untrained ability to connect to the song.

Travelling through the Hush, an alternate reality shaped in dangerous ways by wild music, full of deadly echoes, Chester learns that the mission of the Nightfall Gang and his own search for his father are connected.  But can he control his music, and can Susannah lead them through the most dangerous mission she has ever attempted?

One detail at a time, the world slowly unfolds in a riveting adventure.  Gradually Chester gets to know his new companions, and learns why they too are determined to strike a blow against the power of the Songshapers.  All have been damaged in some way; foppish Travis searches for his sister, Dot searches for the girl she loved, Sam and Susannah seek for revenge against the Songshapers who wrecked their lives.  Chester must learn not only to use his music for the planned attack, but to trust this ragtag group of people with his life.

It's a deeply engrossing story, with tension building up beautifully in the days leading up to the grand heist.  My only complaint is that the encounter with a villain at the end was not as carefully executed as the buildup; an issue of a particular Song that all are supposed to sing every night, with withdrawal symptoms setting in if they don't, doesn't seem to apply, and the villain basically delivers the whole explanation of the entire set-up of the world and its magic in one big chunk at the end, which was rather abrupt.  Up until that point, I was thinking this was a five star book, but it dropped to four.

Still, it was vivid and memorable as all get out, and anyone whose intrigued by magical music with touches of steampunk should definitely seek it out!

If you want a second opinion, here's the starred Kirkus review.

disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher


  1. this sounds truly interesting...thx for the review!

  2. Thanks for the review. This one sounds pretty good.

  3. Sounds like an interesting premise. I'll have to check this out.

  4. Sounds super cool! And I'm excited that there's a queer girl in it, it sounds like? I have been feeling frustrated with how few queer girls there seem to be in YA. Adding to the list! <3


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