The Friday Face-Off: In The Beginning There Was Nothing, Which Exploded


Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a new weekly meme here at Books by Proxy. Join me every Friday as I pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in our literary universe.


TBA!


Sorry for the late post! I’m away for the weekend but the blog should be back in full swing next week! I will update this post when I return but in the meantime, here are this Friday’s linky delights for covers which feature an explosion!


| Links |

Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek –Gunpowder by Jack Kelly

Lynn @ Lynn’s Books  – The 5th Wave Series by Rick Yancey

S J Higbee @ Brainfluff – Hilldiggers by Neal Asher

DJ @ MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape – Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

Nick V. Reys @ ThePaperDragon – Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories by China Mieville


Post LinksNext week’s theme is: All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter

A cover which features gold

Remember to check The Friday Face-Off Feature Page for upcoming themes

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The Friday Face-Off: Renewed Shall Be Blade That Was Broken


Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a new weekly meme here at Books by Proxy. Join me every Friday as I pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in our literary universe.


The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie


Welcome to this week’s Friday Face-Off – and apologies for the lack of posts, it’s been a crazy few weeks! This Friday we’re looking at covers which feature the word ‘blade’ in their title.

And there’s one book which immediately came to mind! The Blade Itself, the first book in the First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie, is a firm fantasy favourite. Published by Gollancz, this week I’m taking a look at the two wonderful UK covers (as the US edition is incredibly similar to the original UK cover!) Take a look and see which one gets your vote.


Gollancz – UK Cover #1

Artwork by Laura Brett

Gollancz – UK Cover #2

Artwork by Chris McGrath


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

Chris McGrath’s artwork for the Dresden Files has made me a fan of his for life – and his work on the recent covers for The First Law Trilogy is unquestionably stunning. Atmospheric and full of character, this simplistic but gritty cover for The Blade Itself is an excellent addition to Abercrombie’s ever expanding repertoire. However, though the balance almost swings in McGrath’s favour, I can’t help but love the Laura Brett covers for this trilogy – every time I see the burnt parchment and blood spatters I’m reminded of the first time I opened this book and began my love affair with this bloody and brilliant world. So two wonderful covers but this week I have to reminisce – Gollancz #1, this week’s heart-shaped-trophy-thing goes to you!

Which cover wins your vote this week? Have a cover of your own? – Post the link below!

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


Post LinksNext week’s theme is: In The Beginning There Was Nothing, Which Exploded

A cover which features an explosion

Remember to check The Friday Face-Off Feature Page for upcoming themes


| Links |

Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek – Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell

Lynn @ Lynn’s Books  – Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell

S J Higbee @ Brainfluff – The Fell Sword by Miles Cameron

DJ @ MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape – A Dance of Blades by David Dalglish

Nick V. Reys @ ThePaperDragon – Heirs of the Blade by Adrian Tchaikovsky

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The Friday Face-Off: Just Then Flew Down A Monstrous Crow


Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a new weekly meme here at Books by Proxy. Join me every Friday as I pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in our literary universe.


Just Then Flew Down

Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough


Welcome to this week’s Friday Face-Off! This week we’re looking at covers which feature birds!

Monstrous crow you say? How about a teeny tiny one instead! Published by Jo Fletcher Books in both the US and the UK, this week we’re taking a look at the cover for the first book in the Dr. Thomas Bond series by Sarah Pinborough. Take a look and see what you think!


Jo Fletcher – UK Cover

Jo Fletcher – US Cover


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

Both covers for Sarah Pinborough’s Mayhem are inherently creepy, using the same striking colour palette of blacks, creams and reds, but with entirely different results. The flaming skull and the city map of the US cover are eye-catching and convey the book’s character but the typeface isn’t quite as effective as it might have been. By comparison the UK cover is much more paired back, showcasing some wonderful lettering amongst the swirls, blood spatters, gents and birds which come together to create a simple but effective winner!

Which cover wins your vote this week? Have a cover of your own? – Post the link below!

