Title: Between Two Thorns
Series: The Split Worlds (#1)
Author: Emma Newman
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This was a whole lot of fun. Best of all, it’s first in a series (I think there’s going to be five books, and four are out), so we’re not nearly done with these characters, or this world. Or worlds, plural, as the case may be.
Catherine Rhoes-Papaver has escaped the Nether and made a life for herself in Mundanus, which we will recognize as our world–mundane, yes, when the other worlds are fae-touched. Unlike the other women of the Great Families, she wants more than what we recognize as similar to 19th-century court life and society. She wants to learn, to be an independent woman. So she did. She went to school, escaped her handlers, started seeing this great guy . . . and then Lord Poppy, her family’s patron, found her and it all went tumbling down.
There’s more to this story than one woman’s struggle with her family, though. Something happened to the Arbiters, sort of a peace-keeping force who make sure the fae-touched behave themselves in Mundanus. The only one left, as far as we know, is Max, and the gargoyle who currently holds his soul and so is kind of living at the moment. Together with the Sorcerer, and an unfortunate Mundanus man named Sam, they try to unravel what exactly happened, and how this is all connected with the blank night in Sam’s memory.
Meanwhile, Cathy–she prefers the shortened name to Catherine–is back in the Nether (in between Mundanus and Exilium, the faes’ domain), where she’s navigating the idea of an arranged marriage with the son of another of the Great Families and the society she hoped to have left behind forever. To add one more complication, her uncle, the Master of Ceremonies, has gone missing, and Cathy finds herself summoned by the Sorcerer to help figure out what exactly Sam knows about it.
This all sounds a little complicated, but it makes a lot more sense in the book, I promise. It’s a highly entertaining read, with a little romance, a mystery, and a lot of trying to escape an absolutely stifling society. Cathy is plucky and relateable, rebellious, and in some ways a 21st-century woman stuck in the 19th. Between Two Thorns had me turning pages faster and faster, until I realized, regrettably, that I had reached the end–and a cliffhanger. Now to pick up the next book and continue the story.
What I’m reading now: Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction, by Benjamin Percy and Shadowshaper (audiobook), by Daniel José Older.