Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman

Between Two Thorns is a 384 page fantasy novel–which takes place in The Split Worlds–by Emma Newman, published by Angry Robots in February 2013. The Split Worlds started as an ambitious project where Emma Newman wrote one short story every week for a year, to be hosted on different volunteering blogs. Having read one of Emma’s earlier books, 20 Years Later, I was asked to host a story, which I gladly accepted. The story I hosted is called “Knotty Secrets.” Reading all the stories is not necessary to understand the books, but it was a fun experience to read a new story every week. As for Between Two Thorns, I received an ARC of the book from NetGalley for review.

Between Two Thorns CoverThe plot is set in the Split Worlds–Mundanus: our world, Exilium: the Fae world, and the Nether: the world of the Fae-touched, a world where people do not age and society is stuck in a Victorian Englandesque age.  In the Nether, all houses are mirrors of houses in Mundanus. Between Two Thorns takes place in Aquae Sulis, the mirror city of Bath, England–and something is going wrong there. The Master of Ceremonies, the man who practically runs high society, has gone missing.

An Arbiter of the Split Worlds Treaty (allowing Exilium, Mundanus, and the Nether to live in peace) known as Max is charged with finding him. Meanwhile, Catherine Rhoeas-Papaver, a prominent daughter of the Nether, and the niece of the Master of Ceremonies is ALSO missing. She has been living in the human world after escaping the clutches of her aristocratic family. In another instance of meanwhile, a human named Sam fights with his wife, and goes out drinking, only to see a very strange event and wake up the next morning with no memory of what happened the night before.

These three plot lines go on throughout the book, while each character gets caught up in trying to find out what happened to the Master of Ceremonies. Newman weaves them together wonderfully. Although I didn’t find myself getting lost in most of the characters, I was (and still am) interested in the world that she created, especially Exilium. That’s honestly what I’m most excited about in book two–Any Other Name. Although, Catherine was an inspiringly rebellious girl, and I was very pleased at how Newman treated her romance in the novel. Her character defied some pretty typical, and generally annoying, traits that I’ve found many females to have in fae-related books.

While the plot of Between Two Thorns is an puzzling adventure somewhat like a magical whodunnit, it’s the characters’ relationships with the magical aspect of their world that really stands out. The fun spin on an aristocratic society functioning alongside present day Bath doesn’t hurt, either. I’m excited to see where Newman takes the story with book two, which I’m sure I will pick up before long.


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  1. Trackback: Summer Reading | Realm of Reviews

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