Read The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe Online


Named one of the Best Fiction Books of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe is an enchanting tale of music and magic older than the hills. . . .No one knows where the Tufa came from, or how they ended up in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. Enigmatic and suspicious of outsiders, the Tufa live quiet lives in the hills and valleys of Cloud CounNamed one of the Best Fiction Books of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe is an enchanting tale of music and magic older than the hills. . . .No one knows where the Tufa came from, or how they ended up in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. Enigmatic and suspicious of outsiders, the Tufa live quiet lives in the hills and valleys of Cloud County. While their origins may be a mystery, there are hints of their true nature buried in the songs they have passed down for generations.Bronwyn Hyatt, a pure-blood Tufa, has always insisting on doing things her own way, regardless of the consequences. Even though Tufa rarely leave Cloud County, she enlisted in the Army to escape the pressures of Tufa life—her family, her obligations as a First Daughter, and her dangerous ex-boyfriend. But after barely surviving a devastating ambush that killed most of her fellow soldiers, Private Hyatt returns to Cloud County wounded in body and in spirit. But danger lurks in the mountains and hollows of her childhood home. Cryptic omens warn of impending tragedy, and a restless "haint" lurks nearby, waiting to reveal Bronwyn's darkest secrets. Worst of all, Bronwyn has lost touch with the music that was once a vital part of her identity.Now Bronwyn finds the greatest battle to be right here at home, where her obligations struggle with her need for freedom, and if she makes the wrong choice, the consequences could be deadly for all the Tufa. . . ."A sheer delight."—Kirkus Reviews, starred reviewAt the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied....

Title : The Hum and the Shiver
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781429985024
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 352 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Hum and the Shiver Reviews

  • Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads
    2019-05-17 10:09

    Reviewed by: Rabid ReadsThe Tufa have been living in their valley in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee for as long as anyone can remember. Longer. In fact, records state that they were already there when the first European colonists began pushing their way west. (<------how cool is that?)Yes, the Tufa are born in their valley, grow up to have children of their own in their valley, live and die in their valley . . . play their songs in their valley . . . and that is the way it has always been.With few exceptions.Bronwyn Hyatt is one such exception. She left, joining the army when she was 18, to get out of the Tufa valley. To get away from the wild boy who became a reckless man. To prove to herself that she could do what she wanted, be who she wanted, be what she wanted.Two years later she finds herself returning to the home she fled a war hero. A horribly wounded war hero with no recollection of her heroic deeds, but as far as her country and her government are concerned, a war hero nevertheless.To her family and the Tufa . . . she is as she ever was.What follows is Bronwyn's journey to find her place among her people.I was captivated by that journey.I was transported back to my childhood in rural Middle Tennessee, where I had known these people. Been friends with some of them, knew something was wrong with others, and was constantly surrounded by them b/c they were my family and my neighbors, my teachers and my schoolmates . . . I would never go back to that world.But the good was good enough to make it worth the visit. THE HUM AND THE SHIVER encapsulates the rural South better than anything else I've read. Be warned: parts are hideous. This is not the genteel South. There are no beautiful, ramshackle old plantation homes. There are no eloquent and wise matriarchs sitting on their front porch, drinking lemonade and quilting. There are no Sunday afternoon picnics under centuries-old oak trees.This is the South at the end of the dirt road. This is the South at the backend of civilization. This is the South where ignorance and bigotry still flourish.BUT.Stupidity isn't contagious and some people have never fallen prey to ridiculous ideologies.And ultimately it's those people that this book is about. With a supernatural twist: where did these Tufa come from anyway?Read it and find out. Highly recommended.

  • Patrick
    2019-05-14 10:18

    Probably between a 4 and a 5 stars for me. But I'm going to round it up because the book felt very fresh and original to me. No cliches. Very subtle storytelling. Technically, this should be classed as urban fantasy. Except it's not urban. It's rural. It's set in small-town Tennessee. And it's not all full of vampires and werewolves and the stereotypical props of urban fantasy. Imagine a book somewhere between American Gods and Faulkner. Not the bullshit The Sound and the Fury Faulkner, I'm talking about one of his good, solid short stories. That's not a great comparison, but it's the best I can do on the fly. As I said, it's a original sort of book, so it's hard to find a good analogue. In brief: a good book. Absolutely worth your time.

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    2019-05-06 13:34

    This was the June pick for the Sword and Laser book club, a tribute of sorts to our group member Joanna, who passed away when she had this book on her "currently reading" list. I decided to give it a try, not expecting to really like it, but I was wrong. I read the entire thing in one day, since I had to stay up late with the dogs on a night full of fireworks. This is rural fantasy, set in a small town in the Appalachian Mountains of Eastern Tennessee. Most of the people living there are Tufa, a people that have been there for centuries. Bronwyn was injured while serving in the military in Iraq, and returns home to her town and family. The week she arrives, her family has been visited by death omens, and a haint keeps trying to visit her, but she is having issues with her injury and memory and trauma. A preacher sent by the Methodist church provides an outsider lens into the town.I think if you took the fantasy elements out, the author still gets the small-town culture right, and that made it a much stronger novel, although ever since someone in the forums pointed out that he glosses over the Cherokee who would have also been in the same area, I haven't been able to get that out of my head. I wish they figured into it in some way; that seems like a missed opportunity!I loved the music component, because I live within an hour of Appalachia and love the music culture that still exists. (Publisher mistake: Bronwyn plays the mandolin but is portrayed with a fiddle on the cover... not the same thing!) The way music functions in this story is even better, more than just pretty melodies.I also went and read two short stories that continue the story (The Two Weddings of Bronwyn Hyatt and Shall We Gather.)There are also more novels in the series, and I actually think I might read them!

  • Veronica Belmont
    2019-05-10 09:31

    I haven't stayed up past midnight to finish a book in a long time, but this one got me hooked. I'll save my full review for the podcast (sorry!) but I hope to read the next books in the series as well.