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


Post LinksNext week’s theme is: Renewed Shall be Blade That Was Broken

A cover which features the word ‘blade’ in its title

Remember to check The Friday Face-Off Feature Page for upcoming themes


| Links |

Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek – Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb

Lynn @ Lynn’s Books  – Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

S J Higbee @ Brainfluff – Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb

DJ @ MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape – The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley

Nick V. Reys @ ThePaperDragon – Spirit Gate by Kate Elliot

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Recent Impulse Book Buys


Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Recent Impulse Book Buys |

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday! This week we’re looking at our Top Ten books bought on a whim. As a result of my undeniable cover love and a rather impulsive nature, the majority of my bookshelf consists of impulse buys – so this Tuesday I’ve gone for my most recent acquisitions! In no particular order, here are the latest surprise additions to my shelves:
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| 1. |

BookofPhoenix

The Book of Phoenix

by Nnedi Okoraforheart

A fiery spirit dances from the pages of the Great Book. She brings the aroma of scorched sand and ozone. She has a story to tell….

The Book of Phoenix is a unique work of magical futurism. A prequel to the highly acclaimed, World Fantasy Award-winning novel, Who Fears Death, it features the rise of another of Nnedi Okorafor’s powerful, memorable, superhuman women.

Phoenix was grown and raised among other genetic experiments in New York’s Tower 7. She is an “accelerated woman”—only two years old but with the body and mind of an adult, Phoenix’s abilities far exceed those of a normal human. Still innocent and inexperienced in the ways of the world, she is content living in her room speed reading e-books, running on her treadmill, and basking in the love of Saeed, another biologically altered human of Tower 7.

Then one evening, Saeed witnesses something so terrible that he takes his own life. Devastated by his death and Tower 7’s refusal to answer her questions, Phoenix finally begins to realize that her home is really her prison, and she becomes desperate to escape.

But Phoenix’s escape, and her destruction of Tower 7, is just the beginning of her story. Before her story ends, Phoenix will travel from the United States to Africa and back, changing the entire course of humanity’s future.
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| 2 |

The Folding Knife

by K.J. Parkerheart

Basso the Magnificent. Basso the Great. Basso the Wise. The First Citizen of the Vesani Republic is an extraordinary man.

He is ruthless, cunning, and above all, lucky. He brings wealth, power and prestige to his people. But with power comes unwanted attention, and Basso must defend his nation and himself from threats foreign and domestic. In a lifetime of crucial decisions, he’s only ever made one mistake.

One mistake, though, can be enough. heart

| 3 |

The Electric Church

Book One of the Avery Cates Series

by Jeff Somers

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In the near future, the only thing growing faster than the criminal population is the Electric Church, a new religion founded by a mysterious man named Dennis Squalor. The Church preaches that life is too brief to contemplate the mysteries of the universe: eternity is required. In order to achieve this, the converted become Monks — cyborgs with human brains, enhanced robotic bodies, and virtually unlimited life spans.

Enter Avery Cates, a dangerous criminal known as the best killer-for-hire around. The authorities have a special mission in mind for Cates: assassinate Dennis Squalor. But for Cates, the assignment will be the most dangerous job he’s ever undertaken — and it may well be his last. heart

| 4. |

The Rook

Book One of The Checquy Files

by Daniel O’Malley
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“The body you are wearing used to be mine.” So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.

Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, The Rookis a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer. heart

| 5. |

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Book One of the Fairyland Series

by Catherynne M. Valente
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Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.heart

| 6. |

Malice

Book One of the Faithful and the Fallen

by John Gwynne

heart

A black sun is rising…

Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors under King Brenin’s rule, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will come all too soon. Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage.

The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed shields in battle, the earth running dark with their heartsblood. Although the giant-clans were broken in ages past, their ruined fortresses still scar the land. But now giants stir anew, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of giant wyrms. Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. Sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield. Then there will be a war to end all wars.

High King Aquilus summons his fellow kings to council, seeking an alliance in this time of need. Some are skeptical, fighting their own border skirmishes against pirates and giants. But prophesy indicates darkness and light will demand two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. They would be wise to seek out both, for if the Black Sun gains ascendancy, mankind’s hopes and dreams will fall to dust. heart

| 7. |

Dark Eden

Book One of the Dark Eden Series

by Chris Beckett
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A marooned outpost of humanity struggles to survive on a startlingly alien world: science fiction as it ought to be from British science fiction’s great white hope.

You live in Eden. You are a member of the Family, one of 532 descendants of Angela and Tommy. You shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees, hunting woollybuck and harvesting tree candy. Beyond the forest lie the treeless mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it. The Oldest among you recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross between worlds. One day, the Oldest say, they will come back for you.

