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2.5 stars This second book in Alex Bledsoe s Tufa series was interesting, and gave us of an entry into the world, magic, and music of the Tufa people This urban fantasy series, which I think of as rural fantasy, is very character driven The characterizations are what hold the story together, in my opinion, as the plot threads do not all quite connect However, I experienced a growing dislike of the main character, a musician and troubled outsider named Rob, and that took away some of the enjoyment Though his quest to find a healing song was relatable, his nasty temper was never fully explained The lead Tufa characters, such as Bliss, Curnen, Mandalay, and even Rockaway, were fun to get to know There were also revelations about the clans historical fairy beginnings The character Bliss Overbay, first introduced in book one, has a major role in this sequel The author, Alex Bledsoe, gives us several strong women in this tale, including Bliss She is initially portrayed as a competent leader, a sort of regent for her side of the clans There s an interesting split between her private human life and its concerns, and her less frequent public appearances as a mesmerizing singer She is still somewhat of a mystery, and while she also uses her unexplained magic infrequently, it is clearly powerful stuff However once Rob s motivations become the driving force in the plot, there are times when Bliss responds almost subserviently For example, fearing his anger, when previously she d threatened to take his life Her potency in her role as a leader completely devolved, in unbelievable ways, as Rob s choices took over the plot There are too many other characters to go into detail about, here, but some I hope to see of, in book three.Spoiler Alert AND Trigger Warning, to follow In one thread of the plot, a side character named Stoney was basically a serial sexual abuser with a magical ability to draw women to him this created a base for a certain plot element, but also angered me, in that nothing was done to stop him, and his actions were virtually tolerated by most characters Yes, this is a fantasy series, and fiction stories are pretend Bad things happen The best fairytales have darkness and a touch of violence But with a realistic, present day setting, I wanted him to be stopped Instead, when one of the most admirable characters has a chance to do so, she instead makes a choice that will keep the Tufa hidden and together, but will also continue the status quo At this point, I examined this mainly admirable character s overall actions throughout the book, and found them inconsistent too often based on what was required to keep the plot rolling, rather than on what her character s established personality as a sort of guardian would cause her to do I was disappointed by what I felt was unrealistic in the theme of the tale, and angered by the casual attitude toward rape I should add that there are thankfully no graphic descriptions, at the very least.There were some other generalizations about hillbillies and mountain people that also began to become annoying I understand that the author is from West Tennessee himself, and feels entitled to characterize a group that he finds familiar, even while adding in his own fae theme Nonetheless, in this tale, the majority of the hillbilly bad guys were overweight, or cooking meth, or had a heavy or bony brow and chewing tobacco stains down the front of their denim overalls while in human form In contrast, the good hillbillies were thin and attractive, and they dressed a tad better Also, it was obvious that in this close to a fairytale world, clear demarcations were needed between Good and Evil It was just that these demarcations became too stereotypical when the hillbilly element was over emphasized I suppose it comes down to many of the subtleties having been lost that were present in the first book Bledsoe s debut Tufa book, The Hum and the Shiver, had a yearning, aching, grieving feeling, somewhat similar to Winter s Bone by Daniel Woodrell , that was lost in this second book, Wisp of a Thing I do plan to read the next Tufa book, whose blurb sounds promising, and possibly continue after that I hope to rediscover some of the gritty magic from the The Hum and the Shiver, with far fewer of the things that annoyed me personally Edited later in the day downgraded from 3 stars to 2.5, because the longer I reflect, this tale disappointed me far than it entertained me Certain comments added at the asterisks. My previous exposure to Alex Bledsoe had been through several of his Eddie LaCrosse books, which I enjoyed as good pulpy fun I had heard of his Tufa series, though, and it sounded intriguing, so when the second book in the series popped up at our annual library sale, I snapped it up This week, when I had one of those evenings where I was working but most of my time could be spent sitting and reading, I took this and another book with me The other book, Seanan McGuire s Chaos Choreography, I ended up loaning to another person working the event, and she loved it, but I did not get to read it.Note The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook Ahhh a real treat of a read and a worthy follow up to his 2011 book The Hum and the Shiver This man can t write fast enough to please me I want MORE about his fantastical Tufa people in the the Tennessee mountains This is clever, creative world making for those who like their fantasy firmly grounded in an otherwise ordinary world, and who relish the notion that music can have transformative power Aspiring musician Rob Quillen feels called to Cloud County after a personal tragedy and finds he has an unexpected role to play in a struggle for power among the area s peculiar Tufa, the black haired mountain folk who may or may not be than they seem and whose first daughters wield quiet authority The ending gives hope that there may be another novel about the young woman Curnen, who almost became the