  • colleen the convivial curmudgeon
    2019-05-01 07:20

    As the book opens we are introduced to the main protagonist, Bronwyn Hyatt, a daughter of the Tufa - a mysterious people who live in Appalachian country in Tennessee. After getting a general introduction, we are introduced, a little bit, to the culture and the ways of the Tufa - and this I found interesting. I was curious as to who they were and where they were from, and I found their heritage and their customs to be interesting and definitely wanted to know more about them.Then the book seems to take a diversion into a soap opera-ish side road which I like to call "Bronwyn and her men", and I started losing interesting around this point.But then around the 60% mark, or so, the gears shifted once again and I was once again invested in the story (though I admit that I sort of predicted the twist. Not the exact way it played out but I definitely didn't think it would be what it was 'meant' to be.)Ala, who recommended this book, 'warned' us ahead of time that it's a slice of life book and suggested I wait until I was in the mood for a gentle stroll - and, in many ways, I think that's a very apt description and suggestion. It is sort of like walking along a mountain trail on a day which is a little bit too hot and sticky - has some annoying mosquitoes and things, but also some really enjoyable parts.I think, overall, my main complaint with the book is that it's a character-focused story in which I didn't really care about any of the characters. Not that I didn't like any of them - though I certainly didn't always agree with them, and that goes for more than (view spoiler)[Bronwyn's petulance and Trooper Joe's (TM) and Dwayne's asshattery (hide spoiler)] - but I just never felt fully invested in them as, well, people I suppose. I didn't always understand - or buy - their motivations. They sometimes came across as acting or saying things more because it had to be done for the story and less because that's how people would actually act or say. I'm also not sure how I feel about the mystery. On one hand it's interesting, for sure, and gives the story come passing familiarity with something like, say, American Gods but, on the other hand, (view spoiler)[the Tufa weren't exactly like the Tuatha that I know and love from countless stories both historical and modern. (hide spoiler)] I mean, I get that that's probably half the point, but, still... it felt kinda off.But, anyway, I did find the overall concept intriguing and some of the ideas do appeal to me, but I found the execution a little lacking. That said, I'm hooked enough to potentially follow the various dangling threads into the next volume.And I am really glad that (view spoiler)[Dwayne and Trooper Joe (hide spoiler)] got their comeuppance, 'cause I recently read a book where I was very much looking forward to someone receiving a spectacular payback only for it to never manifest, so that was certainly satisfying.

  • Mimi
    2019-05-12 12:23

    SO GOOD.I love everything about this book--the cover, the title, the characters, the culture, the music, the Appalachian setting, the whole story--and it's not something I ever thought I love because the story centers on a small town (a tiny small town). And the beginning was slow, but a couple of chapters in and I was hooked by the Tufa and the mysteries of the mountains.This book is an amazing blend of... basically everything. It's a full sensory experience. Easily the best fantasy I've read this year, and I'm so glad it was chosen as the Sword & Laser book of the month because otherwise it would have continued to remain untouched on my shelf for many more years.Will elaborate more on this book later (hopefully) once all my scattered thoughts settle down.

  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    2019-05-15 15:16

    When I got a copy of The Fairies of Sadieville, the latest book in the Tufa series did I not started directly with it as I usually do, despite that I usually have no problem about reading books, not from the beginning. I have wanted to read this series for a while now, and having all the previous available as audiobooks gave me the chance to listen to all the previous books in order before starting to read The Fairies of Sadieville. And, after finishing this book is my advice to do the same. Yes, the books can be read stand-alone. But, you will get a greater appreciation and understanding of the characters reading the books in order. Not to mention that the books are great!The Hum and the Shiver introduce us to the Tufa that lives in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. No one knows where they came from and it's said that they were there before the white men arrived and even before the native Americans arrived in the country.Bronwyn Hyatt is a pure-blood Tufa who has arrived home as a hero after surviving an ambush that killed many of her fellow soldiers, and that led her to kill ten men. But, the danger isn't over for her. Omen points to that someone in her family will die and her ex-boyfriend is not over her. And, she's having problems remembering the music that is so important for the Tufa. If there is one genre I love is it urban fantasy and the Tufa series is right up my alley. Well-written, with a story about a mysterious people that live in the Smoky Mountain.The Hum and the Shiver introduced us to the characters, like Bronwyn Hyatt, Bliss Overbay, Rockhouse Hicks and Mandalay Harris. All important characters in the Tufa community. The Tufa isn't one group of people, there are those that follow Mandalay and those that follow Rockhouse Hicks. It's a fascinating story and I was engrossed in the story. I liked listening to the narrated version, it's the kind of book that made working easier because the book fascinated me so much that I didn't mind working.

  • Tom Merritt
    2019-05-09 10:32

    I felt them both Both a convincing tale of rural life and a believable tale of the fantastic. I could not put it down.

  • aPriL does feral sometimes
    2019-04-27 07:25

    Disappointing. I won't be continuing with this series. I much prefer his sword fantasy series. This went off the rails because Bronwyn Hyatt makes no sense to me. She is a very strange character, starting with her killer instincts, her pride and love for family and they return the affection, yet she takes pleasure in the masochism of giving blow jobs to every man, literally, in town. She is First Daughter, pure blood, raised with respect, but she's a damaged teenaged soul giving blow jobs to whoever wants one. She's so rebellious, she will not obey her community's expectations or responsibilities, despite the damage that will cause. She would rather go to war and kill because despite her masochism and lack of self-respect for herself and her community, somehow she's also aggressive and patriotic, then when she comes back horribly damaged by war drama and trauma, she's powerful and strong enough to go to war to defend her brother from a local criminal, but too weak and scared and destroyed by war to defend her mother, who she loves as much as her brother. But maybe that's so because she came home and walked in on her parents making love on the couch after a date, and her mother sees her but continues on maliciously to have an orgasm while staring at her daughter. Otherwise they all adore and respect each other, and would kill for each other. Really? This make sense to you?

