Monday, May 8, 2017

Two Bloggers One Book - Thorn Jack





Stormi and I have been planning this as a buddy read for several months.  Although it took us longer than expected to get it done and the reviews up, we finally did.  I've seen both good and not-so-good reviews for Katherine Harbour's "Thorn Jack - A Night and Nothing Novel" so am glad that I finally have my own opinion.  Also, make sure to check out Stormi's review.  Although we chatted some about the book along the way, I really have no idea what she plans on rating this one.
TITLE: Thorn Jack: A Night and Nothing Novel #1
AUTHOR: Katherine Harbour
PUBLISHER: Harper Voyager
PUBLISHING DATE: March 10, 2015

FROM GOODREADS: 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.


MY THOUGHTS: Almost a week after finishing it, I still have some unresolved thoughts and feelings about "Thorn Jack." It's another one of those books I would glad give 3.5/5.0 if it weren't for Goodreads crappy rating system (sorry-not sorry Goodreads). Finn Sullivan and her father leave California for Fair Hollow, New York following her sister Lily's suicide, where Finn plans to start college and her father a new teaching job. Immediately Finn starts noticing some odd things about Fair Hollow and Hallow Heart college. She makes a few friends, but there is also a group of "misfits" who associate with a family named Feta. Although all seem to belong to the same family, Finn quickly notices that something is amiss. She makes two friends, Sylvie and Christie (whom I immediately fell in love with because Christie is also the male lead in one of my favorite movies - What Dreams May Come - RIP Robin Williams). Together, the three of them manage to get in over their heads as they unravel the mysteries of the strange town they call home and its inhabitants.

I have to admit I am not extremely familiar with the tale of Tam Lim and perhaps it may have hindered me some, but for the most part, I think I was able to enjoy Harbour's tale on its own. I like the mystical Feta "family" and enjoyed learning more about their backstories, even mean girl Reiko. Jack was a pain and at times, quite unlikable, but hey, a lot of guys are at his age so I really wasn't surprised. There is a lot of mythology and Scottish folklore which I also found interesting. In fact, I will go to say that I fell in love with the author's odd little town and all its quirky setting and architecture. However, there are also some aspects of the book which I didn't enjoy as much. It iswas VERY wordy and sometimes I felt the descriptions went overboard. In fact, there were times Harbour almost lost me. Also, Finn sort of gave me Bella flashbacks (Twilight). There were times in the book she made stupid decision after stupid decision. I also had a hard time remembering these kids were in college when they clearly acted like high school students most of the time.

I was happy with the conclusion and there are some unresolved issues which I am sure will be addressed in the next two books. I will probably pick up the others at some point because I'm interested to read more of Harbour's lyrical writing and want to see where the story heads now that the main plot of "Thorn Jack" has been resolved. At one point in the novel, I actually thought it was a town I wished I had lived in but toward the end, that opinion changed (and those who've read this will understand why). If you liked Tam Lin or retellings in general, you should consider giving "Thorn Jack" a read.


RATING: 3 Paws
 

14 comments:

  1. And you thought you didn't have a lot to say about this book...lol I think there was just so much I wasn't sure I should say that I didn't know what to say...lol. We rated it the same though for once...lol. :)

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    1. Yea, guess I didn't have that problem after all. We shared a lot of similar thoughts on this one.

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  2. I have to admit I started this and something about the writing/voice was bugging me. I just couldn't get into it.

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    1. I got into it easily enough but then had difficulty staying interested and not getting bogged down by all the details and folklore.

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  3. This isn't one I've picked up - think it just fell under my radar although it sounds like something I would have quite liked - but, too many books and so I'm going to swerve this one I think. Sorry you didn't enjoy it more.
    Lynn :D

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    1. Thanks Lynn. It was an OK read but I hate it when books bog down my reading. I don't have enough time for it as it is and when it gets slowed down, it sort of ticks me off.

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  4. I knew nothing about Tam Lin before I picked up this book, and I found myself researching the ballad and referencing it while I was reading, so I was happy I got to learn something too. :)

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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    1. It is quite interesting and the book did leave me wanting to know more. Like you, I looked up some things along the way.

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  5. We like a lot of the same books and both you and Stormi had difficulty with this one, so I'll probably pass on it. Enjoyed the reviews.

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    1. Thanks Laura. If you don't have your heart set on reading it, I'd say skip it too.

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  6. I don't know anything really about Tam Lin. I am not sure that this book would be for me. Great review!

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    1. There are probably other retellings of Tam Lin out there somewhere you could find.

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  7. I am familiar with the tale of Tam Lim either but wow! that blurb is something huh?? The Night Circus, Neil Gaiman, and Cassandra Clare?? sounds like a Magical realism dream. I'l have to check it out since I'm reading Magical Realism lately. :)

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  8. I sure wish Goodreads would figure out how to solve the half star dilemma already. I'm not familiar with Tam Lim so I'm going to have to look it up.

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