So almost exactly a month ago, I read and reviewed The Hum and the Shiver. I really liked it, but for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to open the next Tufa novel. Maybe it was school starting back or a wave of new projects or my end of August moodiness (don’t ask), but it sat benignly on my shelf, wanting to be read or to go back to the library. So, I picked it up Friday evening and finished it a few hours later.
I was so scared Bledsoe would drop the ball on Wisp of a Thing, but these fears turned out to be totally unwarranted. He knows what he’s doing with this Appalachian tale of magic songs and long, unspoken histories.
Like in Hum, Bledsoe introduces an outsider character to get the wheels of the plot moving. A famous musician, Rob Quillen, has come to the Tufa land to find a song that can cure a broken heart. Because Rob was on that universe’s version of American Idol, and his girlfriend died in a plane crash on the way to see him for the finale. So he has major guilt about this. And other things. There is quite a bit of foreshadowing, and I drank it up like a fine homemade gravy.
Rob meets Bliss, EMT driver and regent of the good Tufas who debuted in Hum. Although Rob isn’t Tufa, he can suddenly see lots of things that the Tufas have hidden in plain sight, including grave inscriptions, their fae wings, and the hand signs they use to ward against evil. As he furthers his search for the magic song, Bliss lets him more deeply into the Tufa’s magical world, its fights, and a conflict that will reshape their valley for generations to come.
There’s not much you can say about this tight little story without giving too much away, which is pretty high praise. The main characters from the first book make reappearances, but by shifting the focus on to new characters, Bledsoe gives us a new perspective on the secret goings on in Tufa country.
The only thing that I had a weird time with was the titular wisp of a thing, a wild forest girl who has been cursed by the leader of the bad Tufas to disintegrate into nothingness at the end of the season. She becomes fixated on Rob for no good reason, and this fixation propels a good deal of the plot forward. Some of it seems a little convenient, but with the night winds playing the role of the gods in these tales, I guess chance and coincidence can seem a little forced. The very end when Rob leaves Tufa country didn’t make a lot of sense to me, but I can’t really say more without ruining all the goodness. I just hope it gets more…resolved in the next book.
Someone told me the Tufa Novels are only going to be a trilogy, and that makes me incredibly sad. They’re awesome, fast reads that always leave me wanting more.
JMF Rating: 7.5/10
‘Til next time,