I was all excited when I discovered that a used bookstore near me has a science fiction book club. I listened to the audio book of their pick. It was wretched, but I’m still looking forward to the meeting. Hopefully it will make for some interesting discussion!
I fully admit that urban fantasy is not my jam, so maybe this book is just fine and the fault was with the reader. However, the bratty, unlikeable main character (I refuse to call her the protagonist or heroine…she’s just too unpleasant) has lustful feelings for: a minister 10 years her senior, a 16-year-old boy, and…her father. Even if I liked the plot or the characters (I did not), that would’ve knocked off a star or two.
Bronwyn Hiatt is a Tufa (it occurs to me belatedly that I should look up some of these spellings, since I only heard the audio book…), a close-knit tribe of dark-haired people with good teeth (which gets mentioned an odd amount – who cares about their teeth?!?). She’s been away from home in the army for two years, and comes home a war hero after an event (that she doesn’t remember) that leaves 10 Iraqi soldiers dead, and Bronwyn with a bullet wound and a broken leg. Her Tufa family is very glad to have her home, because there have been Signs all over the place (owls in the daytime! broken clocks working again!) that someone in her family is going to die, and they need her there because she’s a First Daughter and therefore important.
That’s about all there is to the plot. People keep wanting to make Bronwyn do things she doesn’t want to do (act like a hero, help her family, be a decent damn person to her mother who might be dead soon), but she’s a rebel who wants to follow her own path. There are dark hints about what happened in Iraq, and a special ghost spirit guide shows up to tell her about it, and it feels like all this is leading up to something important, but no. Bronwyn yells childishly at the ghost (“you can’t tell me what to do!”), refuses the help to recover her memories, and the ghost goes away and we never get the story! Why make it such a huge deal if that’s not going to be a big plot point?
And then, we don’t find out until chapter 18, that the Tufa are fucking fairies. Oh, I’m sorry, I’m sure they spell it “faeries.” When they sing, they get gossamer butterfly wings and are able to “ride the Night Wind.” So, no carpool karaoke for the Tufa. There’s a reporter trying to interview Bronwyn as a war hero, there’s a new-in-town Methodist minister trying to figure out why none of the Tufa go to church (because they worship the Night Wind, duh), there’s an evil ex-boyfriend. None of it feels like plot, though. Things happen, Bronwyn whines, her family sings, a love story happens lightning-fast, and then things just peter out. I’m sure there are 37 more books in the series, but I refuse to read them, book club or no.
UPDATE POST-BOOK CLUB: They loved it! Two out of 15 of us did not like it, and they got very defensive when I tried to explain why it was too eye-rolly for me. Hmph.