The Hum and the Shiver

The Hum and the Shiver

Alex Bledsoe

Tor Fantasy (paperback)

349 pages

I have a not so secret dream, one that keeps me reading through urban and rural fantasy, only to discard most of them before I finish them.

I want a series that has fantastical elements, but avoids most of the urban fantasy tropes-it’s all well and good if you’re looking for a romance series with an overly attractive super special man with pointy ears or whatever. That’s fine, if that’s your thing, and there’s plenty of them out there to fill that niche.

But I feel like there’s a void in the genre where a middle ground shows up-where the people aren’t necessarily human, the situations aren’t necessarily ‘normal’, but the fantastical sort of lurks in the edges. Something seen but not necessarily commented on. If the character is fae, awesome, but I don’t want to be hit over the head with how gorgeous, amazing, bizarre they are.

Bledsoe’s Tufa novels are the closest that I’ve found yet. Bledsoe writes like he’s telling a story out loud (which is a strength here) which makes for a read where you don’t feel like you’ve spent a lot of time with the book but have managed to finish a 100 pages. The characters are believable and sympathetic. As much as the plot centers on their differences (which are there), the same situations would still be entertaining if those elements were removed. The book falls much closer to magical realism than to ‘true’ urban fantasy and that may be the saving grace of the book-these things are accepted as just being, and while some space is spent in universe building, the writing is actually fairly restrained in that area.

Bronwynn Hyatt returns home to Cloud County Tennessee after being injured while serving in Iraq. Returning home would be hard enough but she is forced to address situations that she left behind after enlisting, and the rumors surrounding both herself and her family-family that local folklore claims has been in the hills when the first European settlers arrive. The tensions that she left behind threaten to destroy both her and her family unless she addresses both her past and her future.

 

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