TITLE: Crescendo (Hush, Hush #2)
AUTHOR: Becca Fitzpatrick
GENRE: Fiction, YA, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
PUBLISHED: October 19th 2010
Warning This Review Contains Spoilers
After I finished Hush, Hush (Book one), I admit I was curious as to where else the story could go, as it seemed pretty finished to me. However, in Crescendo Fitzpatrick manages to come through with an original and interesting plot with a twist I never would have imagined. Unlike Hush, Hush, Crescendo keeps an even pace of events throughout leaving no spaces for the reader to get bored.
The Plot: Now that Patch has his wings back, every fallen angel knows the rumors are true. There’s a way for them to become human. Someone wants to pick up where Patch left off. Rixon is Patch’s best friend, he was Patch’s co-conspirator, until he decided to give everything up for Nora and ended up getting his wings back. Now Rixon is on a lonely road trip on the highway to Hell. But Rixon has his own plans and Nora is still not safe. Nora is descended from two Nephilim lines and even though Chauncey is dead it’s not over, she still has one Nephilim ancestor left her real Father, Hank Miller Marcie’s dad.
Crescendo picks up where Hush, Hush left off with Nora and Patch in relationship bliss, but that won’t last long. Nora loves Patch, but she begins to hold his flaws against him resenting the fact that he’s not able to feel for her what she does for him. Every kiss, every caress she knows Patch doesn’t feel it, is he faking his feelings for her?
“Just tell me what you’re thinking!” I blurted. “Spit it out! It’s bad enough that I have no idea what you’re feeling, let alone what you’re thinking!”
“When we kiss, are you faking it?” He stopped short. Another disbelieving shake of his head. “Faking it?” “When I touch you, do you feel anything? How far does your desire go? Do you feel anything close to what I feel for you?”
“I needed him to feel the thrilling and undeniable magnetic field pulling every molecule in his body toward mine. Just like I did.”
Patch doesn’t really understand Nora, because he doesn’t understand human emotion – although he thinks he does. All he knows is he wants her, feels strongly for her. His inability to connect with Nora emotionally causes problems in their relationship.
“I’m not telling you, because what I was doing at Marcie’s has nothing to do with us.” How could he think this didn’t have anything to do with us? Marcie was the one person who took every opportunity to attack and belittle me. Over the past eleven years, she’d teased me, spread horrible rumors about me, and humiliated me publicly. How could he think this wasn’t personal? How could he think I’d just accept this, no questions asked? Above all, couldn’t he see I was terrified that Marcie would use him to hurt me? If she suspected he was even remotely interested, she’d do everything in her power to steal him for herself. I couldn’t stand the thought of losing Patch, but it would kill me if I lost him to her.”
“Call me when you’re ready to talk rationally.” “What’s that supposed to mean?” “It means you’re crazy. You’re impossible.”
Patch & Nora’s problems are compounded when Patch finds out the Archangels have it out for him. One wrong move and they’ll have Patch on the Hell Train Express. When Nora finds out she feels guilty; she loves Patch and doesn’t want to be the reason he’s sent to eternal torment in Hell. So she breaks it off.
“This is about how I feel about you. I have to hold back. I’m walking a dangerous line. Falling in love is what got me in trouble in the first place. I can’t be with you the way I want. “
“If I give the archangels cause to think I’m even remotely in love with you, they’ll send me to hell. Forever. The news hit me like a blow to the stomach.”
“I want out,” I said quietly. I knew I wasn’t being fair—I was protecting myself. What other option did I have? I couldn’t give Patch a chance to talk me out of it. I had to do what was best for both of us.
Patch, ever the Anti-Hero you know…..the character we hate to love, hooks up with Marcie Miller, Nora’s arch-nemesis. Marcie is the character you love to hate. She’s rude, obnoxious, mean, self-centered you know a real *****. She’s had a serious grudge against Nora for years, torments Nora every chance she gets. Nora has no idea why.
