Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Between Two Thorns - Emma Newman

As mentioned in my previous post, I love buying people presents. However, being slightly skint at Christmas meant that I had to set myself a £10 limit on everyone's presents, which meant I mostly ended up going for a book + chocolate orange combo. So of course, I had to choose the MOST ABSOLUTELY PERFECT BOOK OF ALL BOOKS EVER. I didn't mention in my previous post but I get really really overenthusiastic about recommending stuff to people and then as soon as I've done so I suddenly get incredibly insecure abut whether or not they'll like it. Which is odd because I've never judged someone harshly on a recommendation they've given me, even if I didn't like it I never viewed it as a bad reflection on them (unless you know, it was truly awful and horrific), but there you go. The concluding point of all of this is that I bought my mum this book for her Christmas because I thought she'd like it, and she actually loved it which made me super happy! She was very insistent that I read it soon so we could talk about it, so I did!

I remember spotting this book in Waterstones last year and thinking it looked interesting, but I bought it for mum because it's set in Bath which is near where we live and one of my mum's favourite places. I actually really love when books are set around places I know well, I get a little glow being like "I have been to this place they are describing!" I also really really love stories about fairies. This is definitely something carried over from my childhood. I spent hours running round the garden trying to find fairies, although these were the innocent flower fairy type ones. Then I started reading more books that explore the whole trickster untrustworthy fae type thing which I find really really interesting! For example, stuff like Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and, my absolute favourite, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente. I might love fairytale inspired books EVEN MORE than I love books that riff off of Greek mythology, which is saying something!

Now, onto my reactions:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I'm definitely going to buy the rest of the series because I'm really interested to see where it's going to go next. In a way it's a very familiar story; you have a magical society that's very Victorian, plus a protagonist who wants to escape and carve out a different life for themselves etc. But there were a lot of things about this that made it stand out a bit.

My favourite thing by far about this book is Cathy herself. I absolutely adore her! Fact is, if I was in her situation I would also want to run away from an oppressive Victorian society and go study at uni and watch sci fi shows and generally enjoy all the benefits of electricity and hot water and the like. Plus it's a tiny detail but I love how much she swears. I just think it's way more realistic! I don't dislike William but I also don't love him either. I'm interested to see how he develops in further books; he has the potential to grow into a really likeable character or he could turn into an utter prick. We shall see!

Another detail I really liked was that of the Arbiters. They are essentially the equivalent of the police force, except in order to be an Arbiter you have to have your soul disconnected from your body. When they want to file reports and suchlike, they use statues as vessels for their souls and communicate through them, which sort of means you have moments where the person is interacting with themselves, but it's like two completely different people arguing over things. It's really interesting and I'm intrigued to see what happens to the character of Max.

This book definitely reminded me of a lot of things, but it also had enough of its own original ideas that it didn't feel old. There are so many different elements that I'm really interested to see develop so I need to get my hands on Any Other Name soon!

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