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Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman

Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman
Book Name: Between Two Thorns
Author: Emma Newman
Publisher(s): Angry Robot
Formatt: Paperback / Audio Book / eBook
Genre(s): Fantasy / Urban Fantasy
Release Date: March 7, 2013

Emma Newman is, in the nicest possible way, crazy.

I’ll tell you how crazy she is. She’s spent the last year writing recording and uploading a short story on a different person’s blog every single week. Fifty-four stories in all. Fifty-four stories in a year. That’s more than some people write in a lifetime, and all leading up to the release of Between Two Thorns, her Angry Robot debut. All of the stories are set in the Split Worlds, the intricate backdrop to the novel.

The Worlds have been split, by sorcery, to imprison the Fae in the realm of Exilium, to keep them from interfering with mortal, non-magical humans (mundanes) in our world, Mundanus. In between Exilium and Mundanus lies the Nether – neither here nor there, where the Great Families live without aging, puppets of the Fae, trapped in a never-changing bygone era.

Cathy has escaped from the Nether into Mundanus, fleeing her restrictive life for a world of Xboxes, beer, and freedom. When her family drags her back to the Nether city of Aquae Sulis, she is drawn into a conspiracy that involves the most powerful Lords in Exilium, as well as a mundane man under a curse, a magical private eye with a broken soul, and a talking gargoyle.

All this world-building has paid off. The three worlds are all unique, noticeably different from each other; the warped idyll of Exilium, the modern world, and that of the Nether, where most of the story is set. The Nether is a grey, unchanging reflection of our own world, a society stifling under its silver sky. Small wonder Cathy yearns to escape into the vibrant, colourful now and the reader feels her pain as she is dragged back into the suffocating protection of her family, forced to live like a proper young lady, when it’s clear she is anything but.

Emma Newman weaves the strands of her story together with a deft touch; Max the Arbiter’s investigation, Cathy’s domestic troubles, and the fate of Sam, a man who decided to drunkenly take a leak where angels would fear to tread. At first it’s not clear how these stories link up – some characters vanish for chapters at a time – but it all comes together in the final third, only to leave the reader hanging completely at the end. A major thread has been resolved, but there are shocking revelations in the final few pages, and everything else is left wide open for the next book in the series.

If you like a bit of fairy magic, the juxtaposition between ancient and modern, here and there, and you don’t mind being left in suspense for a good few months, you’ll really enjoy it.



  1. Avatar Phil Norris says:

    This is a great read, loved the imagery of the three different worlds, and how the one that is seen as the prison is the most strikingly beautiful. Some interesting characters, thoughtful worldbuilding and a cliff to hang off at the end.

    Can’t wait for book two.

  2. […] this morning on Fantasy Faction. If you’d like to read it you can follow the linky here : and show it some […]

  3. […] or you can follow her on Twitter here. You can also read our reviews of Between Two Thorns here and here, or read her guest post on the evolution of her world […]

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