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Between Two Thorns

(The Split Worlds #1)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  2,226 ratings  ·  369 reviews
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 re
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Angry Robot (first published February 25th 2013)
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Shamsi Meta Ruhe vaguely. there are relationships,'s not a boddice ripper, more a thinky romp. there's magic and faeries and allusions to sex, but they're…morevaguely. there are relationships,'s not a boddice ripper, more a thinky romp. there's magic and faeries and allusions to sex, but they're def not romance novels.(less)

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Average rating 3.70  · 
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RIN ಠ_ಠ
Jan 04, 2013 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2013-release
I bet the person who designed the covers for Cassandra Rose Clarke's series made this. :D The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1) by Cassandra Rose Clarke The Pirate's Wish (The Assassin's Curse, #2) by Cassandra Rose Clarke ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I had the wonderful pleasure of reading this book with all the good folks of the SF/F Read Along group, and I do recall being so glad when I saw Between Two Thorns on the docket since this a novel that has been on my to-read shelf for years now. With book four set to come out later this summer, it’s time to get caught up with the series.

The book follows four characters, but they’re introduced at different times and it’s
Oct 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, faerie, magic, signed
A lot of fae-related books often have the potential to be fluffy and lovey-dovey so I was quite happy to read a book where the characters were not falling over themselves to stare dreamily at the pretty faerie.

The Split Worlds consists of the Mundane (where you and me live), Exlilium, and between the two, acting as a barrier of sorts is the Nether. The Great Families of the Nether are each associated with a Fae lord of Lady and this is reflected in their surnames, such as Catherine Rhoeas-Papave
This review can also be found on Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell-blog.

There’s a difference between theory and practice. In science, theories are meaningless without the empirical evidence to support them. In fiction—no matter how brilliant the idea—the execution of a story is everything. Here, it fails.

In theory, reading about two worlds co-existing in modern Britain and reading about the adventures of the fae in the mundane worlds sounds intriguing. The possibilities of seeing different cultures cl
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is one I picked up becuase I already really love Emma Newman herself. I have listened to her Tea and Jeopardy podcast for a few months, and I really enjoyed it. I've met her, and she's genuinely lovely, and I wanted to finally try out one of her books. As Planetfall and After Atlas (the latest two) were not yet out on audio (although I hope they are coming???) I went for this one, believing it to be a gamble as I thought it was Urban Fantasy (and I don't often enjoy that sub-genre). Ho ...more
This book was not at all what I was expecting, and I was surprised that I ended up liking it. First of all, I thought it was going to be a historical fantasy set in Regency-era Bath. Instead, what I got was a modern urban-ish fantasy with a portal world called the Nether that's stuck in the past as far as social expectations go. So it's a Regency-like setting, but one that's aware of the modern world, and sticks its nose up at it for being mundane.

The clash of modern and 19th C values intrigued
i actually don't know what to write for this review. this happens on the occasion of my rating a book all the stars or those i felt 'meh' about.
this is the latter.
nothing really stood out about between two thorns. it wasn't what i expected and this was one of those rare moments where i knew what i was getting into (side note: when i pick up a book, i immediately forget what it was supposed to be about so i have to check the blurb like 20 times to remember)
the blurb itself didn't have much about
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, fantasy
Magical words, Urban Fantasy, dislocated souls, 3 wishes, and kidnapping? HELL YES.

Between Two Thorns is a strange and pretty awesome story. On one hand we have the modern mundane world ie. London in our times and on the other we have Fae lands and a little inbetween. Cathy one of our main characters is dating a cute boy, watching sci fi movies, running away from her family, and studying at uni until it all comes crashing down when her family traces her after a run in with a Fae lord.

Having run
Dec 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy, arc
I received this book as an ARC through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this story. The mix of magic, Victorian manners, and the modern world was interesting and well developed. It took me quite awhile to get into things, and I had a bit of trouble understanding how the different stories were going to fit together, but once I found myself drawn in it was hard to put down.

I really enjoyed Cathy. I liked her stubborn, rebellious, and snarly temper. I can imagine how h
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
Upon completing this book I commented to my husband that this is the kind of book which, because of it's non-ending, there's a part of me that wants to go out and get the next book to continue/finish the story... but it's also one of those books which I'm sure I'd pretty much forget about if I leave it sit for a few months.

