Review: Hush / Author: James Maxey / Publisher: Solaris / Release Date: Out Now
There is a growing trend for fantasy novels to be grim, gritty and filled with knights who swear and monsters so evil that they take all the joy out of being scary and are simply nasty. Luckily, Hush isn’t one of those books; it’s a fun, well-thought out fantasy romp which is packed with clever one-liners and plenty of action.
Maxey proves that fantasy doesn’t have to be po-faced and serious in order to be fun, whilst at the same time tells a story with depth and emotion. It’s written in a quick, easy flowing style which makes it effortless to read and because the tale feels likes a fantasy adventure action movie, you’ll find that hours have passed and the book is finished before you know it.
The plot is the usual high-fantasy fare; powerful dragons, beautiful warrior maidens, magical hammers, flying whales, cross-dressing dwarves, ghosts, golems, frozen northern wastelands and the end of the world as we know it. All the sorts of things we demand from a book like this. It’s unlikely to win overly serious literary awards or get its own HBO TV series; it is what it is and I like that just fine.
Hush is the sort of book that fans of games like World of Warcraft or Dungeons and Dragons deserve; intelligent fantasy that doesn’t waste it’s time trying to prove how smart it is. It isn’t for everyone, and it’s hardly original, but as the winter draws near it’s a welcome distraction. It feeds the reader with plenty of fuel for the imagination whilst delivering on its promise of action and fun. Be warned that it’s the sort of book that embraces (and then subverts) plenty of fantasy clichés; if you’re looking to be easily offended then stay away; Maxey pulls no punches with the cheesiness of the setting. This isn’t a parody (though it comes close on occasion), it’s an exceptionally well done example of its genre, and a breath of fresh air for anyone sick of swords and sorcery stories covered in mud, blood and misery.