Saturday, 9 March 2013

Rameau Reviews: Between two worlds - Emma Newman


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 clash and compete are endless. In practice, every author has to choose a line to walk on. I don’t think Emma Newman has any idea which line she’s straddling let alone how to tread on it. 

The problem lies with the characters. It’s not that they’re particularly horrid—I actually liked that they were described either as ugly or dull—and unlikeable. It’s not even the fact that Cathy is the most frustrating, spineless, insipid heroine I’ve stumbled on recently. It’s that their characterisations aren’t properly supported by their actions. Both the fae and the mundane talk and think alike. Even Max, the most interesting character of the bunch, doesn’t quite act like someone whose soul has been disconnected is apparently supposed to act. 

It’s like Newman created these rules for herself and then forgot to follow them. That is, if there were any rules to begin with. Never did I get the sense that the author had fully internalised and adopted this alternative world she had created, let alone that she’d fully applied it to the characters she was writing about. 

And with that, whatever there may have been unique about the story—about the idea of a few young, rebellious fae touched challenging Nether’s customs and traditions—unravels into an uninteresting mess. 

I’m not a fan of fairies, but I never open a book wanting to hate it. Between Two Thorns had its chance to win me over and it failed. I started skimming and speed-reading around 20% mark and only stopped a few times to read scenes with Will in them. 

P.S. Every time I wrote the word mundane, I wanted to substitute it with the word muggle.

2 stars



I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

Series: The Split Worlds #1
Pages: 384 (paperback)
Publisher: Angry Robot ISBN: 9780857663207
Published: February 26th (expected)
Source: NetGalley


24 comments:

  1. Sorry this was a stinker for you!

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  2. That's too bad this was a fail. Fantastic review though!

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    1. Thanks. Disappointment makes me slightly snarky.

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  3. I've heard other negative reviews of this book. It's such a bummer because the cover is so evocative!

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    1. I've read a few positive reviews for it, but unfortunately that wasn't my experience. I liked the cover too.

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  4. Eek..i do not have to like a character to enjoy the tale, as long as the character acts as described, and has a unique voice. Sometimes these are the characters you become most passionate about..but if all the characters sound and act alike what is the point?

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    1. I don't see the point either. I've loved books with characters I absolutely hated but they need to be consisted with their characterisations and the story needs to be strong enough to hold my interest. Unfortunately, Between Two Thorns was not it.

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  5. I agree about the cover art...so similar to others that have gotten rave reviews recently. Nice to know this one didn't fool you, and nice to know that you gave it a solid and humane review; albeit, a less than stellar one. It's time we told it like it is for us as reviewers. Good work!
    Deb/TheBookishDame

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  6. I am sorry you are so disappointed in this book Rameau, I hope your next book is going to blow you away :)

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    1. It's been a struggle but I'm reading something entertaining now.

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  7. Well, this is so sad. I loved the cover and the idea of the two worlds. But it's disappointing that so many didn't like it
    Your reader,
    Soma
    http://insomnia-of-books.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks. I wouldn't mind trying to read from this author again, later, when she's moved on from this series and honed her writing skills a bit.

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  8. I'm not a huge fan of this kind of book anyway, but a few other reviews had me curious about it. Now I'm glad to know that my first reaction was the correct one.

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    1. If you happen to find it in a library you might want to skim a few pages, but I wouldn't recommend you buy it straight off.

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  9. Your review puts mine to shame. You're so spot on with every word. There was this beautiful world that was built, and the author slaughtered it with her characters. It was like watching a cast of dancing hippos in a china shop.

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    1. You're so right about the hippos in a china shop. That should be a GR shelf instead of my boring characterisation-fail.

      And I liked your review, it was more thorough than mine because you actually cared enough to pay attention to the uninteresting mess I ended up skimming.

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  10. Aw sorry that this one didn't live up to what you wanted it to be. Sad when a book fails to deliver.

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    1. It is the second most saddest thing in the world—I'll think up the most saddest thing later.

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  11. sounds like the heroine wasn't that great.

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  12. I love your brutal honesty!! Thanks for steering me away from a dud!

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