You live in Eden. You are a member of the Family, one of 532 descendants of two marooned explorers. You huddle, slowly starving, beneath the light and warmth of geothermal trees, confined to one barely habitable valley of a startlingly alien, sunless world. After 163 years and six generations of incestuous inbreeding, the Family is riddled with deformity and feeblemindedness. Your culture is a infantile stew of half-remembered fact and devolved ritual that stifles innovation and punishes independent thought.

You are John Redlantern. You will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. You will be the first to abandon hope, the first to abandon the old ways, the first to kill another, the first to venture in to the Dark, and the first to discover the truth about Eden.heart

| 8. |

The Dragon’s Blade: The Reborn King

by Michael R. Miller
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Dragons once soared in the skies, but that was before the Transformation, before they took human form. Now, demonic forces stand to obliterate them. When left mortally wounded, Darnuir, the Prince of Dragons, can only be saved through a dangerous rebirthing spell. He is left as a babe in human hands.

Twenty years later, Darnuir is of age to wield the Dragon’s Blade. As the last member of his bloodline, he is the only one who can. He is plunged into a role he is not prepared for, to lead a people he does not know. Shadowy demons ravage his new home and the alliance between humans, dragons and fairies has fractured.

Time is short, for new threats and deadlier enemies are emerging… heart

| 9. |

Shadow and Bone

Book One of the Grisha Trilogy

by Leigh Bardugo
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Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy.heart

| 10. |

city-of-bohane

City of Bohane

by Kevin Barryheart

Forty years in the future. The once-great city of Bohane on the west coast of Ireland is on its knees, infested by vice and split along tribal lines. There are the posh parts of town, but it is in the slums and backstreets of Smoketown, the tower blocks of the Northside Rises and the eerie bogs of Big Nothin’ that the city really lives.

For years, the city has been in the cool grip of Logan Hartnett, the dapper godfather of the Hartnett Fancy gang. But there’s trouble in the air. They say his old nemesis is back in town; his trusted henchmen are getting ambitious; and his missus wants him to give it all up and go straight… And then there’s his mother.

City of Bohane is a visionary novel that blends influences from film and the graphic novel, from Trojan beats and calypso rhythms, from Celtic myth and legend, from fado and the sagas, and from all the great inheritance of Irish literature. A work of mesmerising imagination and vaulting linguistic invention, it is a taste of the glorious and new.heart

Which books have you recently acquired on a whim? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

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Teaser Tuesdays: May 17


Teaser Tuesdays 2Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by Books and a Beat. Expect a new teaser every week!


| Teaser Tuesdays: May 17 |

The Emperor’s Blades

Book One of the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne

by Brian Staveley

Fantasy | 593 Pages | Published by Tor in 2014


The room was a cramped garret on the fourth storey of a tall, narrow building next to the harbour. A rickety staircase spiraled up tightly, the ceiling so low Valyn had to crouch, boards so warped and twisted that each time they groaned beneath his weight he wondered if the whole thing was going to crumble, dumping him into the cellar.

~ p. 145, The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley


| Synopsis |

The circle is closing. The stakes are high. And old truths will live again . . .

The Emperor has been murdered, leaving the Annurian Empire in turmoil. Now his progeny must prepare to unmask a conspiracy. His son Valyn, training for the empire’s deadliest fighting force, hears the news an ocean away. And after several ‘accidents’ and a dying soldier’s warning, he realizes his life is also in danger. Yet before Valyn can act, he must survive the mercenaries’ brutal final initiation.

The Emperor’s daughter, Minister Adare, hunts her father’s murderer in the capital. Court politics can be fatal, but she needs justice. Lastly Kaden, heir to the empire, studies in a remote monastery. Here, the Blank God’s disciples teach their harsh ways, which Kaden must master to unlock ancient powers. But when an imperial delegation arrives, has he learnt enough to keep him alive, as long-hidden powers make their move?

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


| Join In |

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Please leave a comment with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here!

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The Friday Face-Off: Which Witch is Which?


Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a new weekly meme here at Books by Proxy. Join me every Friday as I pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in our literary universe.


Truthwitch by Susan Dennard


Welcome to this week’s Friday Face-Off – apologies for being on the late side! This week we’re looking at covers which feature either witches or witchcraft… and I must say that for a while I was stumped!

Published by Tor in both the UK and the US, Truthwitch is the first book in The Witchlands series by Susan Dennard. This Face-Off features two bold and watery covers which are similar enough to be recognised as counterparts, but are executed in their own unique styles. Take a look and see which one is your favourite this week!