Well, it's been less than a week and I already almost forgot I'd even read it.

This book, like so many, has so much potential and interesting ideas, but falls flat in the execu
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, 2013, 2019
Sometimes it can be scary starting a book, especially if you have high expectations for it. And starting Between Two Thorns was certainly scary. Emma Newman's debut novel was probably my most anticipated novel of the first half of the year and since I've been reading and enjoying her Split Worlds short stories – even hosting one myself – a lot for the past seven months, I had a pretty good idea what to expect. Still, you never know whether what works brilliantly in short form will be as enjoyabl ...more
Oct 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

It pains me to give Emma Newman a less than stellar review. But alas, neither this book nor its companion audio worked for me.

I’ve been following Newman for years, reading the free short stories she’d send to her email list, etc. She’s come a long way as a writer. The first two books of her Planetfall series were her best work yet.

Also I love good fantasy. But for me, this wasn’t that. Carol, whose taste I often agree with, gave it 1 star. I’d post a link to her review, but the review explic
Nov 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Time does not pass in the Nether; there is no weather; nothing changes. Society exists almost just as though it was still the early 1800s, but with one major difference: every family there is a vassal to some fearsome fey lord. The humans' social whirl of balls and teas is really just one battle in the unending, merciless fight for supremacy among the fairy court. To attain the notice and good will of a fairy lord is every human child's grandest dream...every one but Cathy Rhoeas-Papaver, that i ...more
Icy Sedgwick
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've long been a fan of Emma Newman's work, and it is to my constant chagrin that I didn't read this sooner. Set in her Split Worlds universe, in which normal people live in Mundanus, and the Fae have been locked in a beautiful prison called Exilium. Between these two worlds is the Nether, a reflection of the mundane world, and stuck about three hundred years in the past. Women are merely chattels to be sold to the highest bidder, with marriages used as political mergers between the Great Famili ...more
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
A really enjoyable read.Closer to 4.5 stars
A nice twist on the magical parallel world idea with the young girl trying to escape the boring ,stale socially restricted place to the much more interesting real world. Nicely constructed Georgian magical society sitting alongside the modern world with a decent dose of family fueds and arranged engagements surrounding a few mysteries. Great characters.
A big cliff hangar to finish and glad to see the two sequels are long out
Kara Babcock
There’s a paradoxical tension that lies at the heart of a lot of fantasy. The presence of magic seemingly makes some things that are impossible for us easy, or even commonplace. People can heal (or even come back from the dead). People can shapeshift into animals, or use telepathy, or see long distances without the aid of a telescope. Yet this often occurs in a setting that is pre-industrial (at best), a world that knows not of flush toilets, cars, and cell phones. Sure, you might be able to hea ...more
Fantasy Review Barn

Ok, so there is the real world, known as Mundanus to those who know of the other worlds. There is Exilium, home of the Fae, and a very dangerous place for mortals. But in between, there is the Nether, with is neither here nor there. In this land live the Great Families, mortal, but fae touched and magical. While in the Nether they do not age, and life seems to be a nothing but a string of social climbing and political posturing between the great families.

Our heroine Catherine
Mike Finn

Emma Newman's novel, ‘Planetfall’ was one of my Best Reads for 2020. It was a strikingly original and Science Fiction book with a strong and unusual main character. When I went looking for more of her work, as well as adding the sequels to 'Planetfall' to my TBR pile, I discovered ‘Between Two Thorns'. It's the first book in her five-book fantasy series, ‘The Split Worlds’ which is set in mirror cities that connect our world with the world of the Fae. 

I live in Bath so the first line of the publ

Jessica Strider
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Pros: interesting characters, fully realized worlds

Cons: Catherine’s relationship with Josh didn’t feel real, book ends abruptly

Catherine Rhoeas-Papaver grew up in a powerful family of Aquae Sulis, the Nether version of England’s Bath. But she ran away to Mundanus, hoping to build a life for herself away from the machinations and abuses of her family. Now they’re bringing her back and forcing her to get married.

Meanwhile, the Master of Ceremonies has disappeared and a Bath Arbiter, charged with
Oct 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Technically, I've both received this to review on Netgalley and received a copy as a competition prize from Angry Robot, so it's high time I got round to it. My review will, of course, be an honest one.

