26 September 2016

Review #529: Thorn Jack: A Night and Nothing Novel by Katherine Harbour

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Fairies have to be one thing or the other, because being so small they unfortunately have room for one feeling only at a time.”

----J.M. Barrie

Katherine Harbour, an American author, has penned a captivating and heart rending young adult fantasy fiction in her novel, Thorn Jack that marks as the first book in the Night and Nothing series and is loosely based or rather say, a modern retelling of an ancient Scottish folklore ballad called, Tam Lin where a young woman tries to free a prince without a heart whom she loved from the dominating and magical powers of a cruel fairy queen, resulting in devastating consequences.


Combining the sorcery of The Night Circus with the malefic suspense of A Secret History, Thorn Jack is a spectacular, modern retelling of the ancient Scottish ballad, Tam Lin--a beguiling fusion of love, fantasy, and myth that echoes the imaginative artistry of the works of Neil Gaiman, Cassandra Clare, and Melissa Marr.

In the wake of her older sister's suicide, Finn Sullivan and her father move to a quaint town in upstate New York. Populated with socialites, hippies, and dramatic artists, every corner of this new place holds bright possibilities--and dark enigmas, including the devastatingly attractive Jack Fata, scion of one of the town's most powerful families.

As she begins to settle in, Finn discovers that beneath its pretty, placid surface, the town and its denizens--especially the Fata family--wield an irresistible charm and dangerous power, a tempting and terrifying blend of good and evil, magic and mystery, that holds dangerous consequences for an innocent and curious girl like Finn.

To free herself and save her beloved Jack, Finn must confront the fearsome Fata family . . . a battle that will lead to shocking secrets about her sister's death.

Finn Sullivan and her father moves to a small town, Fair Hollow in the New York upstate, that is a perfect backdrop for this fantasy story, filled with old, dilapidated and abandoned mansions with stories and lost souls looming in the interiors, and also where the folks inhibit an uncanny demeanor, after her elder sister, Lilly's suicide. Finn's father admits her to the community college, where she meets and makes new friends like Christie (a boy) and Sylvie, besides the mysterious and incredibly handsome Jack Fata, who belongs from the rich and urban Fata family. But her closeness with Jack results in sudden changes in Jack and also gradually unravels the mystery behind her sister's death, who had penned down about her encounter with a prince without a heart, and other characters who resemble with the characters around Finn's life. Although Jack is bound to serve for the ruthless fairy queen, Reiko but can he break that bond? And can Finn find out the truth about her sister's death?

This story is inspired from an age old Scottish fairy tale and the whole story unrolls in an atmospheric and breathy manner, slightly eerie yet fascinating. There are endless references to the mythological stories from around the world, some are either lost or some are still foretold by the grandmas to their grandchildren, and each chapter in this book begins with one such reference, that not only gives an insight and an idea to the readers about what is going to happen in the new chapter but also makes them curious about such a fairy tale. Many readers might find starking similarity with Stephanie Meyer's Twilight or the college where Finn studies might draw resemblance with Rowling's Hogwarts.

The author's writing style is fantastic and is laced with emotions and mythologies that gives a misty feel to the story line. The narrative is not that engaging yet somewhat free flowing and challenging enough to keep the readers curious for the story. The narrative is also inspired from folklore around the world that will make it tedious for the readers to keep reading smoothly till the very end. The pacing is very slow, and almost half way through the book, the story barely takes a tragic or twisting turn, that will make the readers skipping a few chapters to get to the major twist of the story.

The fantasy world developed by the author is strikingly and cleverly portrayed by balancing realism and fantasy. The background is vividly captured by the author into her story line, that will let the readers visualize imagine the scenes, the landscapes, the eerie atmosphere, the classes in the college, the interiors of the houses, the cemetery, the stories, the people, the fashion, where everything adorns a Gothic look and feel all throughout. In short, the readers might be swept away by the charm of this Gothic-themed fairy tale inspired romantic fantasy.

The characters are quite well developed from scratch, with enough realism in their demeanor, despite being supernatural. The main character, Finn, is a brave and courageous young woman, whose determination towards Jack's fate will make the readers respect her. In the beginning, Finn is wrapped up with grief over the loss of her dear sister, but gradually she evolves as she sniffs through the loose ends into the background of the Fata family, thereby making her strong. Jack, on the other hand, is sensitive, attractive yet risky to fall for. The rest of the characters are also highly interesting enough to keep the readers engaged into the story.

The romance between Jack and Finn is passionately arrested into the story line, enough with heart felt emotions to make the readers move for their bonding. Yes the romance is somewhat cliched, nevertheless, it is kind of cute.

In a nutshell, this story is enchanting, mystical that will make the readers get lost into a tale of love, betrayal, mystery and fairies and it is not necessary that fairies are forever good creatures, there are some evil ones too, and to encounter such a fairy, Is suggest you to pick up a copy of this book for sure.

Verdict: A promising fantasy series.

Courtesy: Thanks to the author, Katherine Harbour, for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book.

Author Info:
The author of Thorn Jack, Briar Queen, and Nettle King. (The Children of Night and Nothing series) Pretty good Painter and terrible gardener. Loves Faery, the Gothic, Victorian writers, the female surrealists, botany, and myth & folklore. My aunt once dated a Beatle, my father loved to read Mark Twain, and, if I was brave enough, I'd explore all those haunted woods and houses.
Visit her here

Book Purchase Links:


Post a Comment

Thanks for your feedback!