Tor – UK Cover

Artwork by Justine Anwieler

Tor – US Cover

Artwork by Scott Grimando


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

This week, the US  cover takes the Face-Off crown after something of a close call. Although I absolutely love the typeface used for the title on the UK cover – and which I’m certain is stunning in real life – the artwork itself does not capture my attention as well as it might. The central figure is bold in both colour and stance whilst the crashing wave succeeds in framing the composition, drawing your eye towards the centre of the artwork. However, first impressions are everything and this one certainly failed to grab me from the start, though it improves considerably upon closer inspection.

The US cover, whilst not in a style which usually appeals to me, succeeds in bringing a bit more drama and atmosphere to the artwork and just manages to tip the balance in the US’ favour. The typeface is bold and eye-catching – though not nearly as sumptuous as the UK cover – and the blend of smoky blues and turquoises, along with the close-up composition, draw the eye almost immediately. This immediate attraction (for good or ill) makes this cover, in my humblest of opinions, the more successful of the two options this week.

Which cover wins your vote this week? Have a cover of your own? – Post the link below!

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


Post LinksNext week’s theme is: Just Then Flew Down a Monstrous Crow

A cover which features a bird

Remember to check The Friday Face-Off Feature Page for upcoming themes


| Links |

Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek – The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski

Lynn @ Lynn’s Books  – The Tiffany Aching Series by Terry Pratchett

S J Higbee @ Brainfluff – Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones

Nick V Reys @ The Paper Dragon – Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong

Cate + Karen @ MidnightBiblioBlog – The Witches by Roald Dahl

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Teaser Tuesdays: May 10


Teaser Tuesdays 2Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by Books and a Beat. Expect a new teaser every week!


| Teaser Tuesdays: May 10 |

And Then There Were None

by Agatha Christie

Crime | Thriller | 250 Pages | Published by Harper Collins in 2015


He could hear sounds everywhere now, cracks, rustles, mysterious whispers – but his dogged, realistic brain knew them for what they were – the creations of his own heated imagination. And then suddenly he heard something that was not imagination.

~ p. 194, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie


| Synopsis |

Ten strangers are invited to Soldier Island, an isolated rock off the Devon coast. Cut off from the mainland, with their generous host mysteriously absent, they are each accused of a terrible crime. 

Then one of the party dies suddenly, and they realise there amy be a murderer in their midst – a murderer who might strike again… and again…

And all the time, copies of a macabre nursery rhyme hand in each room, a nursery rhyme with an omen of death for all ten of them.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


| Join In |

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Please leave a comment with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here!

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Cover Reveal: Skullsworn by Brian Staveley


Cover Reveal2


| Skullsworn by Brian Staveley |

Another day, another cover reveal missed! Last week, Brian Staveley and Tor revealed the cover art for Skullsworn, a new novel set in the world of The Emperor’s Blades. And yes, that can only mean one thing – another absolutely phenomenal cover by Richard Anderson!

Anderson’s artwork never fails to blow me away and has become an unchallenged fantasy favourite. With his dynamic compositions, recognisable style and effortless blend of a vibrant and muted palette, this cover reveal has left me itching to get my hands on – and possibly frame – Skullsworn.

Remember to check out the Tor post for the inside scoop and a whole host of wonderful sketches!



Skullsworn

by Brian Staveley

Artwork by Richard Anderson

Tor US – April 2017


| Synopsis |

Brian Staveley’s new standalone returns to the critically acclaimed Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne universe, following a priestess attempting to join the ranks of the God of Death.

Pyrre Lakatur doesn’t like the word skullsworn. It fails to capture the faith and grace, the peace and beauty of her devotion to the God of Death. She is not, to her mind, an assassin, not a murderer–she is a priestess. At least, she will be a priestess if she manages to pass her final trial.

The problem isn’t the killing. Pyrre has been killing and training to kill, studying with some of the most deadly men and women in the world, since she was eight. The problem, strangely, is love. To pass her Trial, Pyrre has ten days to kill the ten people enumerated in an ancient song, including “the one you love / who will not come again.”

Pyrre is not sure she’s ever been in love. If she were a member of a different religious order, a less devoted, disciplined order, she might cheat. The Priests of Ananshael, however, don’t look kindly on cheaters. If Pyrre fails to find someone to love, or fails to kill that someone, they will give her to the god.

