Written by Becca Fitzpatrick
Published October, 2010 by Simon & Schuster
Genres: Angels & Demons, Urban Fantasy
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Nora should have known her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described as anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away, and Nora can’t figure out if it’s for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar.
Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.
Though I enjoyed Crescendo more than I did Hush, Hush, a similar plot and a handful of unlikable characters made me just miss awarding it a higher star rating. Warning: Full review contains spoilers!
I have to get this off my chest; my main irk with this series is the main girl and narrator, Nora Grey. URGH! Without her, with a stronger character, this series would be so much more enjoyable. She constantly contradicts herself and makes stupid decisions that even a five-year old wouldn’t make. And could she stand up for herself any less? The scene at Enzo’s with Marcie and singing ‘Happy Birthday’ really grated on my nerves. I mean, who would give in to that and thought they’d come off better for it? Nora needs to grow a backbone, pronto! And why the hell did she think she was WELCOME at Marcie’s party after the two had knocked fists and faces at the club?
Which brings me to Patch. I really love him, but I don’t understand why, after so many millenia, he’s found the love of his ‘life’ in Nora? I was reading through some other reviews and couldn’t help but nod my head frantically like one of those dashboard doggies when someone else thought the exact same thing as me. Thank goodness I’m not alone! I know there are a lot of die-hard fans of this series, but if someone were to defend Nora as being a strong-willed and intelligent female character, I think I would have a little giggle.
There is also a lot of hate for Vee. I understand also why so many people dislike her, but for me she provides great comic relief and I love the things she says. She comes up with some incredibly stupid ideas, but Nora is also to blame for going along with her, which I think fuels Vee’s thoughts in thinking her ideas are actually good.
Speaking of stupid ideas, I could write a whole list. Need I mention the wig-wearing incident along with Nora giving up her favourite coat to a homeless lady just for some silly directions in Hush, Hush? Crescendo has the same shake-your-head scenes where Vee and Nora raid numerous bedrooms and even bring a couple of walkie-talkies along for the trip. How old are these girls? Nine? Really.
The story felt incredibly cluttered with things that could have been weeded out, along with unnecessary interactions and the whole heritage ordeal felt like the backbone already used in Hush, Hush, which disappointed me. If you were expecting a more mature and learned version of the characters, you’re also going to be disappointed. It feels as if they haven’t learned from their mistakes with Chauncey/Jules at all, though, this time we have a handful of suspicious characters that keep us off the trail for a while: Nora’s ghost father, Rixon, Scott, Hank and Marcie Millar.
I’ve just re-read my review so far and I admit it sounds like I’m bashing the book. That’s really not the case. I wouldn’t have finished it in one sitting if it didn’t interest me or provide me with an enjoyable escape. I was turning pages to figure out the mystery (although I suspected it was Rixon as soon as he painted Patch up to be The Black Hand). But, I wish Vee would find someone that liked her for her, and wasn’t just some evil-doer eager to find an easy way to Nora. It seems she is always the fallback for the baddies.
Becca Fitzpatrick has an amazing style of writing. I can really visualize her settings and hear the tone of her characters. I just wish she’d execute a few things a little better. She has such enormous potential that I think can reach far beyond Hush, Hush and Crescendo. Becca has the right ideas, the right imagination, the right amount of detail to create her own world. It’s not often I can say that about YA writers.
I won’t delve much into the ‘break-up’ between Patch and Nora. That whole part of the story just irritated me. Yes, Patch was hanging around Marcie Millar quite a lot, but surely Nora could’ve trusted him. I mean, he’s PATCH! The epitome of bad boy. He’s not going to open up like an encyclopedia all of a sudden. Nora’s internal struggle with sticking to her word really rubbed me the wrong way as well… I had the same problem in Firelight by Sophie Jordan. If you make up your mind to ‘dump’ or ‘stay away from’ someone, you stick to that decision. Yes, you can debate it a few times and be tempted back to the dark side, but to constantly question yourself and your own reasoning each chapter is a little too much. Make up your mind once and for all and be done with it!
My thoughts in a nutshell? Well, don’t expect much more in Crescendo than you did with Hush, Hush. The characters are all the same and they still have both their redeemable and irritating qualities. The plot will keep you reading and eager to finish, though it might leave you a little confused.
Becca Fitzpatrick’s series is definitely a guilty pleasure of mine. I will of course continue to read the series, albeit hoping distantly that Nora will finally grow up and grow a spine for the sake of all of us. Perhaps one day she’ll finally trust Patch despite her love for him and knock Marcie Millar flat on her face once and for all. Until then, I’m always going to have my little niggles.
Recommended to: Fans of Hush, Hush will find this a very enjoyable read. If you loved the first installment, you’re going to REALLY love Crescendo!