This read along of Between Two Thorns was organized by the SF/F Read Along group on Goodreads, and has been broken down into four, one week chunks, each week participants are asked some questions on what they think so far.
There WILL be spoilers beyond this point – and Squeeing, lots and lots of squeeing!
As I’ve already mentioned, here is the breakdown of chapters listed here. (Click on the links to see my posts for those weeks!)
Week 1: Saturday 9th May, Chapters 1-9 hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow.
Week 2: Saturday 16th May, Chapters 10-18 hosted by On Starships and Dragonwings.
Week 3: Saturday 23rd May, Chapters 19-25 hosted by X+1.
Week 4: Saturday 30th May, Chapters 26-end hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.
The fantastic banner that I have blatantly copied and pasted onto this post was yet again put together by Anya at On Starships and Dragonwings, based on the original cover art of the Diversion Books edition. (Artist unknown at time of posting.)
Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman.
Beautiful and nuanced as it is dangerous, the manners of Regency and Victorian England blend into a scintillating fusion of urban fantasy and court intrigue.
Between Mundanus, the world of humans, and Exilium, the world of the Fae, lies the Nether, a mirror-world where the social structure of 19th-century England is preserved by Fae-touched families who remain loyal to their ageless masters. Born into this world is Catherine Rhoeas-Papaver, who escapes it all to live a normal life in Mundanus, free from her parents and the strictures of Fae-touched society. But now she’s being dragged back to face an arranged marriage, along with all the high society trappings it entails.
Crossing paths with Cathy is Max, an Arbiter of the Split Worlds treaty with a dislocated soul who polices the boundaries between the worlds, keeping innocents safe from the Fae. After a spree of kidnappings and the murder of his fellow Arbiters, Max is forced to enlist Cathy’s help in unravelling a high-profile disappearance within the Nether. Getting involved in the machinations of the Fae, however, may prove fatal to all involved.
Between Two Thorns is book One of the Split Worlds series by Emma Newman. There are currently three books in the series with (I believe) two more to come. (Book four comes out a little later this year!). There are also a small number of short audio (podcast published) stories in the series. Emma Newman has also organized a lavish LARP in Bath based on these books (In 2016). I couldn’t go, but have been told by friends that did – that it was bloody excellent!
This is my week four post.
Week 4: Covering Chapters 26-end hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.
Lynn: “Having concluded I find myself with plenty of queries still! Anyway, my questions are fairly standard end of book type ones. Apologies a bit later than planned.”
1. We seem to have a number of separate threads even by the end of the book – what do you make of it all so far. Were you surprised by any of the final revelations?
I was surprised that Will went along with Cathy and helped distract everyone, helping to bring about the fall of the Rosa’s. Not because it wouldn’t increase his standing in society (which probably helped), but because he seemed too rigid until this point!
I’m surprised the Sorcerer was so easily convinced to allow Sam to use his computer/programing to analyse the traffic of “Puppets” between the Nether and Mundanus.
2. What are your impressions of the world that Emma Newman has created here?
It’s a very rich world with very rigid rules, not just within the society of the Nether – but in the physics/meta-physiscs that rule the worlds of the Nether/Mundanus and Exilium and how they interconnect. The cultural world-building is also very intricate and complicated. I hope Cathy/or someone in these books will eventually be responsible for some sort of cultural revolution… it’s well overdue in the Nether.
3. Do you have any favourite characters so far? Any characters that you’re still not sure of and who do you positively dislike?
I’m loving the Gargoyle, I like Sam and Max. Cathy obviously! I’m not at all sure about the Sorcerer, Will or Lucy yet. As for Tom, not to mention Cathy’s parents/siblings – NOPE, Not a fan!
4. What are your predictions for moving into the next story?
I’ve previously mentioned a theory about why Sam was protected. I’m going to revise my theory. His wife is the one I now suspect of being protected, protecting Sam by proxy (wedding band). I think something is rotten in the heart of Londinium and I’m going to bet that the Rose/Rosa’s plot was just incidental. Is the boss of Sam’s wife a Puppet? Maybe a Fae Lord? I don’t know, but It’s going to be fun when we find out!
As for Max, I think we will eventually see him come a cropper for his Titanium medical pins/plates in his leg! Whether this is from the Sorcerers’ reactions or that of Lord Titanium, I couldn’t say!
Well that was the last part of the Between Two Thorns read along. Before I go, I’m going to ask some questions of anyone who has read along that’s just occurred to me.
If the houses and what -not in the Nether must be anchored to (and mirror) an identical structure in Mundanus to exist… what do you think would happen if a disaster struck a Mundanus side of the property? (What happens to everyone/everything within the building on the Netherside?)
If a Nether property has to be anchored… could it instead be anchored to something in Exilium?
If you have any theories (Not spoilers though!) why not let us know!
Anyway. That was Between Two Thorns, an incredibly enjoyable blending of the Urban Fantasy with a Regency and Victorian England setting(ish) and feel. Emma Newman has crafted a wondrous portal fantasy, where the lines between factions may not be as clear as you think, nor motives as obvious. I’m looking forward to book two, see you at the next Read Along!