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Between Two Thorns Mass Market Paperback – 30 Dec 2014


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Angry Robot (30 Dec 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857665472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857665478
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,380,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Pablo Cheesecake (The Eloquent Page) TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 2 Mar 2013
Format: Paperback
One of the delights of starting any new urban fantasy novel is uncovering the rules of the new worlds you've just discovered. Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman tells the story of the Fae, and long-lived humans, referred to as the Fae touched, who all live a seemingly idyllic Victorian era existence in mirror images of Bath and various other cities throughout the world. Everything seems perfect, but beneath the paper-thin veneer of civility, power struggles and politics threaten to tear their society apart.

The best examples of the urban fantasy genre all have one thing in common. They ensure that their narrative is backed up by a whole heap of rock solid world building. This is where I think Between Two Thorns really excels. Newman has obviously spent time considering not only how the denizens of the worlds she has created would live side by side, but also how they would interact with one another. The Fae are an aloof bunch, seldom seen and seemingly only interested in themselves. Meanwhile, the Fae touched, those that live in the spaces between our world and the world of the Fae, are just as bad. They live in fear of their powerful Fae masters but care little for us poor old mundanes, their name for us normal humans.

Max is an interesting character, his role as an Arbiter (think magically-enhanced private detective/policeman) has changed him in ways we would find difficult to comprehend. He is charged with locating a missing dignitary and trying to keep the peace. Assisting him is a cantankerous sorcerer, an empathic gargoyle, a librarian and a computer programmer who just happened to be in the wrong place in the wrong time. They are an eclectic bunch and great fun to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Theresa M. Derwin on 22 Mar 2013
Format: Paperback
In this new Urban Fantasy, part one of the Split Worlds trilogy, we meet young Cathy, or Catherine Rhoeas-Papaver, a woman who wants to escape the constraints of her faux Victorian existence in Aquae Sulis, the Nether mirror image city of Bath, a magical place in which the Fae co-exist with selected humans. Cathy has escaped and is living hidden in Manchester Munadnus (the real world) hiding out from her family. She is doing well until she is found by Lord Poppy, Lord of the Fae Court who insists she return to the Nether for her coming of age. He removes the charm from her that hides her from her family, so before you can blink, she is dragged back to Aquae Sulis by her brother Tom and informed by her father that she is to marry young William, a highly prised stud from the Iris family.

Whilst all of this is going on, Max, an Arbiter (magically-enhanced private detective/policeman), is investigating the disappearance of humans from Mundanus and the disappearance of Cathy's uncle, a powerful politician in the world of the Nether.

It is when we enter the world of the Nether and Aquae Sulis that things really sparkle (though not in a horrible vampire/fairy way). Newman's world building is exemplary, as is her characterisations. Max in particular with his 'partner' the gargoyle (I will say no more here) is great fun. As Cathy has to relearn her manners, there are plenty of moments to find humour.

I am not going to fill out this review with a mass of reasons why this book is so good. I'm just going to share this; I started reading and was enamoured. I read this on my kindle, and suddenly looked to see I was fifty percent in and wondered how I'd got there. I then looked and saw I was sevent-five percent in and got upset. Why?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Liberty Gilmore on 23 Mar 2013
Format: Paperback
I struggled to get into this one, and it took me some time to realise why. On the surface, it has everything I like in a novel - fantasy worlds, fairies and even a splash of the social intrigue that I enjoy in historical novels about court life. And it's set in Bath. As an ex-resident of the city, I carry a certain, biased fondness for anything set within its streets.

But despite all this, I just couldn't get going with it. I picked it up, read a little, put it down, read other books, and was generally unmotivated just to get it finished. I hate not finishing books, especially ones that I receive for review, so I plodded on with it and towards the end it did start to get a bit better. But not enough to payoff the slow start.

I think Between Two Thorns suffers for its multiple POV structure. There are several major players - some introduced early then promptly forgotten about, others not introduced 'til halfway through then given an inordinate amount of attention. It just felt a bit disjointed, and I couldn't decide who was important.

It's always the risk with multiple POV books that readers will like one character more than the others and consequently skip sections to get back to them, and I did feel a desire to do that in the early stages, before the disparate threads of narrative started heading towards a point of convergence.

When the climactic point of the narrative came together, it was quite a good payoff, and I enjoyed watching it all unravel. However, I was immediately then annoyed by the quite abrupt `Now you have to buy the next book' ending. I don't mind a bit of a cliffhanger, but there has to be some resolution. As I got to the final few percent on my Kindle, I just kept thinking `there is not enough space to wrap this up satisfactorily.
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