Wisp of a Thing: A Novel of the TufaWisp of a Thing: A Novel of the Tufa by Alex Bledsoe

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

it’s a novel without characters, mostly.

stuff happens to (!!!) people with no past! except a few events… those necessary for the plotline anyway. but apart from necessary plot events, there seem to be no parents, or dreams, or hobbies, or foods they dislike, or remembrances of loved places, annoying habits, or any of the things that make us human. or fae, whatever.

so, brokenhearted guy goes on a quest to retrieve a mysterious song. he finds himself among mysterious people, and shit starts happening. the plot itself moves along at a decent enough clip, and it’s pretty rare to forget who’s who, so that’s all to the good. the writing, while unremarkable, isn’t torture. one gets some sense of place, which is crucial to a book like this, although one wishes he’d paid more attention to the natural world around him… sounds like it might be pretty turf. i think he would have done well to spend a little more time on it, so that one might walk away with the feel of the place as well as a few glimpses of the look.

but ultimately the characters are all pretty paper-thin, when they’re not actually cliche. our brokenhearted guy ranges from incapacitating sobs to full-on berserker rage, and we are told this quite clearly, but it’s quite impossible to feel it. he doesn’t have any heft, and neither does anybody else.

something i’ve been thinking lately: books should come with a rapey quotient. some of the women in this book sound like pretty tough cookies, when they aren’t amazonian cliches; it would have been nice to see them act on it, rather than just react. i mean, our main heroine has apparently all kinds of Powers, yet when the crunch comes, she mostly just crawls off into her bed. two women are victim to a sexual spell and can’t seem to disengage themselves from mr. spell-caster; another woman is victim of incest. on the whole, this book ends up with a pretty high rapey-number, and wowee does that get old.

so on the whole, it’s going directly into the resell pile. i’m not big on magic & fairies anyway, but this book did zip to improve my opinion of the genre.