wisp of the title although Bledsoe, tantalizingly, did NOT follow up much on Bronwyn HYatt s story from the first novel, but took readers off on a totally new tangent here I m hooked No need to read the first book before diving into this one I need to find an audio version of one of these books and see if someone has managed to find music to echo the tunes so eloquently described here Did find an audio CD later no music on it Rats This is Fantasy with a touch of Magical Realism It is also book 2 in the Tufa series I liked the story line a little with this one than I did with the first book The characters were interesting, and plus it was a different cast compared to the first in this series There was also a strong theme of doing the right thing just because it was the right thing to do This was like 3.5 stars, but I will round up to 4. I enjoyed this outing into the present day world of the Appalachian Fae Singer songwriter Rob travels to Needsville love the name , Tennessee, looking for a song that will sing away his grief at the loss of his girlfriend Guy that told him about the song was wearing sequins but they were backstage at the Opry at the time, so never mind In Needsville he finds what he needs and then some, at considerable personal risk Strong sense of place and some solid characters, starting with Rob, who has unexpected depths, and the part Fae, part not population of Cloud County There is Doyle the mechanic and his Fae lovestruck wife, Berklee There is the truly icky Rockhouse Hicks and his wounded daughter slash lover Curnen ick, Bledsoe s really pulling out all the stops on putting a new twist on that old marrying their sister back country trope Especially there is Bliss Overbay, the I have to say pretty laissez faire guardian of this motley crew, as in she s ready to kill Rob before the night winds tell her not to just roll with it Some good lines, too, like The building s interior seemed bigger inside than it had appeared outside, like a hillbilly TARDIS.andGerms and Jesus, that s all I ever hear about, the boy said in a voice too weary for his age Germs and Jesus And you know something You can t see neither one of them Definitely a book that will keep you out of the woods At least these woods Worth reading. This book is a treasure a feast for mind and heart and soul Vibrant, lyrical, and filled with the beauty of music and the wildness of the mountains as well as the harsh realities of living amid a strange people who are both and less than human It is the ultimate modern fairy tale Its spirit will resonate in my bones long after the specific words have faded from memory It may be a novel, but it is not a work of fiction Just the opposite, for it contains the essence of all that is real and true about life Including, of course, a difficult, believable, and satisfying tale of love.And don t let my babbling admiration for this book and its author mislead you This is also simply a rousing good story, which will grab you on page one and not let you go until you reach the end.Five stars and a round of applause for Alex Bledsoe This is his best book yet And that s really saying something. Casually picked up at the new books section at the library Enthralling story and fascinating characters A bluegrass musician, Rob, grief stricken after the death of his girlfriend, is told by another musician to go to a certain town in Tennessee in the Smokies and to search for a particular song, that it would heal his broken heart and it wouldbe on a hill, carved in stoneSo he sets out on his quest The inhabitants of the small town, the Tufa, are a closed eccentric society magical and musical They are suspicious of outsiders, and even sinister The book is a combination of fantasy mystery with even a whiff of horror A girl has been cursed and becomes feral If by the time the last leaf falls from what the villagers call the Widow s Tree, she will become a wisp of a thing Rob searches for the song and becomes involved in the politics of the town, uncovering secrets long hidden and rousing the animosity of some of the inhabitants The novel becomes a race against time.This novel was not my usual reading material, but I couldn t tear myself away The author based his fictional insular society on one actually existing in the Appalachians the Melungeons and their legends. Music, magic, broken hearts the thing country music is made of In this case, though, it is to cope with one, that makes singer songwriter Rob Quillen head to Cloud County He was a contestant on a talent search TV show, who very publicly, very tragically, experienced the death of his sweetheart He heads to mountains in search of a song he s heard of which will ease his heart, erase the pain What he finds instead are the Tufa, a people who predate earliest settlers, and who may, or may not must most likely may have faerie blood in them, either diluted or full As Rob begins his search for words written in stone, he encounters locals, many of whom are none too happy to have him in their town He also attracts the attentions of a feral girl who prowls the area At the same time, another visitor to the area has gone missing When I read the first book in this series of Bledsoe s, The Hum and the Shiver, I really liked it I was out in search of the next book that my book club is reading, but saw this on the shelf of new arrivals, and grabbed it with glee Bledsoe didn t disappoint Nor did he make this a sequel, though some characters have cameos in this book from the last Instead, it is another tale of the Tufas, and has made me a happy reader. More reviews The BiblioSanctumRob Quillen is a musician known for being one of the final contestants on a reality show called So You Think You Can Sing Despite that, Rob really isn t one of those fifteen minute famer types and really loves music After the tragic death of his girlfriend in a plane crash, he s directed by a mysterious stranger to go to Cloud County, Tennessee where he ll learn a song that will mend broken hearts