In fact, I'm not entirely sure what to make of this. I enjoyed reading it, but it didn't seem to pull together at the end -- instead of the first book of a trilogy, it felt like the first part of a book. It's not even exactly a cliffhanger ending, it's just... some things wrap up, but most things
Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman is a lovely story of our world (the world of the Mundanes), the Nether World (a mirror image of our world), and the world of the Fae.

Catherine has tasted freedom and is hiding the world of the Mundane in Bath. She is found by her family patron the Lord Poppy who takes an interest in her and forces her to return to her family. Lord Poppy offers Catherine three wishes, all to be made before the ball.

It is understandable why Catherine would not want to go back hom
Kirstie Ellen
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
Initial Thoughts Upon Finishing
This book got better and better with every chapter that passed. It's such an interesting blend of the real world and fae - mostly because of the 'fae touched'. Their in-between state added a unique element to this fantasy storyline that made it super enjoyable. The characters were all mostly spiteful and horrible to Cathy but I loved it - it made the mystery plot line to the story even better with all these horrid people being 'polite' in a backwards way to try and
Alleyne Dickens
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Guardian said "JK Rowling meets Georgette Heyer" and that's pretty spot on!

This book introduces us to a world of Fae-touched humans who live in a world called the Nether, which lies between our normal world (Mundanus) and the Fae-world (Exilium). There's a mystery, there's magic, there's danger and a gargoyle! I found this book charming and engaging.

My only quibble comes, probably, from my romance background. I really like Will (who I think is the hero -- he has one of the 4 POVs). An upsta
4/18/18 $.99 for Kindle.
Mel (Daily Prophecy)
Between Two Thorns Also on
Meet the intricate and difficult world of Nether. It’s a place between our world (called Mundanus) and the world of the Fae (Exilium). One of the big cities is Aqua Sulis and all the important and Fae-touched families live here. This book tells the story of several characters.
First we get to know Sam, a Mundane. He is in the wrong place at the wrong time and that makes him a valuable eye-witness. He has no idea what is going on whe
Feb 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, own
Between Two Thorns begins with a man looking for a place to take a piss. In the coming days, he will regret all those beers he drank because, wouldn't you know it, he's in an urban fantasy novel and he stumbles into the secret, magical world of the Fae. Many urban fantasy novels would focus on this character and his story, but Emma Newman takes a different tack, showing the secret, magical world primarily through the eyes of its inhabitants.

In fact, Newman utilizes several POVs to offer differin
C Hellisen
Oddly, I've had this book for ages and never read it because for some reason I thought it was epic fantasy and I just wasn't in the mood for grimdarkityness.

It's not. Between Two Thorns is one of my favourite kinds of fantasy - the line between two worlds, and the people who live there. In this case it's the human or Mundane world and Exilium, the prison world of the fae. The line is the Nether, where the human puppets of the Fae live in strict and stifled social classes in mirror cities tethere
Sarah Garner
May 21, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
I couldn't get into this book, wasn't for me. ...more
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
TW/CW : mentions of slavery, death and blood, abusive parent

DO NOT READ THE SYNOPSIS OF THIS BOOK, it's so spoilery, omg, it actually talks about something that barely happen during the last 3rd of the book and which I think will mostly happen in the next books more than in this one!

Not sure yet if I'm giving this a 4 or a 4.5, it also depends on what happens in the next books and in which direction the story goes from here.

I really enjoyed the story and the characters, I wish there had been a
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Emma Newman writes dark short stories and science fiction and urban fantasy novels.

'Between Two Thorns', the first book in Emma's Split Worlds urban fantasy series, was shortlisted for the BFS Best Novel and Best Newcomer awards.

Emma's latest book, Planetfall, is a standalone science fiction novel published by Roc.

Emma is a professional audiobook narrator and also co-writes and hosts the Hugo-no

Other books in the series

The Split Worlds (5 books)
  • Any Other Name (The Split Worlds, #2)
  • All Is Fair (The Split Worlds, #3)
  • A Little Knowledge (The Split Worlds, #4)
  • All Good Things (The Split Worlds, #5)

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“I assume the gargoyle does not require refreshments?” “I don’t think so. Should it?” “I imagine not, sir, being of a stone constitution, but I find it best to never assume anything when it comes to matters of unnatural animation.” 2 likes
“I can smell a mundane. Very close. Euw!” 0 likes
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