Between Two Thorns - Emma Newman
Something is wrong in Aquae Sulis, Bath’s secret mirror city.
The new season is starting and the Master of Ceremonies is missing. Max, an Arbiter of the Split Worlds Treaty, is assigned with the task of finding him with no one to help but a dislocated soul and a mad sorcerer.
There is a witness but his memories have been bound by magical chains only the enemy can break. A rebellious woman trying to escape her family may prove to be the ally Max needs.
But can she be trusted? And why does she want to give up eternal youth and the life of privilege she’s been born into?
*Received in exchange for an honest review*
*Thank you Net Galley & Angry Robot*
This was such an enjoyable book. A massively different read from what I have been reading recently and it was like a breath of fresh air! This book had been sitting on my ridiculously large to-read pile so thank god for the Clean Sweep ARC Challenge which pushed me in the direction of this book.There is a mix of different characters and different 'types' of people. It had me reminiscing over my first attempt to memorise everything that was going on in the world of Harry Potter.
The story begins with an introduction to the drunk character of Sam. A human, or otherwise known in this series as a Mundane. I loved this play on words, such a stereotypical hierarchy already set in place from the beginning with the ones situated in the Nether and Exilium. The Nether is the place 'in between' Mundanus (our world) and Exilium (the world of the Fae). It is described as something which is 'neither here nor there', a perfect description. Sam witnesses an event which he shouldn't have, the carrying of a body by two interesting looking characters. Once caught, a charm is cast upon his memory to prevent his remembering of this event, intriguing us as readers and taking us on a journey to discover what exactly happened that night.
Alongside the story of Sam, we are introduced to our protagonist Catherine Rhoeas-Papaver, a young, strong-minded woman who longs to escape the constricting society of the Nether. We first meet her as she is living in Mundanus, attempting to carve out a 'normal' life for herself away from the pomp and circumstance of the Nether. I loved Cathy. I just hope, hope, hope that in the next book we see her fighting more for what she believes in. The ending of the story leaves us clinging for hope that she finally manages to escape. Diving straight into the next book after I have finished this review!
This story was so compelling and kept me eagerly flicking the pages to find out what was going to happen next. Newman gives us villainous characters that we love to hate, the creepy Lord Poppy who attempts to trap Cathy within his web of deceit, Cathy's father - an absolute tyrant, and Horatio, a figure out to destroy all in his path in order to achieve success - especially Will and Cathy. Alongside our villains we have characters we adore. I loved Sam, the Mundane, Cathy and Will. Will is Cathy's fiancée and a character I wasn't sure that I was going to like. However, he is brave, proud and is not afraid to defend those that he cares about. I couldn't complete this review without mentioning Max, the Arbiter, whose goal is to discover what went on that night with Sam. He is assigned to discover what happened and why the Master of Ceremonies is missing.
This story is an Austinesque fantasy, filling every chapter with action. I loved learning about this new world and am looking forward to sinking my teeth into the next book!