Review of Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman

SFFaudio Review

Between Two ThornsBetween Two Thorns (Split Worlds #1)
By Emma Newman; Performed by Emma Newman
Publisher: Angry Robot on Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: 26 February 2013
[UNABRIDGED] – 11 hours; 59 minutes

Themes: / alternate worlds / England / fantasy /

Publisher summary:

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?

Between Two Thorns is the first book in Emma Newman’s Split Worlds trilogy. The universe was debuted by the author in a series of weekly free short stories released over a year-long period leading up to this book’s release. The short stories are independent of the trilogy in the sense that it is not necessary to read them prior to the starting the trilogy, but can be read later to enhance the characters and the universe. The stories are available both as text and as audio and can be found on the Split Worlds website.

In regards to the audio, Emma Newman also happens to be a professional audiobook narrator with credits including science fiction and romance titles as well as recordings for Dark Fiction Magazine. I always find it interesting to hear an author narrate their own work, as there is arguably a certain degree of credibility gained which could be lost with another narrator. In the case of the Split Worlds series, I find it interesting to hear the author’s own take on the wide variety of characters in the universe ranging from angels, sorcerers, and gargoyles to wish-granting faeries. On a couple occasions, however, the characters seem to blend together and I had a little difficulty keeping track of who was who which is surprising given the diversity.

The Split Worlds universe provides an immersive and addictive environment for the reader. Part real-world Bath and part netherworld Aquae Sulis, the author has even conducted role-playing games set in the book’s world and invited reader participation. Between Two Thorns sets the tone pulling the reader in and it’s cliffhanger ending leaves one anxious to dive right into the sequel Any Other Name. (And I’m sure from that installment onto the conclusion.) I certainly plan myself to continue on with the next installment soon.

Posted by Dan VK.

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