Pyrre’s not afraid to die, but she hates to quit, hates to fail, and so, with a month before her trial begins, she returns to the city of her birth, the place where she long ago offered an abusive father to the god and abandoned a battered brother—in the hope of finding love…and ending it on the edge of her sword.

What do you think of the cover for Skullsworn? Does this sound like something you would read?

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Read Along: Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman – Week One




| Week One |

Welcome to the Read Along of Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman, organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow.

Welcome to the first post in the Between Two Thorns Read Along! The first novel in The Split Worlds series has got off to an interesting start and, with a good dose of intrigue and excitement even at this early stage, looks set to be a fantastic read. This week Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow has some juicy questions to kick off the Read Along!

Here’s how the schedule looks:

Week 1 (Monday 9th May)

Chapters 1-9 – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Monday 16th May)

Chapters 10-18 – hosted by On Starships and Dragonwings

Week 3 (Monday 23rd May)

Chapters 19-25 – Imyril at OneMore.org

Week 4 (Monday 30th May)

Chapters 26-End – hosted by Lynn’s Books

There will be spoilers!

If anyone would like to join in with the Read Along, just head on over to the Goodreads group page and sign up.


| Week Four Rating |


| The Questions |

| 1. |

Let’s tackle the setup, first of all. The world of the Nether is caught between the Fae world and ours, and is also apparently too old-fashioned for Cathy, our escaping protagonist, to want to live in. What were your first impressions given her views on her home and family?

Only a short way into the novel and I’m already thoroughly intrigued by this fascinating and rather complicated world! Even though we’ve only just begun to explore the relationship between the Mundane, the Nether, and the Fae world beyond, it already presents a delightful clash of classes, cultures, tradition and history which will do doubt prove central to the storyline.

The modernity of the Mundane world and the ability for the Fae-touched to interact with it, gives a flavour of realism to this magical affair, and the introduction of a protagonist who has come from an entirely different world only to have become rooted in our own, seems like a refreshing take on the genre.

Cathy is already a fascinating character who seems to be burdened with curses, wishes and a mysteriously complex past which looks set to unfold over the course of the novel. A girl who seems to have been lost in her upbringing, preferring the forbidden lessons of her governess, Miss Rainer, to the tradition of Fae-touched life, Cathy is an oddity of her kind. With the exception of her brother, it seems as though her home life was less than a happy one and, with an abusive and controlling father and something of a manipulative mother, it’ll be fascinating to see how she will cope with the imminent loss of her freedom and her return to the Fae court.

The introduction of the mysterious Shopkeeper and his subsequent betrayal of Cathy, along with the arrival of the dangerous Lord Poppy, lends a powerful and unpredictable air to the storyline – one which is fascinating from the start and looks set to give Cathy a run for her money! Oh, and I just love that irritating little faerie!!!

| 2. |

There appears to be corruption and murder afoot among the Arbiters, a sort of supernatural police, and it doesn’t lead to good times for Max. What do you make of the magical soul surgery that the Arbiters undergo to do their jobs?

A supernatural police force severed from their souls and seemingly incorruptible? What’s not to love?! The Arbiters and Max’s story arc are definitely a highlight within this section of the novel and have provided a tense and exciting narrative from the get go. With thousands of questions raised but very few answered, Between Two Thorns looks set to take us on quite the ride through to hell (or perhaps just the Nether) and back.

The concept of the soul chain is wonderfully unique and completely fascinating. They exhibit an inherently twisted quality which brings a sinister undertone to the Arbiters – a faction who already seem a powerful, dangerous and relentless force! The dramatic events which culminate in the destruction of the Bath Arbiters, and the sinister undertakings of the London Chapter, make Max’s narrative incredibly difficult to pull away from – and that’s without the introduction of the wonderfully comedic Gargoyle! I can’t wait to see what happens next!

| 3. |

Even more mysterious is Sam’s accidental involvement in the mystery. Any thoughts on the hapless mortal and what might become of him?

The unfortunate Sam brings a touch more humour to the storyline with his ridiculous introduction to the Fae world. There is definitely something about him – or about an unknown object in his possession – which has given pause to the Fae, and their subsequent decision to considerately bludgeon the memories out of him leads one to suspect that something is most certainly afoot. Sam, the Fae who nicked his wallet, the one who dropped dead in his office, and not to mention the body they were carting off pre-bludgeoning, all look set to lead us down a very intriguing path!

Stay tuned for the next instalment of this Read Along on 16th May