ARC Mini Review – Veil

Hello, everyone! Today I’m reviewing the second book of the Hush duology, Veil by Dylan Farrow. I wasn’t super impressed with the first book, but I agreed to review this ARC due to its really cool premise before realizing it was a sequel. Did this sequel improve or worsen my experience with the overall story? Read on below to find out!

The thrilling sequel to Hush, one of the most talked about YA fantasies of 2020.

Shae’s entire world has been turned upside down, and everything she’s ever believed is a lie. More determined than ever, she sets out to the mysterious land of Gondal—a place forbidden to mention and resigned to myth—in search of a dangerous magical book that could alter the fabric of the world.

Following the trail of Ravod, the boy she thought she knew and trusted, Shae discovers there is far more to the young man who stole the Book of Days than she ever realized. Together, with her friends, Mads and Fiona, and a newfound ally in her fierce former trainer, Kennan, Shae crosses the borders of the only home she’s ever had and into a world ruled not by magic, but technology and industry — one fraught with perils of its own.

In a world shrouded in lies, Shae is desperate for answers and to restore peace, but who will lift the veil?

***Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for providing a copy of the book. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***

It is very rare for me to just say outright that a book is bad, but this one was really, really bad. The first book of this duology, Hush, was formulaic but at least it used its unique premise of magic in ink/words in interesting ways. Veil was just a rushed, meandering mess that made it clear the author must not have had a clear understanding of their world or its magic system prior to starting out on this endeavor. There were plot holes galore, and so much of the story relied upon random unexplained happenings/things or throwaway lines where the characters themselves admit they don’t really know why certain things happened the way they did. After all the buildup of Gondal in the first book, I was a bit let down that we didn’t get to see more of the world. I think that was a problem with both books throughout; they felt incredibly small even though the stakes were meant to feel world-changing. Overall, the plot and messaging just felt incredibly forced, and it seemed the messaging was driving the plot most of the time. I love having social commentary in the books I read, but I want to it to be included in a good story rather than have a bunch of things thrown in piecemeal to make sure all the hot topics of the day get hit. The characters were also still pretty basic, and, if possible, I actually found Shae to be less compelling of a character in this one than the first book. Ultimately, I only finished because I felt obligated to review it and ended up skimming through a lot of it because the writing just wasn’t that great. Therefore, I rate this book 2 out of 5 stars.

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