In July, I interviewed Katherine about Thorn Jack and here is my review. It can also be found on GoodReads and Barnes & Noble.
Let me preface by saying I don’t normally read YA, some of the standards in it tend to annoy me. That being said, Katherine Harbour did an excellent job with Thorn Jack. The story and characters were so interesting I was able to completely ignore those aspects that I usually find so bothersome.
The protagonists remind me of people I know, or could’ve known, in college. They’re well rounded, have depth, and are filled with wonderful flaws that make them feel very human and very real. She took a very interesting path with the faeries in the book, urbanizing them, but blending the modernizing with traditional stories. In fact, one of the things I enjoyed was she, subtly, walks you through how the fae (Fata in the book) went from the old stories to the modern. An especially interesting, and enjoyable aspect of the story is how it walks the line between faerie tale and ghost story. That’s a line I had never even thought about existing, and Ms. Harbour crafts that novel idea (no pun intended) into a really fascinating story.
The characters at times did annoy me at times, but to me that is just further proof of how well developed they were. That being said, I grew to like them all, to care about what happens to them, and I’m eager to see where their story goes from here.
I don’t like to give away details about the story, I know I prefer to experience stories fresh. So while nothing that follows isn’t really a spoiler, it might give away some things you might prefer to find for yourself.
Now that you’ve been warned, I do have to give credit for some very interesting features:
The oracle being autistic was a nice touch, and played very well. The character herself doesn’t appear much, but I found her to be one of the most interesting.
The way the legend of Celtic Hounds was blended into the fae was a nice touch.
Silvie could’ve fallen into the trap of too many stereotypes, but the character is saved by a personality that doesn’t fall into the traditional “goth” stereotype. In fact, I could easily see her out growing the affectations and evolving into a very interesting witch/wizard character as she matures.
I really like the notion of the Jacks and Jills (female version of the Jacks) in the story. A nice touch to bring that old children’s story in.
I love the misdirection associated with the moth key, and the truth behind its origins.
If you like YA, you’ll probably love this book. If you don’t like YA, but you like a good urban fantasy/urban faerie tale, you’ll probably like this book as well. It’s well worth the read.