Glass Thorns - Elsewhens (Glass Thorns 2) by Melanie Rawn
|Glass Thorns - Elsewhens (Glass Thorns 2) by Melanie Rawn|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: Touchstone, the magical theatre company are back in their second novel and, dare I say it? It's better, slightly darker and as addictive as Touchstone. Welcome back Chaps!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: February 2013|
|Publisher: Titan Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Only a little while has passed since we last spent time with Touchstone, the touring theatre company that not only shows the audience the performance, but enables them to experience, feel and taste it as a 4D hallucination. This time they're being taken beyond their comfort zone as they're cornered into escorting a princess home from the foreign Continent. Meanwhile Cade Silversun is still getting his 'Elsewhens': the premonitions of alternative futures that come as nightmares and daydreams. Yes, Elsewhens, those things that warned him about a woman; the same woman that friend and colleague Mieka Windthistle is in love with. Indeed, Touchstone is forced to cope with foreign travel, foreign attitudes and, for some of them, the feeling that all isn't as it should be.
Melanie Rawn has given Cade, Mieka, Jeska and Rafe plus entourage another outing and with it comes the best sort of second-in-the-series book. Having established the explanations and world building in the first book, she can now examine other factors, colour in the baddies that were hints before and have a lot of fun in the process.
It may start a little more slowly than its predecessor (and please don't skip the prologue or you'll regret it), but it's soon moving along at full pelt. We begin to understand Cade more and realise why he keeps his 'Elsewhens' (Mieka's word) to himself. Indeed it makes perfect sense and has stopped me shouting 'Tell him!' at certain passages. However, this retention of information isn't doing him any good and the booze and self-medication with the coloured thorns increase. Mieka also ups his intake, leading to real life comparisons of creatives and their need to anaesthetise or stimulate artificially.
Whereas the first novel looked at how Touchstone performed, this one looks at why; the connection between acclaim, recognition and identity. In fact it's very big on identity as their foreign travel brings with it some shock discoveries. All this means that, although this could be read as a stand-alone, it shouldn't as it doesn't contain any major moments of recap. It's assumed that you've read the first story or else you won't find out about Blye's background or smile at their first encounter with Mieka or… Let's just say that the first of the saga needs to be read and is well worth the time.
As deep as Elsewhens is, there's still room for fun and action, even some monsters this outing. Among the dramas Melanie manages to fit in a pillow fight, much sea sickness (I empathise!), a love story or two and a sad loss. We meet new characters like Drevan Wordturner, the interpreter with a secret and then there's Vrennerie… yes, indeed there is.
A salutary warning: this isn't suitable for children; not just because of the swearing and adult themes, but also Mieka's wonderful moment of retribution that would play havoc with your soft furnishings should the little ones copy.
In the end we leave Elsewhens as the external shades of darkness threaten and there are also hints of discoveries to come. The good news is that Glass Thorns – Thornlost is due in February 2014. The bad news is that it's a long way away as I type this. Anyone want to join me in counting sleeps to pass the time?
As mentioned, before you read this, feast your eyes on Glass Thorns No 1. If you've read this and fancy something a little different in fantasy, how about a sampler as some of the best fantasy writers turn their hands to short stories: Dark Alchemy: Magical Tales from Masters of Modern Fantasy by Gardner Dozois (Editor), Jack Dann (Editor)?
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