ARC Review: Hush (A Lakeview Novel) by Stacey R. Campbell

Pub. Date: January 23, 2013
Publisher: Green Darner Press
278 pages

Based on the synopsis, I was expecting a Princess Diaries-esque story of a girl finding out that she is royalty, with a darker twist. But, Hush is more of a Princess Anastasia murder story than Princess Mia’s rise to fame.

As far as Blakeley Henry knows there was nothing special about her adoption. British journalism student Max Ryder discovers otherwise. The daughter of a Tamuran Princess and a servant, Blakeley’s existence was kept a secret to avoid a major scandal. When the entire Tamuran Royal Family is killed in what we quickly learn was no accident, Blakeley is the only hope for the family to retain its throne. If Max can’t prove Blakeley’s true identity, convince her to claim her royal heritage, and keep her safe, then the Royal Family’s killers will reign.

I had quite a few issues with this novel. Stylistically my biggest issue was with the number of speakers. Some speakers narrated a single chapter, others multiple, but the overall effect was that the story came off as disjointed and inconsistent. I never felt I had a grasp or connection to any of the characters because we were jumped between speakers, continents and time periods every few pages. I also found the balance of the story to be somewhat uneven. It took a long time to get to the meat of the story. We
are given all of this information about the characters/places/times, but we don’t get into the story and the action until more than halfway through. Once you got to the action, instead of allowing the reader to experience the story first hand, we were constantly told what was going to happen. The old ‘show, don’t tell’ writing lesson, for me, needed to be used more. The balance in terms of how much treatment major vs. smaller events received, was also out off. Some of the small details had a large amount of time spent on them, whereas some of the major – and I mean major – events in the story were rushed, or completely glossed over.

Story-wise, I found the idea that an unknown teenage boy would be given the responsibility of investigating a potentially huge political figure’s paternity to be completely unbelievable. Entirely unrelated, but even more unbelievable, was the prevalence of slut talk. Blakeley and her friends consistently called each other sluts as what can only be described as a term of endearment. The fact that the girls were described as mature and smart was completely debased by such immature and gross talk. The slut calling just plain bothered me and it completely affected my ability to relate to, and connect with, the characters.

The concept of the novel put a new spin on a Princess/Cinderella story.  But, I personally felt the novel needed some major editing.  With fewer speakers, and more time devoted to major story events, the reader may have a chance to actually feel a connection with the characters. There’s no fix for slut talk, It just straight up had to go.

Rating 3/10

** I received a copy of the novel from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was in no way compensated. 

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