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Book Review

Book Cover

Glass Thorns


Author: Melanie Rawn
Titan Books
RRP: £7.99, US $12.99
ISBN: 978 1 78116 662 8
Available 19 February 2013

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 Touchstone's performance enable them to enter the kingdom's most prestigious theatrical competition, following which their fame and popularity continues to grow...

Glass Thorns: Elsewhens is the second of the Glass Thorns books from Melanie Rawn. Although this is her new series she is best known for her Dragon Prince and Dragon Star series of novels.

Following on from Touchstone the bromance between Cayden and Mieka continues unabated in the new novel. The book opens with one of Cayden’s prescient dreams which details the possible future of the theatre troupe. Their future appears to be one of seventies rock star excess, involving disastrous relationships destroyed by drunks, alcohol and disillusionment.

Cayden continues to moon over the ultimate fate of his friend in a way that men just don’t do. There is nothing here to change my opinion that Rawn either can’t write male roles, or she is writing them in a way that fifteen year old girls would like to think males are like, leaving her male readers feeling a little confused over some of the characters behaviours.

As the troupe move out of playing inns and move into playing theatres for the nobility they come to the attention of nobles who would use them and Cayden’s ability to see the future in their own machinations. The individuals are each in their own way slowly falling apart. For some it is alcohol which is fuelling the slow decline, for Cayden and Mieka it is the thorns, this world’s narcotic, which is both fuelling their success and laying the foundations for their possible doom.

Like the first book, pacing is a languid affair, with long sections of the book concentrating on the interrelationships between the main protagonists. If you warm to them this is a positive boon, allowing you to spend extensive time in their company, usually worrying about their future and feelings, if not you may find the lack of action frustrating.

Although there is no doubt that the book, like its predecessor, is well written, the slow pace and limited focus on action may put some readers off. If, however, you enjoyed Touchstone then you will enjoy Rawn’s relentless world building.


Charles Packer

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