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Between Two Thorns (Split Worlds) Paperback – February 26, 2013

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Between Two Thorns (Split Worlds) + Any Other Name (Split Worlds) + All Is Fair: The Split Worlds - Book 3
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Product Details

  • Series: Split Worlds (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot (February 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857663208
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857663207
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #912,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Emma Newman has built a modern fantasy world with such élan and authority her ideas of why and how the seemingly irrational world of Fairy works should be stolen by every other writer in the field.
Her characters are complex and troubled, courageous at times and foolhardy.
This book of wonders is first rate.”
Bill Willingham, Eisner Award winner, and creator of Fables

“Emma Newman has created a reflection of Bath that reminds one that charming is not safe. Between Two Thorns shows the darkness beneath the glamour of the social Season. Learning to be a young lady has never seemed so dangerous.”
- Mary Robinette Kowal, Hugo award winner, and author of Shades of Milk and Honey and Glamour in Glass

"With a feather-light touch, Emma Newman has crafted a very English fantasy, one brilliantly realised and quite delightful, weaving magic, mystery and parallel worlds together with ease. Newman may well be one of our brightest stars, The Split Worlds: Between Two Thorns just the beginning of a remarkable journey."
- Adam Christopher, author of Empire State and Seven Wonders 

“Emma Newman is an extraordinary new voice in SF/F.”
Paul Cornell, Hugo Award winner, and author of London Falling and Saucer Country 

"The world building was done really well. I think that it helped to enhance the story and draw me in deeper. The different characters were interesting to read about. Cathy was my favorite main characters. Her determination and spirit made her a strong character with a unique voice."
-The Life & Times of a Book Addict

 “Between Two Thorns is a book that is packed with a ton of things to entice the reader … I can definitely recommend this to readers of urban fantasy if you are looking for something different”.
-Shadowhawk, Founding Fields

“This was a well-crafted fantasy novel which makes a great start to a new series … I can’t wait to see what happens next.”
-Rebecca, Book Chick City

If you like a bit of fairy magic, the juxtaposition between ancient and modern, here and there, and you don’t mind being left in suspense for a good few months, you’ll really enjoy it. 10/10
-Hierath, Fantasy Faction

“Between Two Thorns is an excellent read and I highly recommend it to fantasy fans looking for something a bit different, particularly in the form of merging modern day settings with fantasy worlds.”
-Tsana, Tsana’s Reads

"I really enjoyed the world building as well. The way the ‘mundane’ world and the nether co-exist, the politics of court life, and the machinations of the fae (who lurk in the shadows) all combine to make the Split Worlds such an intriguing place to visit, and one I’ll want to visit again when the sequel, Any Other Name, is released in June and again when the final book in the trilogy, All is Fair, come out in October."
-Bart's Bookshelf

 "JK Rowling meets Georgette Heyer"
-The Guardian

About the Author

Emma Newman was born in a coastal village in southwest England and currently lives in Somerset (UK). After graduating from Oxford University came stints in magazine publishing, website information architecture, and teaching. More information about her can be found at her blog Post-Apocalyptic publishing at Her first novel, 20 Years Later, was published in November 2011 under the byline EJ Newman from Dystopia Press. The author lives in Somerset, England.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 33 customer reviews
Cathy is more of a real person, who happened to be stuck in a book, that a character at all.
Richard F.
I am extremely excited for the next book in the series, and I suspect I will be nagging others to read this one.
Marilyn Maupin
So be forewarned that this book has no ending; it is merely like ending a chapter in the middle of the book.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By K. Eckert on March 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is the first book in the Split Worlds series. I got an eGalley to review through NetGalley(dot)com; thanks to Angry Robot and NetGalley for the chance to review this book.

The book follows three main characters. The first is a Mundane who is a drunk named Sam who stumbles into some faeries and Arbitrators. The second is a young woman named Cathy who is on the run in the Mundane world trying to escape her noble family who lives in the Nether. The third story focuses around Max who is an Arbitrator that is trying to unravel mysterious crimes involving disappearing blonde women. All of the stories end up being somewhat tied to one another.

To be honest this story is kind of all over the place. There are hints of a bigger story behind the events being focused on in this one, but those storylines are dropped and ignored later in the book. So, at times I was left wondering why these storylines had been started in the first place. My guess is everything will tie together better in future books, but in this book all the little bits lead to some confusion for the reader.