  • Tiara
    2019-05-18 13:22

    More reviews @ The BiblioSanctumBefore I get on to the review. Let’s start out with a very important fact about me:My first tattoo was dedicated to my love of music. It’s my lifeblood, so I went into these book very expectant. Now, let’s kick things off with my thoughts on The Hum and the Shiver.wenty-year-old Bronwyn Hyatt returns to Cloud County, Tennessee after a horrifying experience in Iraq brings her back to the States a war hero. She returns to her home a place she both dreads and loves, a place she has a deep connection to. Bronwyn is a Tufa, and they are at the apex of their magical strength, which manifests in music, when they’re home. The Tufa are an enigmatic ethnic group living in the mountains, believed to have been there when the first white settlers stumbled into the area. They’re called everything from black to Native American. However, no one knows for sure who they are or where they come from. Bronwyn is a pure-blood Tufa and one of the “First Daughters,” women who carry the songs of the Tufa through the generations. Even though Tufa men sing the songs, as well, the First Daughters are the most powerful and most important of the Tufa. Despite this, Bronwyn is a bit of black sheep among her kind. She was rebellious as a child, eventually leaving the safety of the Tufa land for the military. She returns a rebellious woman who is insistent of honoring her heritage while embracing the change that seems to be coming for them. On top of this change, signals of death are in the air, leaving the Tufa on high alert because the signs point to the Hyatt family.This book also follows an uninspired reporter named Don Swayback who has lived away from the Tufa for years, but he is part Tufa. With Bronwyn’s return, which he reports on for the small paper he works for, he feels something awakening in him as he begins to embrace more of his heritage. That chance encounter stirs something in him. Being part Tufa means he may or may not have the capacity for the magic as explained by this passage:“Anyway, we need to talk about blood. You got more Tufa in you than you realize. It ain’t always about quantity: you can have a man ninety-five percent pureblood, but if that missing five percent is the part that lets him ride the wind, he ain’t a true Tufa. You know about riding the night wind?” Don shook his head.“You will, I reckon. I hope. One night you’ll go outside, look up at the sky, and either hear the hum or feel the shiver. If it’s the shiver … well, you’re still kin and I love you, but it means you’ll never be a real Tufa. If it’s the hum, though, you’ll feel the stirrin’ of your wings.”I should briefly point out that in this book the term “the hum and the shiver” is used frequently and in many beautifully poetic ways. It can be used to express many different things in the Tufa life. Don’t think you’re going to get just a flowery book about music and magic. There’s politics at play among the Tufa. While many believe them to be one people, they are actually two separate and equally power factions of people who don’t like each other much and seem to be vying for power. Don’s story can seem a little disjointed from the rest of the book until you keep in mind there is a power struggle going on. Also, there’s much prejudice that the Tufa deal with, especially with the state trooper that patrols the area whose role isn’t much more than to be your standard racist villain. There’s also a few villains among their own including a man named Dwayne Gitterman, an ex-boyfriend of Bronwyn’s, who has “burned” the music out of him through his own evil. While he’s more interesting as a villain for this, he isn’t much better a villain than the state trooper except for his Tufa connection. There’s also that looming violence that Bronwyn dealt with in Iraq, which thankfully isn’t fully explored, mainly because Bronwyn insists on not revisiting that part of her ordeal. There’s some mention of violence against women, even a scene where one man sort of describes how he could carry out a rape against Bronwyn (he’s really not that stupid, though), but he does do some other violent things. This is redneck country, expect some ugliness is what I’m saying–in language and actions. It’s totally in keeping with the setting of such a story, but it may offend some.I will admit in explaining the Tufa at points I think Bledsoe was trying to be as plain as possible for clarity’s sake, but instead those passages started to feel redundant and had me asking, “What can’t the Tufa do? Can one Superman punch someone into the sun? Asking for a friend.” On their own land, they hold a lot of power. Some people may even ask why would the Tufa even ever leave their lands with that in mind, but just because something is the “best” thing for you doesn’t mean that your heart doesn’t long to see things, to see the outside world, to have new experiences, even if that means weakening yourself or facing the unknown to do it. People run from their heritage all the time. That’s part of why Bronwyn left and she is hardly the first Tufa to leave, even in her family, but she found the need to be home greater than her need for something different. Bronwyn as a character left me conflicted. She was selfish and selfless, and maybe that describes most of us. However, so many of her actions that seemed selfless also seemed to really further her own selfish actions. Despite the terror she’s been through, though, she is still a twenty-year-old woman barely out of girlhood and it shows. She’s strong, weak, self, sexual, and a million other things, and despite this, we need rounded female characters that don’t just embody our idea of what a heroine of a story should be.The love interests of the story come in two forms. One is a older teenaged boy (which may squick some people because he is like seventeen), Terry-Joe Gitterman, the brother of Bronwyn’s former boyfriend, and a pastor ten years Bronwyn’s senior named Craig. Tufa don’t have religion per se. That’s not to say they don’t believe in God, but they have their own beliefs and they are very private about them. So, giving Bronwyn a Christian love interest was intriguing. Both provided different angles to Bronwyn’s idea of love and sex, and in the end I really thought Bledsoe did something unique where this love triangle was concerned. While I did think Bledsoe played it a little safe with Craig, doing much to make him so likable despite him not really being someone the Tufa would open up to, I did like that Bledsoe presented Christianity not as something that should be about brimstone and fire but as about your actions and what you do to help your fellow man without their being some burdened placed on the actions because “God is watching!” In other words, Craig did things because he knew they were the right thing to do, and he didn’t condemn those he helped because they might not believe as he did. I only say he played it safe because there were moments when he did have the Christianity be so “in your face” and then back away from it instead of leading to more challenging conversations.About halfway through the book, I stopped listening to the narration. My reasoning for this is because Card’s voice reminded me too much of the lady who co-narrated the novel, Wreckage (and that book annoyed me, so she faced a prejudiced in me getting to really enjoy her narration) and didn’t fit how I think Bronwyn–young, yet old all at the same time–would sound like, which came off too flighty and just didn’t feel right. Also, Card wasn’t really singing the verses in the book more than chanting them when I was looking to hear some twangy, bluegrass type music for the Tufa songs. As for Rudnicki, his voice was so deep that it distracted me. I love deep-voiced narrators both male and female, but his voice actually lulled me and made me miss bits of the story because it was easy to get caught up in his voice, which is very musical in nature compared to Card’s. Don’t let my thoughts on the narration deter you from listening to it, though, if you’re considering the audiobooks. Fun fact: Card attributes Rudnicki for much of her training.I would be lying if I said that part of my ratings and feeling on these books come from many reasons aside from just the story itself. I connected with the story as a southerner and knowing how small towns can be with their secrets and their “haints.” Secondly, and the larger reason I started this series, is that I love books that combine music and magic in inventive ways. As a musician, I could relate too well to so many lines in this books about the hum and the shiver. My instructor was one of those people who believed you had people who played music and then you had people who music was so much a part of them that to rip music from their soul would surely kill them. She always said proudly that music was in my soul, and she still brags to this day about me being the youngest child she’s ever taken as a piano student because she “saw” something in me. I played a few other instruments, but the piano is my Magda (what Bronwyn calls her mandolin and most treasured instrument). In a way, she believed much of what this books believed, but in a much more realistic way. And I can name a few musicians that can touch me in a way that feels like something short of magic. This book does a beautiful job of capturing that feeling, the emotions and stories that music can capture in them.

