Hush: An Irish Princess’ Tale by Donna Jo Napoli

Rating: 7 out of 10
Summary: Melkorka is a princess, the first daughter of a magnificent kingdom in mediƦval 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 matter how little, can make a difference.

My Thoughts: Many might glance at the title, see “Princess” and immediately think happy fluffy cloud thoughts.

I”m not sure whether this novel is classified as YA, but there is mature content as Melkorka, our protagonist, is forced into the world of slavery. The style is very sparse and gritty, and Napoli does not spare the readers the darker details of life. There are open wounds and violent sexual assault, but all serve to highlight the cruelties of human slavery.

Melkorka was a very interesting heroine. I didn’t feel a very strong connection to her, but I admired her and her fortitude. Very beautiful and gloomy story. It’s based on true happenings, and the ending sort of depressed me, but it was very well written all the same.

The connection to mythology was great, I’m glad the author wove in the variation on the traditional enchantress/shapechanger tale.

I think this might actually be the first Napoli book I’ve read, and I wasn’t disappointed. Hush is very different from your traditional “princess” tale.

It’s very… hm, magnetic. That’s the best word I can think of to describe it.