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Book Review

Book Cover

Glass Thorns


Author: Melanie Rawn
Titan Books
RRP: £7.99, US $9.99
ISBN: 978 1 78116 660 4
Available 28 December 2012

The war is over and new generations are making their way in the world, for the young Cayden Silversun that means being a Tregetour, a maker of tales for the theatre. A child of his time Cayden is part wizard, part Fae and part Elven, a combination which allows him access to strong magic, which he uses to entertain. His gift does not come without a price, Cayden suffers from prescience, plagued by visions of a future which may be, he is able to change the course of his own history and often that of his friends. However there is one future which terrifies him, that of the Elven Mieka, who joins his troupe of players. With Mieka’s help Touchstones performance enable them to enter the kingdom's most prestigious theatrical competition, the Trials...

Glass Thorns: Touchstone is a new fantasy novel from Melanie Rawn, best known for her Dragon Prince and Dragon Star series of novels.

With her new series she has taken a theatrical setting with Cayden and his three friends performing. The performances involve magic to create a form of on-stage CGI for the audience, providing the audience with both images and emotional responses.

At four hundred and thirty-one pages this is a long book for the paucity of content. Much of the book is given over to descriptions of the troupe’s performances as they travel around the realm. There is a subplot involving Cayden’s prophetic visions of Mieka’s future and the impact it has on Cayden, which doesn’t really go anywhere in the first book.

The two things which you get from the book are Rawn’s love of language, making the book a good, well constructed, read and her love of the characters, which perversely, has extended the tale past its logical length. The subplot is not particularly gripping and it is not enough to disguise the fact that, with numerous descriptions of Touchstone performances, that the last third of the book is repetitive.

The book is very character driven, with each having differing amounts of troll, elf, human and fae in them, providing differing strengths and weaknesses. How or why this racial intermixing took part is never explained and didn’t really make any real sense. Another oddity of the characters, who are mainly men, is the overly feminine way they are constructed, it is almost as if she had written all the characters as women and then just changed the names prior to publication.

If you’re looking for a character driven book, then this should be right up your alley, but I would avoid it if you’re looking for action, even the end of the book felt like the closing seconds of a soap opera. The book concentrates on the characters own internal struggles and the minor problems which come from being a travelling theatre group and little else.


Charles Packer

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