Monday, 23 February 2015

The Split Worlds: Between Two Thorns

Image taken from Amazon

Whilst browsing our local Forbidden Planet in the run up to Christmas, I came across this series of novels by Emma Newman. I read the blurb on the back, and solely on the basis that they’re set in Bath (or it’s reflection in a fantasy world) decided to put them on my Christmas list.

It’s a story that’s difficult to explain in a short paragraph… there are three worlds: Mundanus, which is our world as we know it and whose residents are known as ‘mundanes’; Elixium, a beautiful land in which the Fae lords and ladies reside and is also a prison for those who have fallen out of grace from the high society; and the Nether, a world between Mundanus and Elixium, a reflection of various cities around the country. Catherine, born into high society in the Nether, runs away whilst at university in Mundanus in an attempt to avoid the old fashioned life with her family where she just doesn’t fit in. This first installment follows Cathy as she’s caught and taken back to the Nether. Alongside this, artiber Max discovers, through a series of unfortunate events, that the Bath chapter of his section has been infiltrated and has collapsed, so he is working with a sorcerer and a mundane, Sam, to find out what’s gone wrong. The two stories interlink and they find themselves working together to get to the bottom of the strange happenings.Oh and there's a kidnapping too.

I’ve lived within a 20-25 minute drive of Bath all my life; when I was at school, my friends and I got the bus into Bath most weekends to wander around the shops, go to the cinema or just hang out. Now I work in the centre of the city, and have done for six years. The streets that are mentioned in the book are ones that I have walked down. The buildings of Aquae Sulis, Bath’s mirror city, are buildings that I know. Somehow having that relation to the book, it made it all the more charming.

It’s written from three points of view; Cathy, Max and the mundane Sam. Switching between the characters kept it interesting, and there’s a reasonable amount of background story to backup each character, so you almost forgive Cathy for being a bit of a brat. Newman doesn’t go into so much detail on Max’s history, but I guess that keeps him mysterious.

I did feel at times like it was trying to hard to be ‘cool’; dropping in cult sci-fi and horror movies Cathy has watched, or books she had read felt a little unnecessary. Aside from that though, it was a pretty good read. It was a little slow to get going, but it’s an easy read that I found myself getting through quite quickly – and I’m a pretty slow reader! It does end on a real cliff hanger though – if you’re going to read it, I think you’re going to have to read the whole series for it to come to any kind of conclusion. I’ve started straight onto the second book and can’t wait to find out what’s happening!

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