The 100 Books Project: Hush Money.

“‘I kept waiting to believe it was just something the two of them were doing, and you didn’t know about it.Isn’t it funny how stupid I am? Isn’t it funny how I kept thinking how weird it was that you were talking to me, but kept telling myself to give you the benefit of the doubt, because you’re such a nice guy? Why would I do that?’
‘Because I am a nice guy!’
‘You’re a fucking extortionist.’
‘Joss, that’s a bad word,’ Jill piped up.
‘Shut up,’ she snapped back.”

“Talent Chronicles #1: Hush Money” by Susan Bischoff

The world of Susan Bischoff’s Talent Chronicles is very similar to that of our own, with the exception of one big detail…Talents. Many people, especially young people of the current generation, are discovering supernatural or powerful abilities that have been deemed potentially dangerous by the government. Should a Talent surface, that individual is very swiftly swept away to a State School by the National Institute of Ability Control (charmingly abbreviated to the not at all intimidating NIAC) for only God knows what, since, once someone’s taken in by the NIAC, that’s about all you ever hear from them again. Naturally, it becomes important for people to hide these Talents, knowing that using them could cause them to get caught or inspire others to use the knowledge of their Talent as blackmail.

Joss Marshall is one such talent, who has been raised to go to extraordinary lengths to hide the fact that she is a Talent, especially after a tragedy from when she was younger has shaken her to her core. It turns out, however, that Joss might not be alone in her abilities, but she certainly is alone in her caution. With a power-hungry bully threatening and terrorizing everyone with the knowledge of their secrets, how can Joss manage to save those she cares about from his tyranny…and still manage to save herself, as well?

Written in the dual perspectives of Joss and another Talent with a crush on her, Dylan, Hush Money is the first book in a series by Susan Bischoff about these powerful teenagers and their struggle with just trying to be, despite these extraordinary abilities. And I loved it. There’s a very strong X-Men vibe, which is pretty much unavoidable with the subject matter, and not a bad thing, since I love X-Men, too. I feel Bischoff does very well to give The Talent Chronicles her own voice, though, and I really enjoyed Joss as a narrator right from the get-go. She’s not a typical heroine in that she would actually much rather be left to her own devices and not get involved, and Bischoff sticks to that throughout the book, which I found incredibly refreshing. I was immediately drawn into the story; Bischoff has a great talent herself for drawing up the voices of her teen protagonists and the world they live in, though I felt it weakened toward the end. I felt that, from first big climatic event about half-way through the book, things started moving too fast and the attention to detail and the engrossing manner in which she handled her characters started to slip with the action. I started to feel disconnected with everything that was happening, and that we were needlessly racing quickly toward a conclusion.

That was my main thing with this book: I was surprised at how quickly it seemed to end. The first few chapters gave the reader a lot of time to immerse herself in this world, put herself in Joss’s shoes, in Dylan’s, but the rest happened so quickly and I felt a little unfulfilled by the ending. Luckily, there’s another book in the series (with the awesome title of Heroes ‘Til Curfew), so that should help give me my fix, but I’m still reeling a little, wishing that what had happened hadn’t happened to quickly.

And this is totally a side note, but I think Hush Money has one of the most gorgeous covers I’ve ever had the pleasure to look at. Every time I opened it, I admired it immensely. I love having it on my Kindle shelf.

Books read: 8/100.

And, of course, concluding our post today, I have two shout-outs to give to my newest followers, Gillian Colbert and freshinkadmin! Thank you so much for subscribing to the blog!

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