  • Rob
    2019-05-22 09:12

    Executive Summary: This one wasn't on my radar at all, but I'm glad I ended up reading it, and plan to continue the series at some point.Full ReviewThis is another of those books that makes me glad to have found Sword & Laser. They aren't always favorites, but it definitely gets me reading books I likely wouldn't otherwise. I found the early pacing of this book a bit on the slow side. However, once things finally did get going, it pretty hard to put down and devoured the last hundred pages or so. It bumped this up from a 3 to a 4 star rating.I generally don't like most present day/urban fantasy, but this book had a very different feel to it. It probably helps that there are no Vampires or Werewolves. Hopefully that will continue to be the case. Both are far too overdone.I really enjoyed the musical aspect of the book. I listen to music almost constantly throughout the day. It's something I can identify with. I don't play an instrument myself, but I'm not sure what my life would be without music.The mystery of the Tufa was the main point of interest to me early on, but once we find out more about them, the other subplots had me hooked into finding out what happens next.Overall an enjoyable book, and I hope to find time to read more of the series at some point.

  • Jordan Price
    2019-05-02 12:23

    I was lucky enough to score an advance copy of this novel, and once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down until it was finished…and even now, I can’t stop thinking about it.The blend of magic and the mundane is something I try to achieve in my own work, since I think the more real the mundane details feel, the more the magic can shine. This book feels so authentic I never question that I am right there in the story. Bronwyn Hyatt is a war hero returning from Iraq to her home in East Tennessee to recuperate from her injuries. Everything about her is complicated—her personality, her relationship to her parents, her relationship to her ex, and to her own past. I’m enthralled by Bronwyn. I feel like she’s real. She’s tough in a way that most female protagonists pretend to be tough, but she doesn’t come off as a male protagonist with a name-change who needs to overcompensate for her gender. She owns her sexuality. Yet she’s vulnerable, not sexually, but in the places where her brain injuries have left her with gaps where her music once lived. And that seems like a more intimate vulnerability for her. Music is critical to Bronwyn and her people, and of everything that had been stripped from her when she’d been taken by enemy forces, the loss of her songs is the greatest tragedy.Things I particularly loved were the dialog, which lilted and flowed and conveyed a great sense of place, and several wonderfully placed details, such as Aunt Raby’s upstairs walker. The writing is not wordy by any means, and the skillful placement of just the perfect detail anchors the story without bogging it down with lines and lines of description.How does Bronwyn fit—in her family, in her community, in her music, and in her own skin? All the while she figures that out, signs and omens augur tragedy for her family, her people try to force her to commit to a marriage she doesn’t want, and two delightfully horrible bad guys converge to drag everyone into the darkness of their own personal inadequacies externalized.

  • drey
    2019-05-06 07:33

    This is a story about faeries that isn’t really about faeries, instead it’s a story of a girl whose lifelong rebellious nature leads her away from her hometown in the mountains to the deserts – and war – in Iraq.Bronwyn Hiatt returns home a war hero – at least, the military says so – but she doesn’t remember much about her ordeal. Now she’s back in Needsville, TN, she has to deal with omens and portents to a death in her family. Nobody knows whose death, but so far the signs point to her mother.The small Tufa community that Bronwyn’s a part of have magic in their music and song, and as a First Daughter of a First Daughter, Bronwyn has to learn her mother’s songs. Never mind that she can’t remember any music, or even how to play her mandolin – courtesy of her injuries.The Hum and Shiver is a well-told story, but has gaps aplenty. Why are there two groups of Tufa? What role does the new Methodist minister play in the grand scheme of things in Needsville? Where did the Tufa come from, anyway? There’s really no mention of their origin, other than (a) they’ve always been there, (b) there’s a painting in a library in the middle of nowhere depicting what could be them, and (c) the ramblings of a conspiracy theorist who shows up and gets lost in the woods. I mean, really?I wouldn’t say this was a must-read, nor was it a waste of time. Everything – the story, plot, and characters – was ok enough. It just could’ve been better.drey’s rating: Ok

  • Becky
    2019-05-11 11:34

    Despite the title, which is awesome, if I had come across this book on my own, I can say with complete certainty that I wouldn't have given it a second glance. The book description doesn't tell very much about what the book is about, and honestly it sounds boring. But this book was selected for a group read and was pretty highly recommended, so I decided to give it a try anyway. This is one of those books whose peg doesn't really fit into a genre hole. You can make it fit into a couple maybe, but there's no one thing that will say, "That is what kind of book this is, so if you like that, read this." And, much to my own surprise, I liked it. Not as much as I could have, but quite a bit more than I expected to.Pretty much the only thing I knew going in was that there would be music. That's always a little suspect for me, because I have very little interest in music in books, especially folk music, and musicians or performers of any type rarely interest me in fiction. That's not to say that if there is music or performers of some kind in a book that I'll automatically dislike it, but I think it has to be handled well, and that's not always the case. I've come to realize that I prefer music in books to be an extension of the characters, something that makes them who they are, not just something that they listen to. Usually, a character listening to music just feels like a name-drop opportunity. That wasn't the case with this one, thankfully. The music in this book was definitely a part of life, a part of the characters, and part of the community. It was the type of musicality that I love - the kind where the characters live and breathe music because it is part of what makes them who they are. But that leads me to my first complaint. Music and songs, specifically one song in particular, were given so much importance in the story that I wanted a big revelation about what it meant, and I was disappointed not to get one. The story went in a different direction, and that aspect just felt forgotten. In fact, that feeling that things were forgotten is my major, overall complaint about this book. I think the book should have been longer so that all of the background, the history, the hierarchy and the characters' stories could all have been better fleshed out, so that the meaning of the songs and the stories could have been better shown. Bledsoe created a whole community, a mini-world, and peopled it with interesting characters that I wanted to know more about, but who, in the end, were just sort of... filler. That's disappointing. I wanted to know what Don Swayback's awakening meant, and what the purpose was. I wanted to know more about Rockhouse Hicks and what his history was. I wanted to know more about the First Daughters, and what that truly represented. Another complaint that I had was regarding the relationships between Bronwyn and Craig Chess. The first time they meet, there's an almost literal spark of attraction between them, and it stank of Insta-Love to me. I hoped that the story wouldn't go in that direction, and it seemed not to, with Bronwyn having this thing with Terry-Joe, but then it did anyway, completely out of the blue. And then the story was just kind of over. It was left open to interpretation whether Chess would accept the relationship, but there's no denying their instant and seemingly baseless attraction to each other. It seems that the Tufa people have a strong attractive quality to non-Tufas, and can make them fall in love extremely easily... but I don't get Bronwyn's attraction to Craig, (view spoiler)[nor why she'd know that she wanted to marry him(hide spoiler)] when she barely knows him. It just doesn't make sense to me. I will say that I really enjoyed the writing, and felt myself kind of absorbed in it while I was reading. Bledsoe has a way with words that just drew me in, and it was like I was there. I could see everything crystal clearly. I also loved the slow build-up, and how the hints that we received were dealt out slowly and methodically and just at the right times. It seemed like every time I would have a question about something, the answer would come along as soon as I started reading again. I just wanted more than what I was given. I also liked the way that the story felt almost ethereal. It had a kind of realistic dreamlike quality, and I was never really sure if what was described was supposed to be taken literally or metaphorically. I think that's exactly how I was supposed to feel, so in that, Bledsoe did a fantastic job. Despite all my complaints (which mainly boil down to one major complaint that I just wanted more characterization and history), I did really enjoy the story. I enjoyed reading it, and it kept me intrigued despite, or maybe because of, the slow build up. I would definitely recommend this one for someone looking for something a little bit different to read.