Rob is not a Tufa, but is often mistaken as one because of his looks, which he attributes to being part Filipino As strange as the stranger s words are to him, Rob travels to Needsville in search of this musical balm for his soul He s not sure if he believes he ll find it, but he needs something to take his mind off his tragedy and get him away from people who know his face What he finds in Needsville is mystery, an ages old power struggle, and secrets that could change the Tufa forever Caught in the middle of this all is the sister of one the First Daughters, a feral Tufa woman who roams the woods.This second book proved to be much political in terms of how the Tufa live and what their future holds As I mentioned in the last book, despite most people thinking the Tufa are all one people, they are actually two factions who are vying for power The true villain of these books who is actually both father and villain, in a sense has his plots revealed Unlike the two villains of the last book, there s depth to this character and his villainy His presence means to the Tufa people, and his possible demise also leaves all the Tufa in a state of flux, wondering what will happen to them if he ceases to exist This book explores the depths of cruelty and how deep hatred can run, even for those people should protect and love Bledsoe plays around with some interesting lore and ideas where the Tufa are concerned, and I ve enjoyed seeing where he takes their story.I can t stress enough that these are not pretty, flowery books There s plenty of violence and language Life in the mountains is hard, even for the Tufas Because there s focus on finding out who and what the Tufa are, you don t get as many snatches of random songs as in the last book instead you get portents and history, especially the history of where this bad blood comes from However, the songs you do get in this book tell stories just as powerful as the last, and you get longer, fleshed out musical tales, which makes up for it because it probably all evens out in the end Beauty is expressed in their music, but still there s so much tragedy in it, as well, expressing the ordeals and hardships of the Tufa life.I did listen to this one nearly the whole way through this time, but I was able to better pay attention this time even with Rudnicki s deep, lulling voice I think it helped tremendously that there was only one narrator for this book instead of having various breaks in the story as the narrator changes That works for some stories, but this definitely benefited from only having one narrator Still no singing, though, so if you re interested in these books because you expect to get some off key narrator singing, don t bother The verses are chanted, which is probably the best deal for the narrator and readers alike.These books do an amazing job of being very accessible to new readers and acting as standalones Sure, the same characters show up, but Bledsoe provides an amazing amount of context to what they mean to the story, even down to having some passages read almost exactly the same from the previous books You won t get lost regardless of which book you start with it seems, but for even context about the Tufa, I m sure you should get around to reading the first book at some point as the politics seem to be becoming a larger focal point now than in the first book where it was only beginning to burgeon, even though you know something s simmering underneath the surface.I wasn t supremely happy with the wording of the very last line of the ending or the epilogue type thing that follows, especially depending on how the next story goes as far as that epilogue goes Rob could sometimes come off as a special snowflake since he is definitely not Tufa I liked that he didn t learn that somewhere on his great great great grandmother s side he had a Tufa relative, but there were times when things were just a little too convenient for Rob Also, it would ve been nice to learn about Rob and his anger issues I did like that, even though Rob wasn t Tufa, he had the music in his soul and didn t need that qualifier to make him a musician who had music in his bones I found this story just as engaging as the first as of the Tufa s true nature comes to light This also means that the story becomes whimsical as readers learn truths about the Tufa people Whether you prefer the grounded magical realism of the first book or the magical realism blended with magical fantasy of this one will totally be up to you as the reader I enjoyed both Side note A painting mentioned in both this book and the prior book is a real painting I had to go stare at it a while on Wikipedia. ^Download E-pub ☠ Wisp of a Thing (Tufa, #2) ☙ Alex Bledsoe S The Hum And The Shiver Was Named One Of The Best Fiction Books Of By Kirkus Reviews Now With Wisp Of A Thing Bledsoe Returns To The Isolated Ridges And Hollows Of The Smoky Mountains To Spin An Equally Enchanting Tale Of Music And Magic Older Than The HillsTouched By A Very Public Tragedy, Musician Rob Quillen Comes To Cloud County, Tennessee, In Search Of A Song That Might Ease His Aching Heart All He Knows Of The Mysterious And Reclusive Tufa Is What He Has Read On The Internet They Are An Enigmatic Clan Of Swarthy, Black Haired Mountain People Whose Historical Roots Are Lost In Myth And Controversy Some People Say That When The First White Settlers Came To The Appalachians Centuries Ago, They Found The Tufa Already There Others Hint That Tufa Blood Brings Special GiftsRob Finds Both Music And Mystery In The Mountains Close Lipped Locals Guard Their Secrets, Even As Rob Gets Caught Up In A Subtle Power Struggle He Can T Begin To Comprehend A Vacationing Wife Goes Missing, Raising Suspicions Of Foul Play, And A Strange Feral Girl Runs Wild In The Woods, Howling In The Night Like A Lost SpiritChange Is Coming To Cloud County, And Only The Night Wind Knows What Part Rob Will Play When The Last Leaf Falls From The Widow S Tree And A Timeless Curse Must Be Broken At Last