My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have been interested in, and put off, reading this book for years. I regret not picking it up when I first saw it, because it’s so good. Appalachia, magical music, clan feuds, fairy-folk–so many of my boxes checked off. Bledsoe cuts directly to the heart of his stories; he did the same in The Sword-Edged Blonde, which I discovered later but read first. I appreciate jumping right in to a good action-oriented story that still keeps characters at its heart.
Bledsoe has a great ear for dialogue, a keen sense of people, and delivers a great tale. Even when he’s being coy and revealing things slowly to the readers, the characters aren’t falsely coy in their thoughts and actions as a substitute for good writing. Bronwyn isn’t hiding things from the reader; she is locking things away from herself or admitting that she isn’t ready to deal with them yet. Her feelings and actions are, in a very real way, often sideways to the truth of things until she’s ready or forced to confront the problem. She also lives in a closed society where speaking openly of these secrets is taboo, so we’re treated to a lot of aborted conversations and warnings about responsibilities and consequences that ratchet up the tension and make the little pieces of the story behind the story that much more satisfying when we finally uncover them.