Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Mini-Review: Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman

A while back I was looking for four things in my next book to read: 1) something relatively quick and light to read, 2) something written by a woman (I haven’t read many books written by women so far this year, so I wanted to mix it up), 3) something that was not being widely read and reviewed by other bloggers I tend to follow, and 4) something that was on my e-reader. Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman (Indiebound, Book Depository, Amazon) fit the bill on all accounts, and was especially appealing because I seem to like urban fantasy set in Britain and I’ve travelled to and enjoyed my stay in Bath, which is the primary setting for the book.
Between Two Thorns is clever in its basic construct – it mashes Regency Fantasy with the modern world as it mixes Fae with Humans. It also surprises in that it doesn’t turn out to be indistinguishable from paranormal romance, as it lacks a traditionally structured romantic plot, though I’d happily argue that the plot is definitely the set up for just such a romance.
In its execution, Between Two Thorns is a bit less successful. The writing at times feels clunky, and I quickly became annoyed that Newman steadfastly follows the rule that every chapter must end with a cliffhanger. When combined with just a few too many points of view and converging plots, the pacing of the book really suffers at times. It also fails to be all that original – the set up is fun and interesting, but it’s still just another story about a young woman breaking out of gender-based roles in society. Yes, that is a valuable topic, and yes it was done well in the book, but Between Two Thorns fails to distinguish itself from numerous other urban fantasy stories that set out to do the same thing.
In the end, the book was more enjoyable than tedious and it certainly met my criteria of light and quick. I have a copy of the second book of the Split Worlds trilogy, Any Other Name (Indiebound, Book Depository, Amazon), and I haven’t yet decided if I’ll read it or not. I can see this book working very well for some, but is perhaps just a bit too ‘meh’ for me to have much more to say.

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