There’s a difference between theory and practice. In science, theories are meaningless without the empirical evidence to support them. In fiction—no matter how brilliant the idea—the execution of a story is everything. Here, it fails.
In theory, reading about two worlds co-existing in modern Britain and reading about the adventures of the fae in the mundane worlds sounds intriguing. The possibilities of seeing different cultures clash and compete are endless. In practice, every author has to choose a line to walk on. I don’t think Emma Newman has any idea which line she’s straddling let alone how to tread on it.
The problem lies with the characters. It’s not that they’re particularly horrid—I actually liked that they were described either as ugly or dull—and unlikeable. It’s not even the fact that Cathy is the most frustrating, spineless, insipid heroine I’ve stumbled on recently. It’s that their characterisations aren’t properly supported by their actions. Both the fae and the mundane talk and think alike. Even Max, the most interesting character of the bunch, doesn’t quite act like someone whose soul has been disconnected is apparently supposed to act.
It’s like Newman created these rules for herself and then forgot to follow them. That is, if there were any rules to begin with. Never did I get the sense that the author had fully internalised and adopted this alternative world she had created, let alone that she’d fully applied it to the characters she was writing about.
And with that, whatever there may have been unique about the story—about the idea of a few young, rebellious fae touched challenging Nether’s customs and traditions—unravels into an uninteresting mess.
I’m not a fan of fairies, but I never open a book wanting to hate it. Between Two Thorns had its chance to win me over and it failed. I started skimming and speed-reading around 20% mark and only stopped a few times to read scenes with Will in them.
P.S. Every time I wrote the word mundane, I wanted to substitute it with the word muggle.
I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
Series: The Split Worlds #1
Pages: 384 (paperback)
Publisher: Angry Robot ISBN: 9780857663207
Published: February 26th (expected)