Melanie Rawn has followed up TOUCHSTONE and ELSEWHENS with what is easily the strongest and most captivating installment of the series. THORNLOST finds the Touchstone troupe working their magic to audiences with great effect, and they also become embroiled in darker dealings, some on a more personal level.
"THORNLOST will hook readers and keep them holding on for the next two installments."
Mieka Windthistle, the glisker who spins the magic of the troupe into life on stage and enchants the audience, has a possible destructive path laid out, which is glimpsed by Cayden Silversun. Cayden is the tregetour (director) who imbues the stage production with magic, but secretly has the power to see "Elsewhens," or possible futures. Not wanting his friend to take the wrong path, he foolishly tells Mieka what he has seen, which unleashes a series of gossips whose wagging tongues bring unwanted attention.
Nobles of great power as well as competing troupes begin to circle the Touchstone troupe. They just want to perform and climb the social ladder, and be the best at what they do, but these converging outside forces will not let them be. The Black Lightning troupe is hellbent on stirring up hatred as they perform for the various races of the world. Archduke Henick undertakes his own dark and nefarious deeds, helping to blend THORNLOST with a mix of theater, magic and politics.
While these outside influences propel the story and bring some intriguing twists and turns, Rawn really makes her mark in dealing with Cade, Mieka, Rafe and Jeska. These four who comprise the Touchstone troupe are the heart and soul of the series. Particularly Cade and Mieka. Their trials and travails, as well as their sheer joy of working the magic of the performances, need to be strong and substantial in order for anyone to care about the series, and Rawn has succeeded handily in that task. She has worked her own particular brand of magic, and THORNLOST will hook readers and keep them holding on for the next two installments.
Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard on May 9, 2014