Veil is the second book in the Hush duology. It picks up right where Hush left off, with Shae and her companions fleeing an oppressive ruler, trying to make it to the apparently real land of Gondal that lies beyond their borders. With Bards hot on their heels and their resources growing thin, Shae, Fiona, Mads, and Kennan have to figure out who to trust and find a way to keep going, without the certainty that escape’s possible. Once they make it across the border, they realize reaching Gondal isn’t the solution to all their problems, and Shae struggles to find a way to achieve their goals without jeopardizing the family and friends they’ve left behind.
Title: Veil | Series: Hush Series | Publisher: Wednesday Books | Pub Date: 2022-04-26 | Pages: 400 | ISBN13/ASIN: 978-1250235930 | Genre: Young Adult Fantasy | Language: English | Source: NetGalley | Starred Review
Shae and her allies fight to free their people
Hush was a powerful book that resonated with me, and I’d been looking forward to Veil for a long time. It is a sequel, and I won’t fault the book for that. I do recommend re-reading Hush before starting Veil because there’s a lot going on, and a lot of characters to keep track of. This is complicated by the fact that a lot of the primary players are off the page initially in Veil, which can make it a little harder to reorient yourself. Still, readers know this is a sequel going in, and this reader knows her memory can get a little fuzzy, so I feel it’s on me if I don’t prepare before picking up a sequel.
And if you haven’t read Hush yet, then reading these books back to back is probably the best option.
Evaluating sequels can be tricky. Hush offered resolution, because Shae’s quest involved finding out who killed her mother. The goalposts change when she’s forced to flee for her life at the end of book 1, setting up the objectives for book 2. There were plenty of loose threads from Hush that were followed in Veil, and it offered a satisfying resolution to those plotlines. I enjoyed spending time with Shae and her friends, and I appreciated that trust continued to be a central focus in Veil.
In some ways, Gondal is a disappointment, because it looks and feels comparable to our world. Their magic isn’t magic at all; they don’t have the Telling, they have technology. And the refugees from Shae’s homeland live below the streets, barely tolerated, not integrated into society, with limited prospects for their future. They were idle until Shae’s group arrived, and a leader rose up and gave them purpose, and focus. There are some touching moments and some heartbreaking moments of regret and betrayal, leading to a satisfying resolution of Shae’s story. Veil isn’t quite as strong as Hush, but it’s still a good story and I read through it at a brisk pace and was invested in the characters and outcome. ⅘ stars.
This review first appeared at Leviathan Libraries.