  • Olga Godim
    2019-04-22 07:27

    I liked this book much more than Bledsoe’s Eddie LaCrosse series. It was written better, and its story was deeper and more mature. The protagonist, a twenty-year-old soldier of the US army Bronwyn, was injured in Iraq. She has returned home to recuperate, but her homecoming is not at all restful. In pain from her healing wounds, obviously suffering from PTSD and numb from painkillers, with her mind hazy and her spirits low, Bronwyn is tired and disoriented. She wants to find her unique ‘song’, but neither the army, nor the small town where she grew up, nor her family offers her a safe place. She belongs to the Tufa, a hard, mysterious people living in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Always rebellious, even as a child, she never wanted to conform to her pre-assigned role in her community. That’s why she enlisted in the army two years ago: to escape from her heritage. But now she is home, and her heritage demands its due. Torn between her people’s past and future, between the modern technology and the centuries-old traditions of magic and music, Bronwyn is searching for her place, for her own melody. Her path is fraught with mistakes and detours, as she repeatedly asks herself: “Who am I? What should I do?” I like Bronwyn. She is a multidimensional character, a complicated young woman with strong opinions of right and wrong. A fighter with an intense conscience, she is an instigator of change. Of course, her hankering for change brings her nothing but trouble, but she copes with her troubles with honor intact, if maybe slightly tarnished. To my relief, she is not ‘a chic with a sword,’ the archetype that has recently invaded the modern fantasy genre. Instead of weapons, she uses her common sense and morality, her assertive nature to win her battles.Like Bronwyn, several secondary characters in the novel are also on the road of self-discovery, trying to find their niche. Self-discovery seems to be one of the dominating themes of this novel. Its other theme is much more disturbing – the ethics and legitimacy of killing. Can you kill in peace time? Who has the right to make that call? Are there any special circumstances when killing is permissible or necessary? When a soldier is ordered to kill, are morals involved? What if someone is so evil, caused so much grief, that he needs to be eliminated to prevent more suffering? Who must assume the responsibility to kill him? Where is the borderline between a just killing and a murder? Such difficult questions raise their heads in the course of the novel, and although the author doesn’t shy from expressing his views, he invites his readers to formulate their own answers. The pacing is deceptively slow, covering the day-to-day lives and seemingly inconsequential events, but the pages turn very fast. The author is a master of intrigue, and his skill kept me glued to the book until I finished it. A couple details I didn’t like in this book, although they didn’t cause me to lower its rating. First – the secret of the Tufa. Bledsoe keeps dropping hints at some otherworldly origins of the people, at their mystic powers, but even as far into the book as page 116, nothing was clear. Who are the Tufa and what they can do is only revealed towards the end. Can’t say it was a big surprise though. The allusions are sprinkled throughout the tale, and the anticipation keeps the tension high, keeps the readers guessing. Still, I think the full disclosure should’ve happened earlier in the story. It would’ve read better.My second objection: nothing is resolved by the last page. Many subplots are left dangling, like in real life. Even Bronwyn isn’t yet sure what will become of her, although by the end she at least has some inkling. Certain controversies have been resolved, while others haven’t been touched yet. Overall, such ambivalence leaves the readers vaguely dissatisfied and hankering for more. Maybe that was the point.

  • Craig
    2019-04-30 10:10

    Kind of an urban fantasy set in Appalachia. There was *huge* potential in the concept here, but it was partially wasted by some weak writing. I loved the idea of the Tufa, the clanish, human-ish fairies who've lived in an isolated valley since before the colonization of America. Their culture is revealed slowly in the book, which is a good thing, but it's sometimes done in an awkward and poorly thought out way. Character development is sometimes very well-done, and very sketchily done at other times - even within an individual character. A couple of the outsiders probably should have been left out altogether, or at least better integrated into the story. A little thing that bugged me way out of proportion to what it should have, was that Bronwyn's character (at least her Iraq War back story) seemed to be based on the real-life Jessica Lynch, which seemed pointless. This all sounds worse that it actually was. I enjoyed the book, but was disappointed that it really didn't live up to what I felt was its enormous potential.

