Glass Thorns (book, Melanie Rawn, 2012)


Author: Melanie Rawn

Publisher: Titan Books

431 pages

Full marks for originality to this first book in the Touchstone series, which deals with the efforts of a theatre troupe to become the next big thing on the theatre circuit.

Rawn’s fantasy troupe is imaginatively constructed, comprising a tregetour (a writer who charges the troupe’s magic doodads pre-show) a masker (the only actor) a glisker (who channels the tregetour’s magic) and a fettler (who fettles – the magic in this case). The troupe, Touchstone, start off minus a glisker, before taking on board a man who is (mostly) Elf. He’s brilliant, but he also has a drug problem…

 Glass Thorns proves that fantasy doesn’t have to be about Earth-shattering war to grip, in this it’s a little like KJ Parker, (that’s the one similarity. This is much… bouncier).

There are three criticisms we can level at Glass Thorns. Firstly, it’s a difficult read. Rawn uses a ton of outmoded English to good effect, and it’s not that, but her tumbling sentences that are arduous. Secondly, in her world everyone is a mongrel crossbreed between a slew of familiar fantasy races – a good idea that doesn’t make much sense. Lastly, she hasn’t quite captured the way men think. Most of her characters are men, but they kind of behave and think like females. Granted, whether or not we’re attractive and our relationships with our parents concern we men too, but we deal with it differently. Otherwise, a refreshingly different fantasy adventure.

Did you know?

Most of the unusual “fantasy” words in the book are genuine, including “snarge”, “collifobble” and “glisk”.