“Marcie’s expression cooled. “I’m surprised your dad doesn’t mind you’re here. Oh, wait. That’s right. He’s dead.” My initial reaction was shock. My second was indignation at her cruelty. A knot of anger swelled in my throat. “What?” she argued with a one-shoulder shrug. “He’s dead. It’s a fact. Do you want me to lie about the facts?” “What did I ever do to you?” “You were born.”
Even under the low-watt bulb, I could tell my eyes were red and glassy. I wet a paper towel and pressed it to my eyes. What was Marcie’s problem? What had I ever done to her that was cruel enough to deserve this?”
“What started the war between the two of you?” “That’s the thing. I don’t even know. It used to be over who got the last chocolate milk in the lunch crate. Then one day in junior high, Marcie marched into school and spray-painted ‘whore’ on my locker. She didn’t even try to be sneaky about it. The whole school was looking on.” “She went postal just like that? No reason?” “Yup.” No reason I was aware of, anyway. He tucked one of my curls behind my ear. “Who’s winning the war?” “Marcie, but not by much.”
But there more to Marcie than Nora knows. Marcie’s been holding on to a secret for a very long time bearing the burden all alone. And the startling revelation will cut Nora to the bone, and she will question all she’s ever known.
“They were sleeping together. All these years they’ve been doing it. Which means my dad could be your dad. And you could be my— sister.” Marcie’s words dropped like a blade between us.”
Nora tries to get back at Patch, and make him jealous. Make him feel the way she feels when she sees him with Marcie; she starts hanging out with Scott Parnell an old childhood friend who has recently moved back to town. Scott is a troubled kid and, unknown to Nora is a First Generation Nephilim – and he’s running from something. Hanging with Scott puts Nora in Danger several times but she refuses to heed Patch’s warnings.
“Patch dropped his gaze to the ground and pinched the bridge of his nose. I could tell he was summoning patience from deep within. “Scott’s Nephilim. A first-generation purebred. Just like Chauncey was.” I blinked. It was true, then. “Thanks for the info, but I already suspected.” He made a disgusted gesture. “Quit with the bravery act. He’s Nephilim.” “Every Nephil isn’t Chauncey Langeais,” I said testily. “Every Nephil isn’t evil.”
“I slid my hands up Scott’s chest and laced them behind his neck. He took the cue and pulled me in tighter, tracing his hands down the contour of my spine. So this was what it felt like to kiss someone else. While Patch was slow and practiced and took his time, Scott was playfully eager and a little sloppy. It was completely different and new … and not altogether bad. “My room,” Scott whispered in my ear, lacing his fingers between mine and pulling me toward the hall. I flicked my gaze to where I’d last seen Patch. Our eyes met. His hand was stiff, cupped at the back of his neck, as if he’d been lost in deep thought and had frozen at the sight of me kissing Scott. This is what it feels like, I thought at him.”
In the end Scott isn’t the real threat, he’s a scared kid in way over his head.
“One night on my way home from work, I was jumped from behind, dragged into a warehouse, and tied to a folding table. It was too dark to see the guy, but I figured the manager had sent him. I told him I’d pay him whatever he wanted if he’d let me go, but he laughed and said he wasn’t after my money—in fact, he’d already settled my debts. Before I could figure out if it was his idea of a joke, he said he was the Black Hand, and the last thing he needed was more money. “He had a Zippo, and he held the flame against the ring on his left hand, heating it. I was sweating bullets. I told him I’d do whatever he wanted—just get me off the table. He ripped open my shirt and ground the ring into my chest. My skin was on fire, and I was yelling at the top of my lungs. He snapped my finger, broke the bone, and told me if I didn’t shut up, he’d move down the line until he broke all ten. He told me he’d given me his mark.” Scott’s voice had dropped to a rasp. “I wet my pants. Right there on the table. He scared the hell out of me. I’ll do whatever it takes to never see him again. That’s why we moved back to Coldwater. I’d stopped going to school and was hiding out at the gym all day, bulking up in case he came looking for me. If he found me, this time I was going to be ready.” Cutting off there, he wiped his nose with the back of his hand.”
