Week 4: Between Two Thorns Read-Along
We’re continuing with The Split Worlds read-along this week, starting with the first book Between Two Thorns! If you’re interested in joining this Read-Along, visit the SF/F Read-Along group for more information and to join the discussion.
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?
Part 1 – Monday 9th May: Chapters 1-9, hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow
Part 2 – Monday 16th May: Chapters 10-18, hosted by On Starships and Dragonwings
Part 3 – Monday 23rd May: Chapters 19-25, hosted by OneMore.org (Imyril)
Part 4 – Monday 30th May: Chapters 26-End, hosted by Lynn’s Books
1. We seem to have a number of separate threads even by the end of the book – what do you make of it all so far. Were you surprised by any of the final revelations?
Mogsy: Yeah, wow. I have a lot of thoughts about the ending. The way it was laid out like that reminded me so much of those old mystery dramas where the great detective stands up in the middle of everyone and just monologues all his findings for the audience’s benefit. So the truth about the inter-Rosa feud comes out, and so turns out there was indeed a bit of collusion going on there. However, last week a particular seed was planted in my brain about Amelia thanks to the wily observations of some of the other read-alongers. Now I can’t help but wonder if she might have magically charmed Will in some way to make him putty in her hands. The more I read, the more it felt like his attraction to her was just a tad…unnatural. So, are Amelia and her brother really as innocent as they claim to be, or is it just her charm (if it exists) digging its hooks deeper into Will, compelling him to defend her? It’s hard to believe we’ve come to the end of the book, but I still have so many questions.
Tiara: I wasn’t really surprised since after the last section I definitely could see how things were going with the Rosas after piecing it all together. It was just a matter of seeing how it all ultimately played out, and it was definitely done in dramatic fashion.
2. What are your impressions of the world that Emma Newman has created here?
Mogsy: I really like it, especially the idea of this “in-between” place called the Nether. Lots of fascinating characters, and the way they do things there is certainly different.
Tiara: Newman has created one of those worlds where I’m not quite sure I actually like it, but I find it strangely compelling. It’s like being that nosy neighbor who doesn’t have an invested interest in something, but still has to know what’s going on all the same. It’s just interesting enough to keep me reading, but that is the case with many first novels.
3. Do you have any favourite characters so far? Any characters that you’re still not sure of and who do you positively dislike?
Mogsy: I feel sheepish to admit that I don’t actually find any of the major characters to be all that likeable, but that’s okay because to be honest I prefer non black-and-white characters. They all seem to have their virtues and vices, and that’s what keeps things interesting. Cathy didn’t do anything more to annoy me this section, so that’s good, though I’m still unsure about Will. I want to think the best of him, that maybe his poor judgment is the result of him being manipulated, but I guess we’ll just have to see. I also haven’t really made up my mind about Sam or Max, since I feel their roles were kind of underused. I really liked Max when he was first introduced, but after that he was practically relegated into the background. And Sam, he almost seemed like an afterthought this week, the way he just showed up for the finale, but I can see his “lovable fool” persona growing on me.
Tiara: Sadly, not at this point. As I said, I’m just the nosy neighbor trying to see how the neighbors are embarrassing themselves today, so I can shake my head like the curmudgeonly old lady I am.
4. What are your predictions for moving into the next story?
Mogsy: I’m guessing we’ll get to see the fallout from the Rosa fiasco and how Will is going to handle the Amelia and Cornelius mess, which no doubt will cause some strain between Will and Cathy, or at the very least between their families. The next few items are less predictions and more hopes, really, but first I would like to see questions about Sam’s wedding ring answered. I also want to see the repercussions of his and Cathy’s visit to Lord Poppy. Finally, I expect and hope Max will have a larger role, considering the final scene. Really excited to get started with book two.
Tiara: Since Cathy’s thing is about challenging the status quo, I feel like that is going to continue as best she can. Give her an inch and all that. I think Will is going to have to acclimate himself to his strange new wife. I think we’ll find out about how Lee and Sam connect to the Nether and how Lord Poppy will complicate Sam’s life. Will… I’m guessing he’ll have to have some sort of position. He comes from a powerful family, so it’d have to be a position that would suit his rank, which might tie into Cathy challenging their world’s traditions. So, yes, despite some ambivalence, I’m curious to see how everyone moves forward.