Between Two Thorns is the first installment in the Split Worlds. An Urban Fantasy that explores three worlds, split apart.
The Nether stands between Mundanus (Our world) and Exilium (The world in which the Fae occupy). The Nether stands in a kind of bubble outside of time/progress/entropy. In the Nether you do not age, corpses do not decompose, there is no sky, no natural beauty. Exilium is bursting with more life than seems possible, and with that extra energy – terrible danger!
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.
Welcome to Aquae Sulis, The season is about to begin – I hope you survive the machinations of the players!
I gave this book a solid 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads – despite some uncomfortable plot points, It’s a very captivating book that has hooked me for the entire series.
I’m sorry to say I only recently got around to reading this, and now I’m kicking myself for waiting so long! Read as part of the May SF/F Read Along.
“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 shows the darkness beneath the glamour of the social Season. Learning to be a young lady has never seemed so dangerous.”—Mary Robinette Kowal, Hugo Award-winning fantasy author
“Emma Newman is an extraordinary new voice in SF/F.”—Paul Cornell, Hugo Award winner and author of LONDON FALLING and SAUCER COUNTRY”
~ Goodreads Description.
This review was based upon the ebook of the 2016 re-print by Diversion Books. The first three Split World books (including Between Two Thorns) were previously published by Angry Robot Books. (I also own the physical copies of the Angry Robot editions.)