  • Logan Masterson
    2019-05-10 13:16

    Skin your song iron with Alex Bledsoe’s The Hum and The ShiverWhen Bronwyn Hyatt returns to Cloud County, Tennessee on medical leave, she trades the war zones of Iraq for a more personal kind of battle. In her home town of Needsville, they called her The Bronwynator long before her “heroic” action in a foreign land. But age and experience have changed her. Bronwyn is no longer a rebellious teen. She’s a determined young woman, hell-bent on choosing her own path in life, regardless of what her parents, friends and community think is best. This is more than a coming-of-age tale, and the community is more than just an Appalachian village.The Hum and The Shiver by Alex BledsoeBronwyn is one of the Tufa, an enigmatic people with dark hair and clear skin who keep to themselves and hear omens on the wind. They already lived in the valley when the first European explorers crossed the Appalachian Mountains into east Tennessee, and are steeped in ancient traditions and the song of the hills.Amidst the fanfare of her homecoming, Bronwyn must find her own song again and make a new place for herself among the Tufa. The haint that waits outside her window offers no more comfort than her hell-raising ex-boyfriend or the omens of death that surround her family.Alex Bledsoe, author of Dark Jenny and The Sword-Edged Blonde, is a contemporary fantasist of the highest order. He approaches his subject with great care, avoiding the heavy-handedness that dominates commercial genre fiction. His characters are richly developed, and his prose is tight and evocative with just enough room to grow.The Hum and The Shiver had me worried at the first paragraph. Therein the phrase “intimately acquainted” appears, and this was enough to make me set my fresh review copy aside for a couple of days. I raise this objection after describing tight prose because “intimately acquainted” was the only piece of prose that was objectionable. Frankly, it set me to worrying in vain, because the worst that followed was an oxford comma here and there, and once I picked the book back up, I couldn’t put it down without effort.Seriously, I paced my reading because the end approached too fast, an end that was satisfying and complete, if not entirely “happy.”And therein lies one of the most notable qualities of The Hum and The Shiver. It’s not a string of conveniences or an over-the-top epic. The subject of destiny is approached with all the care one expects of Charles DeLint or latter-days Stephen R. Donaldson. Alex Bledsoe straddles the line of literary and contemporary fantasy in The Hum and The Shiver, blending the native histories of bluegrass and Appalachian culture with a provocative through-line and an infusion of darkling fantasy.Humor, mystery, conflict and family are weighted evenly throughout the narrative, as Bronwyn finds her place in the world of the Tufa, facing her woes without the hope of a fairytale ending. But then, that’s the nature of the night wind.As an interesting side note, I’d like to mention that I am personally not a huge bluegrass fan. While I do enjoy a live session, I generally prefer the Celtic music from which bluegrass originated. Much of my reading was done to the strains of The Pogues, Black 47, Capercaillie and Carbon Leaf, and the prose fell in step with nary a hitch.I highly recommend The Hum and The Shiver. Skin that song iron and explore the world of the Tufa.

  • Sarah
    2019-05-02 14:20

    4.5/5 starsThe Hum and the Shiver was an amazingly satisfying read. It was a subtle, eloquent and incredible treat which really showcased Bledsoe’s diversity as a writer. The characterization shines, the world is vibrant and well realized. Bledsoe deepens his characterization and expands his world with each page which makes Bledsoe’s Tennessee Mountains and the characters who live in them as real as the world around us. This isn’t a book that will satisfy everyone. Individuals who aren’t into slow developments and subtle plots will probably want to look elsewhere. However, if you are a reader who is looking for a unique yet vibrant literary feast, you need look no further.Read my full review here:

  • Ranting Dragon
    2019-05-21 14:35 fantasy often becomes urban fantasy, to the exclusion of all other forms. A few stories fall outside the urban subgenre barriers, such as American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and fall well. The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe is set in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee and would best be described as rural fantasy. Owing to the less hectic feel of the backwater area, it comes off as much more intimate than most contemporary fantasy.Well written and balanced charactersBronwyn Hyatt returns home from Iraq wounded in more ways than one. She’s called a war hero by some and a troublemaker by others. In a way, she has given up the danger of the field for another danger altogether. Portents of death and duty balance her wild and rebellious nature that has been suppressed and tempered during her time away. It emphasizes a tale of family, tradition and duty in an original and emotional way that makes her character so complex and well layered that it is hard to fault the book. Her life could be identified into three parts that blend and overlay constantly, mingling into a fluid and dynamic character that feels altogether organic.The various other characters of The Hum and the Shiver are just as well written as Bronwyn Hyatt. From her family and her ex-boyfriend to the journalist and the reverend, they all are individuals and are contrasted well against one another. Characters identify smoothly as the story progresses and they evolve at a great pace.A focus on musicMusic has a beautiful emphasis in The Hum and the Shiver. The title itself, The Hum and the Shiver, is my favorite of the year in its avoidance of clichés and its forceful vibrancy. The Tufa are a very musical people; it drives them and defines them, setting them apart as well as acting as a gauge for the reader. The detached nature of the Tufa easily translates to a subtle arcane overlay that hinges on music.Beautifully mysteriousThe story is shrouded in smoke and mirrors the entire time. Revelations are drawn out with precision and are often unpredictable but entirely satisfactory. The Tufa above all are the greatest cause of mystery and illusion for the reader, as Bledsoe doesn’t reveal the story’s secrets cheaply.Bledsoe’s prose is deftly placed and allows the scenes to flow smoothly from one to the other. The dialogue never feels forced or stilted and has all the humorous overtones of real conversations. Familial relations and more provocative ones exude familiarity and let the reader slip into the characters’ shoes.Devoid of clichésThe plot is thankfully devoid of clichés, something very hard to achieve in fiction. This may owe to the setting and subgenre in part but Bledsoe is inevitable the source. It spans a relatively short period of time with a lush amount of detail and emotion, progressing at a rapid pace.Why should you read this book?The Hum and the Shiver is a striking and subtly crafted story with interesting characters, a unique story and lush prose. It is a must read for anyone who is seeking interesting and unique fantasy or who want to branch out from the more common genres.

