Touchstone (Glass Thorns, #1)

By Melanie Rawn

Rating: 2 stars

Cayden Silversun is a tregetour – part magician, part playwright, who infuses his magic into wands that his troupe can then use to perform plays. He’s also got Fae ancestry, which gives him a power of foresight – a power he can’t control. He has to fight to keep his troupe – Touchstone – together, while also fighting with himself about what futures he can change and what he must leave alone.

This is primarily a story about a group of young men finding sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, and that’s a story that has never really touched me. A group of arrogant young men who think they’re going to live forever arguing about their art, while bedding a succession of nameless women and getting high. No thanks.

I didn’t particularly care for Cade, nor for the other major protagonist, Mieka, the “glisker” of the group, who uses the magic that Cade provides to create the backdrops and effects for the plays. While seventeen or eighteen isn’t that young, I mostly just thought of these people as children and their squabbles as they fight for a place on their nation’s theatrical grand tour, as profoundly boring.

The other two members of Touchstone, Jeska and Rafe get very little in the way of character development: the former is poor, good looking and sleeps with as many women as he can; the latter has a childhood sweetheart that he’s determined to marry when they make enough money on the tour. I imagine that they will get more development later in the series, but for the moment, they’re just rough sketches.

The central idea of Cade’s prophetic visions and his internal turmoil on whether he should tell the people involved has the potential to be interesting, but he just sticks to this idea that people have the right not to be affected by him, even when it’s obviously bad for them, and I’ve got little time for that these days.

The book spends the first half or so with Cade as the PoV character, and then suddenly switches to Mieka. I’m not sure if this was to let us see how frustrating that Cade could be without the benefit of being in his head to get his point of view, or if the author just didn’t want to spend time there, but it was an odd shift. And then it shifts back to Cade just before the end of the book, again without explanation.

The book ends on a cliffhanger, but I don’t care enough about these characters to find out how it’s resolved. I’m afraid that I’ll not be following Touchstone’s future career with any interest.

Book details

ISBN: 9781781166604
Publisher: Titan Publishing Company
Year of publication: 2012

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