Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Review: Thorn Jack (Night and Nothing #1) by Katherine Harbour

Thorn Jack
Night and Nothing #1
By: Katherine Harbour
Published:  June 24, 2014
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Publisher

Goodreads Summary:

They call us things with teeth. These words from Lily Rose Sullivan the night of her death haunts her seventeen-year-old sister, Finn, who has moved with her widowed father to his hometown of Fair Hollow, New York. After befriending a boy named Christie Hart and his best friend, Sylvie Whitethorn, Finn is invited to a lakeside party where she encounters the alluring Jack Fata, a member of the town's mysterious Fata family. Despite Jack's air of danger and his clever words, Finn learns they have things in common. 

One day, while unpacking, Finn finds her sister's journal, scrawled with descriptions of creatures that bear a sinister resemblance to Jack's family. Finn dismisses these stories as fiction, but Jack's family has a secret—the Fatas are the children of nothing and night, nomadic beings who have been preying on humanity for centuries—and Jack fears that his friendship with Finn has drawn the attention of the most dangerous members of his family—Reiko Fata and vicious Caliban, otherwise known as the white snake and the crooked dog. 

Plagued with nightmares about her sister, Finn attempts to discover what happened to Lily Rose and begins to suspect that the Fatas are somehow tied to Lily Rose's untimely death. Drawn to Jack, determined to solve the mystery of her sister's suicide, Finn must navigate a dangerous world where nothing is as it seems.

My Thoughts:

Thorn Jack, by Katherine Harbour, is an intriguing story filled with mystery, enchantment, and darkness.  I love fairytales.  I especially love multicultural fairytales and retellings.  Thorn Jack is the retelling of Tam Lin, a legendary Scottish Ballad.  I found myself intrigued and full of curiosity as I read this story.

On a positive note, there were many things I enjoyed about Thorn Jack.  I loved the beautiful imagery that Ms. Harbour's words painted in my mind.  I enjoyed the magical and mysterious quality to the story, that had me yearning to quickly turn each page and unravel what was to come.  I loved the main characters, Serafina "Finn", Christopher "Christie," Sylvie, and of course Jack.  

Finn and her father moved away from San Francisco, back to his childhood home, Fair Hallow, after her older sister Lily Rose committed suicide.  Once she begins college, she meets Christie and Sylvie who become her two best friends.  She starts to quickly learn that there is more to the small town of Fair Hallow than their appears when she meets Jack Fata, and the rest of the Fata family.  There is something sinister about the Fatas, and therein lies a mystery.  What is Jack?  What are the Fatas?  

As Finn begins to fall in love with Jack Fata, she see's a strong, brave, and loyal person.  However, Jack is not human.  Along with Christie and Sylvie by her side, Finn is determined to find out what Jack and the Fata's really are.  However, the more she digs, and the closer she gets, the more she endangers herself and her friends.  Soon after, strange things start to happen.  Finn realizes that Lily Rose's journal that at one time seemed filled with imaginative fairytales, is in fact filled with horrific truths.  Jack is in danger from, "Reiko," the powerful and evil head of the Fata family.  Finn is on a mission to free Jack from whatever hold Reiko has on him.  As Finn embarks on her dangerous mission, who will come out on top, herself, or Reiko and the powerful Fata family?

Overall, I enjoyed Thorn Jack.  However, there were a few things in the story that didn't work for me.  For one, I thought that the story was too intricate and complex.  It would have been easier to read if it were simplified.  There were a ton of characters to memorize, a lot of detail to the story, and at times I found myself lost and confused.  Also, I got a bit frustrated because I never got direct answers to some of my questions.  There were certain Gaelic terminology that I had to keep looking up, and other terms, which caused problems with the flow of the story. I am still a bit confused about what Jack and the Fatas are, as well as other characters I encountered.  I think I know, but there was never a direct enough answer, as far as I was concerned.            

My Rating:

I give, Thorn Jack, by Katherine Harbour, 3 Dark, Otherworldly, Mystery Filled Stars!  If you enjoy dark multicultural fairytale retellings, this one might be for you.  If you are a fan of intricate plots with many characters and non-stop twists, check out Thorn Jack!  

About Katherine Harbour:

Katherine Harbour is the author of Thorn Jack, the first book in a trilogy of dark fantasy novels to be released by Harper Voyager in May 2014. Read more about Thorn Jack's world in my blog darkfaeryblackrabbit.blogspot.com


  1. I don't mind Gaelic and I'm willing to try a dark fairytale, thanks for sharing :)

  2. I love fairytales and retellings too. It's too bad this one was too complex. Glad you mostly enjoyed it despite that.


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