Thornlost by Melanie Rawn
(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“Cayden is part Elf, part Fae, part human Wizard—and all rebel. His aristocratic mother would have him follow his father to the Royal Court, to make a high-society living off the scraps of kings. But Cade lives and breathes for the theater, and he’s good, very good. He’s a tregetour—a wizard who is both playwright and magicwielder. It is Cade’s power that creates the magic, but a tregetour is useless without a glisker—an elf who can spin out the magic onto the stage, to enchant the audience. And Cade’s glisker, Mieka, is something special too. So is their fettler, Rafe, who controls the magic and keeps them and the audience safe. And their masker, Jeska, who speaks all the lines, is every young girl’s dream.
They are reaching for the highest reaches of society and power, but not the way Cade’s mother thinks they should. They’ll change their world, or die trying.”
Well, that was a surprise. I thought this was going to be a trilogy, and it turns out to be a five book series. Not that I’m complaining, mind you—I quite enjoy this story, but I expected things to be wrapped up in Thornlost. Instead, I got a middle book.
Middle or ending, it doesn’t matter, because I still look forward to new entries in this series with eagerness. I have a fondness for character-driven novels, and this one is heavy with interactions and conversations that give readers food for thought. As I’ve said in past reviews of the Glass Thorns books, I’m really impressed with Rawn’s writing of the relationship between Cade and Mieka. It’s friendship that is both strong and fragile, with ups and downs in stark relief. I find myself hoping they’ll both be okay, just as if they were real people.
Magic seems to be slowly altering in this book. Most of what the author has shown previously was focused solely on entertainment, but there are hints here that such magic can be turned to less than savory ends. Not only are the players’ powers shown to have a sinister underpinning, but Mieka’s wife and mother-in-law possess a kind of magic not seen before. I like that Rawn’s version of magic isn’t always the flashy, glitzy type seen on stage, but instead can sometimes be so subtle that you don’t notice it until it’s too late. Rawn works quite well with these extremes.
If you’re not the kind to enjoy a “slow burn” in a story, you probably won’t get much out of this book. There isn’t a huge amount of action or plot momentum, but lots of things are getting set up for the final two novels. Of course, if you’re not the kind to read a more leisurely paced story, you likely haven’t even picked up book one of this series; but if you have and enjoyed the previous books, you won’t disappointed. I, for one, adore the rich, evocative writing that Rawn uses for this series.
Obviously, you shouldn’t read this book without first reading the other two, but fans of this series will delight in this newest installment. Rawn can’t write this story fast enough to suit me! Thornlost expands on the series’ premise and takes it to new heights, setting the stage for even more surprises to come.