For me the most engaging story to follow was Cathy’s. She’s run away from the Nether (a world that parallels ours but is run by Faerie) to Mundanus (our world) to go to college and attempt to lead her own life. She’s run away from an abusive father and a male-dominated society that expects her to do no more than be a proper wife. Early on in the story she is found again and forced back into the privileged Nether society she was trying to flee.

Cathy was an engaging character and her story was one that is easy to follow and understand. I thought she was a bit naive at times though and wondered why Cathy didn’t work harder to ally with those who wanted to help her.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sue B. on March 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
Between Two Thorns has some interesting qualities to it, but the plot needs more focus. The story begins with Sam, a cheerful seeming guy who is a bit drunk and desperately needs to pee. This comic situation quickly turns horrifying when he witnesses some otherworldly creatures moving a body, and they take steps to silence him. This drew me in right away, but then another plot line was picked up with Cathy, a girl on the run from her family. A third storyline is then started with Max. The characters are engaging and the various creatures interesting, but it just became a lot to try to follow these plot lines, and to understand how the world of the story worked. Ms. Newman has a nice breezy style and a very creative imagination, but the plot bogged down for me. Things do more or less come together, but the overall experience is just okay, not as satisfying as it could be. I would recommend this only to fantasy fans interested in trying fresh new authors, and willingly to accept an uneven reading experience. Thanks to the publisher for my ARC.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ryan on February 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman is an offbeat urban fantasy published by Angry Robot Books. This is the first book in The Split Worlds trilogy (maybe series?), and all three books were published in 2013. Despite the rapid rate of publication, it is clear that these books have not been rushed, that a lot of time and effort has been put in, and I look forward to reading this series in its entirety.

Between Two Thorns does a lot of work upfront establishing a very complex setting. There are basically three realms - Mundanus which is our world where the humans (or mundanes) live, Exilium which is a fantastical world where the powerful fae live, and The Nether, a bubble of a world that exists in between Mundanus and Exilium, a world where the fae-touched people live, a world that seems to be a perpetual Victorian court society. Newman goes to a lot of effort with regards to the world building early in this book, and while I think it makes for a better story in the long run, I found that it took nearly 100 pages before I was really hooked by this story. I know it's probably a hard sell, but if you are having trouble getting into this book I hope that you give it at least 100 pages because I think the story delivered by the end of the book is worth that upfront investment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Molly Glover on May 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I adore this book. I immediately purchased the other two after reading a chapter of this first one. If you are a fan of C. Robert Cargill, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, or the Brontes, you'll adore this new world Emma Newman has created for us. She skillfully weaves both a new reality and two new unrealities, leaving you simultaneously yearning for life in those more magical realms and clutching gratefully to your mundane freedom. The intricacies of Victorian manners and propriety blend seamlessly with potions, charms, artifacts, and wizards; you will wish Jane Eyre had such powers at her disposal!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeannie Zelos TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Between Two Thorns. The Split Worlds, Book one. Emma Newman
I really expected to like this book but.....I found it confusing to begin and hard work. I usually like multiple points of view but sometimes they muddy a story, and so it was here for me. I'd just get to grips with one person and the surroundings and we'd change to another, and find everything different again. I think as its such an unusual world setting with different rules for each type of character, I needed to be with them longer. As it was I just felt I was getting to know them and- we'd jump to someone else, then just as I'm mentally sorting out that part of the story and ...yes all change again. Its a personal thing of course, and I'm sure others won't have the problems I did but it made it difficult for me to empathise with any of the characters, and that's essential for me to enjoy a novel. I have to feel that I'm sort of spiritually there, feeling the emotions and problems they face. Here to begin with I just couldn't really like any of the characters, they seemed very cold and emotionless. This book being the first of three has the difficult job of setting the new world and rules, along with a huge cast of characters, and once that's out of the way things get clearer. I have had this problem before with first books in a series and gone on to enjoy the rest of the novels. I did keep forgetting who was who, and how they all linked together and again as we get to know the settings and people that will get easier probably.
Anyway, having put out the downside, the stuff I didn't like, how did I go on from there? Well, about 30-35% in it began to come together for me and I became entranced with the settings and the story unfolding.
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