  • Jason Pettus
    2019-04-28 11:16

    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)The whole reason I picked up this 2011 novel is because a sequel to it is just now being released, and I was so fascinated by the concept behind them that I thought the two books might make for a good double-review; that concept being, "What if some of the ancient clans from Scotland and Ireland who eventually emigrated in the 1700s to the American Appalachian Mountains were in fact not human at all, but actually varying families of fairies who had fled Scotland and Ireland a thousand years before that, and that some of those backwards, closed-off small towns in Kentucky and Tennessee are in fact now entirely inhabited by people who can perform magic?" (Or in other words, if you consider something like Neil Gaiman's 1990s work to be "urban fantasy," this might best be called "rural fantasy.") Unfortunately, though, author Alex Bledsoe never finds anything interesting to actually do with this fascinating concept, turning in a molasses-slow story that repeats all its relatively small amount of plot points five or six times in order to fill pages (I get it! Our Iraq-veteran hero is going to heal more quickly than humans! I GET IT, BLEDSOE!), and that paints its overly obvious villains as broadly as a cartoon might. And worst of all, although there's an NPR enthusiast's amount of obsession over the true-life folk songs of Appalachia (I suspect one of the main reasons Bledsoe even wanted to write this), barely any actual magic takes place, aside from occasional weird hand gestures and Jedi Mind Trick headaches; and without the magical element, this is simply a story about feuding hillbillies in red state hell, and Lord, I have no interest in reading that. Not actually badly written, it's still getting a low score, simply from the huge disappointment the reality of this book was compared to the expectations of its premise.Out of 10: 6.9

  • Tim Hicks
    2019-05-07 11:20

    Nope, didn't work for me. And I like Bledsoe's other work a lot. As an older male, I may not have the right viewpoint, but I am also an experienced reader of fantasy and this sort of semi-fantasy. First, I see that many outlets are calling this a teen/YA story. For me, that's exactly the problem with it. It *feels* like one. What's wrong with that? Well, for starters, there are other teen/YA stories out there that just tell a story naturally, and you only realize later that it's aimed younger. This feels a tad contrived, as if the author more naturally writes for adults. Which we know he does very well. What are the tipoffs? Well, first we have overdrawn characters. Dwayne's ridiculously bad, and so is Pafford (more on that later). Rockhouse is just silly, except near the end when he's better. Deacon is a classic, yup, nope, don't push yer luck Father. Bronwyn is just a bit too much of everything she is. The Tufa are a good thing to hang a story on, but every time they were mentioned I expected, well, you know in Young Frankenstein how the horses whinny whenever Frau Blucher's name is mentioned? Like that. Roads that can't be found by outsiders. Secret hand signals that are never explained. The ongoing feeling is that they have enough funky magic to do ANYthing ANYtime, so where's the tension? The music stuff, and the haint, and the need to carry it all on, that was all just fine. Bronwyn's struggle with the need to grow up is OK. Don Swayback's plot arc was ludicrously predictable. But I'll tell you what wasn't: the ending. (This spoiler warning's for real - don't peek if you haven't read the story: (view spoiler)[ Really? Dwayne gets taken out into the wayback, taken for a flight, dropped -- and he Lands. On. Pafford. Oh puh-LEEZE. (hide spoiler)]So no. I will NOT read the sequel. I will be all over the next Eddie LaCrosse, though.

  • Dawn
    2019-04-22 09:16

    I finished this yesterday, but had to let it settle a little before I decided on a rating. I was going back and forth between a three and a four... Ultimately I decided on three stars. I liked it, at some points I really liked it.. But overall I didn't really think it was anything spectacular, so I went with three.For about the first half of the book I had no idea where the plot was going. It's not like I was bored.. It just seemed to be meandering around, going no where. And to be honest.. That's how the entire book went. But somewhere after the first half it did grow on me, hence the reason it's getting three stars and not two.It's definitely not action packed.. There's really no action at all. No intrigue.. I think my friend Ala said it best in his review, it's a slice of life story. There's some mystery surrounding the Tufa people, and that was interesting to delve into.. But other than that there's really not much too it.But I did like it. I did enjoy reading it. I feel like it could have been better though.. Still, I'd recommend giving it a try. It's pretty short, a nice relaxing read. Three stars.

  • Stephanie Swint
    2019-05-22 08:30

    This is an interesting tale set in Tennesse's Smoky Mountains. I lived close to this area for a short period in my life. I can believe a magical race resides in those mountains. This is good. It's definitely a worthy read. Full review to come.

  • Stephen Richter
    2019-05-19 10:32

    A bit too wantonness for me. There were some nice twists and turn, but someone will have to convince me that the story get better in the next book. I enjoyed the two narrators, Emily Janice Card and Stefan Rudnicki who performed the book in a female /male POV manner. Took a while to get use to Stefan but eventually I did.

  • Barbara
    2019-05-22 09:14

    Ok, I'm not very far into this book, but already so good. A blend of magic and reality, I don't want to stop reading.A criteria of a great book for me is the authors ability to put me "there". Be it a school for witchcraft and wizardry, a house on the north shore of Prince Edward Island, or the Smokey mountains. Bledsoe perfectly places me in this book about the Tufa people, a mythical First Nations people living in modern day.The main character, Bronwyn, is newly returned from Afghanistan. She's home to heal from multiple war wounds, physical and psychological.I just bumped the second book in the series up yo the top of the TBR list!

  • AndrewP
    2019-05-07 15:21

    For me this book totally failed to deliver. It starts out slow, then little bits of weirdness start to creep in making you wonder what's really going on. The formula will be familiar to anyone who has ever read a Stephen King book but Bledsoe just doesn't have that edge to make you want to read on to find out what's happening. After over 200 ages of build up, the big reveal was one of the worst written scenes I have ever come across. It feels as if the author was intending to write a much longer book and then decided, or was told by an editor, to wrap it up. Your mileage may vary but I found this an average, leaning towards sub-standard book. In this case the fact that the publisher couldn't find anyone to write a blurb about it speaks volumes.

