Friday, June 20, 2008

hush: an irish princess' tale (ya challenge #2)

donna jo napoli's hush tells the story of melkorka, a princess living in medieval ireland. she is used to being taken care of by servants and much of her family's wealth is dependant on slave labor - something that melkorka has no problem with. when her brother's hand is cut off by a norseman, melkorka and her sister brigid are sent away by her parents as they put into motion a plan of revenge upon their brother's attackers.
as melkorka and brigid travel, they are captured by russian slave traders. melkorka and brigid never speak a word to their captors. through brigid is lost to melkorka, melkorka travels with the slave traders, always remaining silent. this silence gives her a sort of power over the russians and the leader believes that she is magic and allows her a certain amount of freedom she would not otherwise have.

as she adapts to life as a slave she, not surprisingly, changes her views about slavery. she comes to a kind of acceptance about her fate without giving up home that someday she might escape.

i had hoped for a little more closure than this book gave me. there are so many questions unanswered but considering the story it seems appropriate. i was drawn to melkorka's strength. she fiercely clings on to the one thing no one can take from her - no one can make her speak. they can do all kinds of things to her but to use her voice is a choice she continues to make. she manages to remain, inside herself, royalty though to everyone around her she is and always will be a slave.

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