The Hum and the Shiver – Alex Bledsoe

About the book
No one knows where the Tufa camefrom, or how they ended up in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, yet whenthe first Europeans arrived, they were already there. Dark-haired, enigmatic,and suspicious of outsiders, the Tufa live quiet lives in the hills and valleysof Cloud County. While their origins may be lost to history, there are clues intheir music—hints of their true nature buried in the songs they have passeddown for generations.

Private Bronwyn Hyatt returns from Iraq wounded in body and in spirit, only toface the very things that drove her away in the first place: her family, herobligations to the Tufa, and her dangerous ex-boyfriend. But more trouble lurksin the mountains and hollows of her childhood home. Cryptic omens warn ofimpending tragedy, and a restless “haint” lurks nearby, waiting to revealBronwyn’s darkest secrets. Worst of all, Bronwyn has lost touch with the musicthat was once a vital part of her identity.

With death stalking her family, Bronwyn will need to summon the strength totake her place among the true Tufa and once again fly on the night winds. . . .
304pages (paperback)
Publishedon: September 27, 2011
Publishedby: Tor
Thanks to Tor for sending me a copy of thisbook to review.
Istarted reading this book the day I got it in the mail. I was attracted to itby the author’s name and the cover art. The cover art caused me to anticipate asomewhat subtle and soft story. With a new baby, soft and subtle is exactlywhat I need right now as my life is chaotic enough. Thankfully, the cover artdidn’t let me down. This is, coincidentally, also the first book I read(nearly) page for page to my daughter to get her to take naps. It worked, andfor that I loved it.
Ifyou are looking to read a book that has the same tone and style as the Eddie LaCrosse books (also by Bledsoe), you won’tfind it here. Where the Eddie LaCross books are ahumorous, bold, and fun adventure, TheHum and the Shiver is subtle, deeply woven and with a style of writing thatcan only be called lyrical and understated. One reason I mention this isbecause The Hum and the Shiver reallyshows how diverse of an author Alex Bledsoe can be, while retaining the samehigh quality story telling he got me used to with Eddie LaCrosse.
The Hum and the Shiver is a subtle bookwhich depends on descriptive, eloquent writing and great character developmentto keep the reader interested. Thankfully, it doesn’t slack on either part.This book, surprisingly, isn’t as plot driven as it is character driven. Due tothat, the characters really shine. They are incredibly three-dimensional andnone of them fit the standard molds you would expect. Bledsoe doesn’t shirk on highlighting both the strength and weaknesses of his characters, which causes them to seem incredibly realistic and starkly human. Even the supportingcharacters and villains are believable and incredibly realistic, which issomething I routinely complain about on my reviews. 
The Hum and the Shiver is a book thatslowly unfolds as you go and, like the music that fills the pages, develops arhythm that will pull many readers in. Though this is a subtle book, the plotand character development never cease. Each page adds more depth to everyaspect of this book, from the world to the characters. Bledsoe will really drawreaders in with this style of writing. Due to how subtle the book is, I wasn’teven aware how incredibly drawn into TheHum and the Shiver I was until it ended and I was jarred back to reality.Bledsoe made the mountains of Tennessee and their supernatural inhabitants asreal as my own living room and did it in such an understated way, I wasn’t evenaware of that fact until I put the book down.
Thereare several mysteries in The Hum and theShiver, but the one that seems to take center stage isn’t necessarily theone you would expect from reading the back of the book. While Bronwyn’s haintis quite a plot point, what takes up most of the room is discovering whatexactly the Tufa are. To do this, Bledsoe fills his book with plenty ofcompelling Tufa characters, but also a Methodist preacher who just moved to thearea to start a church and a newspaper reporter who is learning what being Tufareally means. The combination of inside and outside perspectives really makeshow this mystery is handed nothing short of incredible as each unique perspectiveadds a new dimension to the Tufa people and culture.
Thereis a crescendo with the plot where the mystery of the haint and the Tufa areall figured out and dealt with accordingly. It happens rather abruptly and,while many authors would have pumped up the ending to be somewhat Hulk-ish,Bledsoe kept his ending rather subtle and quiet and didn’t let it control thebook. Thus, The Hum and the Shiverisn’t about the impressive ending, but it’s about the journey the reader takesto get there, which I found to be the most satisfying part, anyway. Even thoughthe ending isn’t a gigantic production, it’s still fulfilling and fits the bookperfectly.
Inall, The Hum and the Shiver was anamazingly satisfying read. It was a subtle, eloquent and incredible treat whichreally showcased Bledsoe’s diversity as a writer. The characterization shines,the world is vibrant and well realized. Bledsoe deepens his characterizationand expands his world with each page which makes Bledsoe’s Tennessee Mountainsand the characters who live in them as real as the world around us. This isn’ta book that will satisfy everyone. Individuals who aren’t into slowdevelopments and subtle plots will probably want to look elsewhere. However, ifyou are a reader who is looking for a unique yet vibrant literary feast, youneed look no further.

One Responses

  • Katy

    I really liked this one too. The Tufa story seemed so genuinely rooted in reality (I could imagine them really living in Tennessee) and the author explored the characters' feelings in a way that resonated with me. 🙂

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