Fair warning: This review contains mild to moderate spoilers for the previous book in the series, “Greatshadow.”
“Hush” is the second book in the ridiculously good — as in it’s so ridiculous it’s good — “Dragon Apocalypse” series by James Maxey. As before, it focuses on the daredevil fugitive Infidel but is told from the perspective of Stagger, a witty old drunk who loved her in life and haunts her in death.
The book begins immediately where the last left off, with Infidel and her one remaining companion, the shapeshifter Menagerie, returning from the hunt for Greatshadow, the primal dragon of fire. To keep a promise to the ice ogress Aurora, Infidel travels north to return a magical artifact to Aurora’s people.
However, along the way, she learns that Greatshadow wasn’t the only primal dragon on the Church of the Book’s hit list. They seek to annihilate all of dragonkind, and to that end, they have formed a conspiracy with an ancient witch’s spirit and Hush, the primal dragon of ice, to murder Glorious, the primal dragon of the sun. This threatens to plunge the whole world into an eternal winter night, and of course, it’s up to Infidel and her ragtag companions to stop that from happening.
As before, it’s an incredibly fast-paced and action-packed book that never gives the reader a chance to catch their breath. I devoured the first one hundred pages within half a day.
It’s also as comical and off-the-walls as its predecessor. The first line of the book sums up its tone very well:
“A princess, a shape-shifter, and a ghost walked into a bar.”
That said, I didn’t find “Hush” quite as delightful as “Greatshadow.” I think that comes down to character. “Greatshadow” had one of the most colourful and original casts in history, but for the most part, only Infidel and Stagger make the translation from one book to the next.
Maxey does bring in some new characters to liven things up — including a bitter young witch who gains magical power by hammering nails into her own brain and a super-powered family of seafarers. But they just can’t compare to a lesbian ice ogre priestess, a somnomancer and his living wet dream, the Deceiver and the Truthspeaker and their ability to edit reality, and the Three Goons.
But to be fair, it’s still a wonderfully unique read. And honestly, the second book of a series is almost always the least interesting, no matter who writes it. “Genesis of Shannara” is one of my favourite trilogies, but even I almost fell asleep during some parts of “The Elves of Cintra.”
Overall rating: 8.9/10 Not quite as fun as the last book, but I still say you’d be a fool not to read it.
I’m just going to stop declaring articles to be the last one of mine Weird Worm will post. They’re obviously not posting them in the order I wrote them, so all bets are off at this point.