TOUCHSTONE by Melanie Rawn


From the "Glass Thorns" series, volume 1
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The play's the thing: new fantasy series about a magical theater company, from the author of The Golden Key (1996, etc.).

Part Elf, part Wizard, Cayden Silversun is determined to follow his aptitude and instinct into the theater, despite the snobbish disapproval of his aristocratic mother and the example of his father, who moves in lofty regions at the Royal Court (where he's actually the Royal pimp). Cade knows he and his troupe are exceptionally gifted, and when brash but highly talented young Elf Mieka Windthistle inveigles his way into the company, Cade knows they'll be second to none and could challenge to join the Royal Circuit itself. They are four: Cade, the "tregetour," playwright and director who imbues the glass withies essential to the performance with magic; Jeska the "masquer" plays all the parts; Rafe the "fettler" controls the performance on stage; and Mieka the "glisker" uses his magic to make everything come alive. Though Mieka offers Cade his trust and friendship, Cade can't bring himself to tell the young Elf his dark secret: he foresees possible futures and has the ability to make them come true or turn them aside. But he foresees a horrid future for Mieka and, assuming he can do nothing and should not interfere anyway, Cade says nothing. Finally the company, Touchstone, joins the Winterly Circuit, enjoying long roads, rivalries, bad food, surly innkeepers, all-male audiences, ghastly weather and the attentions of groupies. There are promising ideas, though Rawn doesn't really manage to convey how it all works, together with an insufficiency of plot and little or no real insight. Instead of a grand finale, it just stumbles to a halt.

Youthful melodrama without catharsis.

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7653-2362-0
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2011


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