Crescendo, by Becca Fitzpatrick

I thought I had said goodbye to Patch the abusive dark angel but it looks like he’s cropped up again as the main player opposite lovesick Nora in this sequel to the bestselling Hush, Hush (released 2009).

Crescendo is much darker than its frothy predecessor, forcing Nora to face her relationship fears not only with the elusive and seemingly unreliable Patch, but also with the mystery of her father’s death. Once again though, I was baffled by Nora’s incredibly dim-wittedness when things were staring her right in the face. As I am sure I have repeatedly mentioned on this blog, the fashion of having damsel-in-distress female protagonists in YA novels really gets my goat. Nora is perhaps even more infuriating than the first time round, impulsive to the point of utter stupidity and an obsession with Patch which makes you wonder whether she’ll learn anything about love by the end of Book 3. If there’s anything positive I can say about her character this time around though, it’s that Nora’s stupid impulses do lend her a certain ‘girl power’ attitude, even if it’s a bit of a facade considering that the girl can’t help herself when it comes to one mysterious dark angel in particular.

Speaking of said dark angel, Patch is not as present in Crescendo, as the shift focuses to Nora’s inner turmoil. Whilst I was happy to be free of the pages of Patch playing hard to get and then coming on too strong, I have to admit that at times I missed the guy. If I could give the author a bit of advice about his character it would at least be to keep the reader’s interest in him going by having Patch more present in the book!

I can’t help but compare the Hush, Hush series to Lauren Kate’s Fallen and Torment, and rightly so, I believe. They both have dark angel love interests, they’re both aimed at the same target audience and the side arc of Nora’s nephilim bloodline only seals the deal. I find that I’m more drawn to Kate’s writing, and I feel as if the heroine in her series is a little more balanced (though only slightly less infuriating). No doubt Crescendo will be a popular book for Hush, Hush enthusiasts…I just feel that there is plenty of improvement to be made on the main protagonists’ personalities, if the reader is expected to relate to the characters as well as the love story.

Angels in YA Literature (Part 1)

In continuing with my angel and devil-themed posts, I wanted to take a closer look at Young Adult literature, which has recently heralded a host of books on dark or “fallen” angels, in particular.

These are no mere cherubs – they’re winged beings with a dangerous edge. The male lead in current YA angel novels still tend to be Edward Cullen-esque, with their possessiveness and their secretive nature, but lately, things have been getting a wee bit darker.

Hush Hush, by Becca Fitzpatrick (released 2009) has Patch, a fallen angel who is Bad News. Yet Nora Grey, our requisite damsel-in-distress protagonist, can’t stay away from him. When this book was first released, bloggers were split clean down the middle. On one side, YA romantics loved the forbidden love and compared the book favourably to Twilight, calling it “thrilling” and “seductive”. On the other side were YA bloggers who were disturbed by the physical interaction between Patch and Nora, considering Patch’s actions to be less seductive and more ‘abusive’. What example is it setting for young adults, to have a protagonist drawn to a bad boy who slams her against a bench, when she has a sinking feeling that he wants to kill her and yet still yearns to trust him?
I’ve read the book, and find myself somewhere in the middle: yes, there are a couple of questionable scenes in the novel, but I figure most girls are smart enough to draw a crooked (okay, sometimes very crooked) line between fantasy and reality, and can enjoy Hush, Hush for what it is: a forbidden romance between a paranormal guy and a human girl, testing the boundaries of hormonal attraction.

I must say, though, I prefer the idea behind Lauren Kate’s Fallen, released just after Hush, Hush. In Fallen, Lucinda falls in love with Daniel, a guy at her new school. Life gets a little more difficult for Lucinda after she finds out Daniel is actually a fallen angel, and that they’ve had a history (ie. many previous lives) where they’ve fallen in love and lost each other each time, thanks to good and evil forces trying to keep them apart. What I like about this scenario is that Lucinda isn’t a passive character – she has responsibility from the experience of her previous lives, and she plays a more active role in attempting to combat fate and the forces, rather than be prone to them. There’re some nice mythology references as well.

Having a dark and tortured celestial being for a boyfriend is a pretty seductive scenario to me – no wonder these kinds of books are so popular. But what I’m really looking forward to is the YA novel where the FEMALE is the fallen angel and the male is the human – would put quite a spin on things, no?

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Angels in YA Literature, which focuses on angels existing in a world populated with other sorts of paranormal beings.