Acting the innocent, dutiful best friend to Patch and boyfriend to Nora’s best friend Vie, Rixon is the real threat; he has been patiently biding his time. He’s got almost everyone fooled. He’s been leaving Nora clues about her father’s murder. Pointing all the evidence toward Patch driving them further apart.
“I resent that look,” Vee said. “Rixon happens to be a really decent guy.”
She stopped when I pulled out the paper. Scrawled in black Sharpie was a note: THIS RING BELONGS TO THE BLACK HAND. HE KILLED YOUR DAD.”
“Patch told you he won the Jeep. Rixon has a different story”
“Have you ever heard of the Black Hand?” Rixon flinched. He studied me in silence a moment before his face blazed with amusement. “Is this a joke? I haven’t heard that name in a long time. I thought Patch didn’t like to be called it. Did he tell you about it, then?”
“I know you’re the Black Hand.” I shut my eyes briefly, feeling my whole body sway under a wave of nausea. He looked over his shoulder. “Who told you that?” “Then it’s true?” I realized my hands were balled into fists at my sides, shaking violently. “You’re the Black Hand.” I watched his face, praying he’d somehow refute it.”
When Nora finally realizes what’s going on with a little help from the Angel’s and her father. It’s nearly too late. Rixon plans to pick up where Patch left off he’ll sacrifice her and become human. Rixon had been looking for Nora along time it seems just Nora’s bad luck to be the female descendant of two Nephilim Vassals.
“An angel of death helped me come here to see you. She’s holding time still for us, Nora. She’s helping me speak to your mind. There’s something important I need to tell you, but I don’t have much time”
“Touch Rixon’s scars. The truth is there.”
“You killed him,” I whispered. “It was you. You were wearing Patch’s hat.” The shock of the moment was quickly being eaten up by abhorrence and ice-cold fear. “You killed my dad.” Any trace of kindness or sympathy vanished from Rixon’s eyes. “Well, this is awkward.”
“He isn’t the one on the fast track to hell. We were in this together, and now he’s gone and gotten himself his wings back.” His eyes raked over me in disgust. “Because of you.” I shook my head, not buying it. “You killed my dad before you even knew who I was.” He laughed, but it lacked humor. “I knew you were out there somewhere, and I was looking for you.” “Why?”
“Your dad is a Nephil named Barnabas,” Rixon said. “More recently, he goes by Hank Millar.”
“Hank Millar—was Nephilim. And he was my father.”
Patch manages to figure out Rixon’s plan in the nick of time, and once again saves Nora’s life. He also comes to terms with his feelings for Nora and decides being with her is what’s most important to him. But a war is brewing between Fallen Angels and the Nephilim and Nora will be caught in the middle. After secrets are revealed and revelations made its clear, Nora’s not out the woods yet.
“The Nephilim race is already seeking revenge on angels. Maybe this is only the beginning.”
“Mr. Millar,” I whispered. I couldn’t think of anything else to call him. Hank seemed too informal; Dad seemed revoltingly intimate. “Let me introduce myself properly,” he said. “I’m the Black Hand. I knew your father Harrison well. I’m glad he’s not here now to see you debasing yourself with one of the devil’s brood.” He wagged his head. “You’re not the girl I thought you’d grow up to be, Nora. Fraternizing with the enemy, making a mockery of your heritage. I believe you even blew up one of my Nephilim safe houses last night. But no matter. I can forgive that.” He paused with significance. “Tell me, Nora. Was it you who killed my dear friend Chauncey Langeais?”
When I reviewed book one here, I promised to let you know if the series would hold up to my “second book rule” and I say 50/50. Crescendo’s story is a significant improvement from Hush, Hush with an evenly paced well-developed storyline, plot and conclusion, and it’s an excellent book for its target audience, YA readers. I would not recommend this book for adult readers.