BETWEEN TWO THORNS.
By Emma Newman.
Angry Robot Books.
On a night out after work Sam’s had one too many beers and all he wants is to get home. Unfortunately his bladder is interfering and a detour into the grounds of a museum leads Sam into the middle of something his alcohol-addled brain can’t quite understand. Two strange beings and one faerie later, Sam is under a Fool’s Curse with his memories bound in chains and one hell of a hangover.
Cathy is in hiding from her family and the Shadow Charm has been keeping her well concealed in the mundane world. After all this time she has become used to living among humans, but the knowledge that her family would not have given up the search stays with her. Now, a visit from a Lord of the Fae Court can only signal danger, and Cathy finds herself unceremoniously forced into making three wishes with the express purpose of impressing the Fae Lord.
Max, Arbiter and dislocated soul, is investigating missing women in London – technically not his patch but he’s choosing to temporarily ignore that little detail – when he stumbles across a much larger problem. Something is wrong, and Max will soon be fighting for his life, dealing with sorcerers and forced into an entirely new mission. The Master of Ceremonies has gone missing and Max has to make sense of the clues.
Newman paints a beautiful, magical world in this, the first of a trilogy about The Split Worlds and the colourful cast of characters that inhabit them. The characters are a great strength, all likeable and suitably interesting, each with their own foibles and desperate desires. They are well drawn, with depth enough to endear them to the reader.
Between Two Thorns follows the stories of each character as they deal with their individual missions and challenges, and the eventual intertwining of the various sub plots adds great depth to the writing and works flawlessly to deliver a well-rounded story. That said, this is definitely the beginning of a trilogy so many plot elements are left unexplained in this volume.
Nonetheless this book has a fantastic ending and marks a solid start to a great new fantasy trilogy that will be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys urban fantasy, stories about the Fae and detective stories. There are also some underlying themes in here, such as Cathy’s growing up in an old fashioned world where women are oppressed, that provide a good contrast to the modern day problems she and Sam encounter in the mundane world.