  • Joseph Scribbins
    2019-05-06 11:23

    As an avid reader and compulsive book buyer, I have yet to write a review on any book aside from what I mention on my Facebook page, until now. This book can be summed up in four words: Magic, mystery, mountains and music. They are all intertwined and play important roles in the development of both the story and the characters. This book has broad appeal, from fantasy readers, to those interested in people not quite like ourselves, and for anyone who likes to learn the secrets of others even though they might not have the privilege of doing so. The people in the story are loosely based on a real group of people and the Smoky Mountains paint a vivid backdrop to the communities the Tufa keep. The story carries with it hints and suggestions about what the Tufa might actually be, it builds steadily throughout hinting that these people are not, well, people. But that is all I will say regarding the story itself. This story left me feeling that I was learning secrets that I should not be allowed to keep and certainly don't have the right to share. I even posted something related to the end of the story on Facebook last night and then removed it. It felt wrong. The Hum and the Shiver is about the magic carried on the wind and shared in music. The use of magic is subtle but the power carried on a song and in a whisper is powerful. The author does not think the reader a fool, so he does not give secrets away easily. We spend time learning what we need to about the characters across the entire span of the story. Readers will want to know more sooner but are only shown what some of the characters work very hard throughout to understand. We learn what they learn, at their pace and it is at time frustrating. You as the reader know there is something much bigger at work but it takes time. You have to learn the song as it is revealed. I am a fan of King, Crichton, and Gaiman. This story holds its own across the genres represented by the aforementioned authors. More people need to read this book. I will be up front with my biases. I love the Appalachian mountains, especially the Smoky Mountains. I have been aware of and intrigued by the real life people suggested by the Tufa and have a great affection for Bluegrass and Folk music. All of these things combined with their magic create a world not quite like ours, but one that exists within ours. I enjoyed the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss and after his masterful use of music as a character, I longed for a story that again uses music as a central theme. Thus, The Hum and The Shiver by Alex Bledsoe. Even though music plays a different role, it is necessary and powerful, as is the story. I have books 2 and 3, Wisp of a Thing and Long Black Curl lined up on my shelf and ready to go.

  • K. Bird Lincoln
    2019-05-13 08:36

    You know how sometimes you go to a party with a group of good friends and some people you don't know get invited, but somehow, on that one night, everyone gets along great, laughs, sing songs, and you wish you could get together every week like that but you know it was just that special energy of that one, night?Well that's what reading The Hum and the Shiver is like, only its the Tufa who are the new friends and Needsville in the Tennessee mountains that's the party.Prvt Bronwyn Hyatt is paraded by the military as a hero on her way home after being rescued from capture in Iraq. She's gotten a mangled leg and a mangled sense of self. Will she return to take her place as a First Daughter of the Tufa, or will her mother's song be lost forever?Craig Chess is the new Methodist Preacher in town, intent on making friends where other pastors have given up and left. Will he be accepted, or will he have a fatal run in with the Tufa lead by Rockhouse?Don Swayback is on the road to nowhere as a middling reporter for a small town newpsaper. When he gets the assignment to get an interview with Bronwyn...or else, he find himself picking up his guitar and feeling alive for the first time...Dwayne Gitterman/Patrol Office Pafford are both on paths of self-destruction, using their powers to cause more harm than good, where will their anger lead them?All these characters are fully formed, interesting people I wished I could spend more time with each because they were so fun, and so raw in their emotions. It was nice to see relationships where misunderstandings and lies aren't the reasons for conflict, rather a shifting and evolving sense of who a person wants to be, and what they are allowed to be, causes all the characters to make decisions about their lives.Some, like Don and Bronwyn choose to become more Tufa-like, more in tune with the hum and the shiver of the music that fills us all, whether we know it or not. Mainly, the book is just plain fun. From Bronwyn's stubborn and loving family dynamics to the lyrics of the Tufa songs to the way you keep hoping somebody will just give Craig a break, it's all fun, and you don't want it to end.My only complaint would be that we don't get hang around long enough at the end to see the result of Bronwyn's and Craigs' choices play out, and I wanted to stay with them.Otherwise, lovely, lovely novel centered around human emotions and family dynamics.This Book's Snack Rating: A mug of hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies for the utterly delicious music and characters with the slight melancholy bitterness of dark chocolate to make you think about your own life.

  • Suzanne Moore
    2019-04-28 09:31

    I was completely drawn into the story and I learned about Appalachian Tufa people! A mystical, musical people who are said to have been here before the first white settlers arrived. Bronwyn Hyatt the protagonist in the story is a returning war hero from Iraq. Her rescue after being captured brought to mind another heroic teenage soldier, Jessica Lynch, and I wondered if this could be where Alex got his inspiration for the character. Bronwyn is truly a badass and was known for her rebellious ways before she left to join the Army. She had quite a reputation to live down and now her "Rambo-like" heroism has added to her notoriety. Back in the rural mountains of Tennessee, Bronwyn is haunted by signs and omens that suggest death has followed her home. As part of the Tufa clan, superstitions and songs are taken seriously. I loved the way her brothers were ready to defend her ... in the Hyatt family blood comes first, and I LOVED the songs! This is fantastical page-turner that may seem like a cliff-hanger, but does do justice to bad guys in the end. I assume the next book in the Tufa series continues where this one leaves off. I am anxious to see what will happen with the men in Bronwyn's life. I really liked the way things where going between her and Craig. Who'd of guessed that a preacher-man could tame her wild ways ... or maybe not that's why I have to read the next book now!! After reading this book, I wanted to see the picture that Bronwyn sent Craig and Don to see at the library. This is mentioned in the end of the book and I found it on Wikipedia ... I think it is amazing ... still studying it to analyze its meaning. j

  • Jacqie
    2019-05-09 07:20

    This book is urban fantasy, but it's a much subtler urban fantasy than the ones you'll usually read about the witch private detective who also happens to be half vampire, who's attracted to a werewolf cop but can't admit it. The supernatural in this book is left almost untouched for most of the novel. It's mostly about family connections and a young woman trying to find her place after being through a horrible and traumatizing experience. Bronwyn used to be known as the Bronwynator to her town. She loved partying and loved guys, and had no interest in responsibility. Now, however, she is home to heal after being injured while stationed in dangerous country in the Army. She doesn't feel the same, and on top of that, signs point to a coming death in the family- she's worried it could be her mother. These signs are the ones of folklore, including an owl at the window, clocks starting and stopping, a gentle introduction into the supernatural that exists.Bronwyn is a First Daughter, a title that means something among the Tufa, but she doesn't feel ready to handle that responsibility yet. She's trying to heal, trying to find the music that has always been there for her before, and noticing a new preacher in town while dealing with boyfriends past and her reputation as a party girl.The plot in this book is secondary to characterization, which is why I enjoyed it so much. The author is good at presenting well-rounded characters and he writes them all with empathy despite their flaws. I really cared about what would happen. I was also curious to see exactly what was going on with the magic. The county where the Tufa live is hard to find, maybe weirdly hard. Charms and gestures seem to have an effect on how people feel and think. And then there's the night wind with its whispers and power. This book is written with a love of the South, a love of folklore and music, and a love of people at their most human. I rated it less than 5 stars because the plot was a bit uneven, but I'm eager to read more by this author.