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The Children of Night and Nothing

Katherine Harbour's Thorn Jack is a modern retelling of the Scottish folk tale Tam Lin.

The Children of Night and Nothing

BOOK REPORT for Thorn Jack (Night and Nothing, #1) by Katherine Harbour

Cover Story: Skull Garden
BFF Charm: Meh
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: Tale As Old As Time
Bonus Factor: College
Relationship Status: See You Around

Cover Story: Skull Garden

I like skulls, period, so this cover appeals to me...despite the Geocities 1997 vibe. 

The Deal:

Serafina (Finn) Sullivan’s sister killed herself last year, and no one really knows why. To escape constant reminders, Finn and her dad move to Fair Hollow, New York, where her father teaches mythology at a nearby college, and Finn reads her sister’s diary to make sense of the tragedy. 

Fair Hollow is a strange town – full of hippies, socialites, and other characters who would be just as at home in San Francisco as this little East Coast city. Finn immediately manages to make two friends, a few enemies, and catch the eye of a devastatingly gorgeous guy named Jack. The only problem is, his family is the fairy mafia, and they have it out for Finn and her friends. Over time, Finn becomes increasingly suspicious that this cast of characters may not only know what happened to her sister, but may have caused her death.

Thorn Jack is a retelling of the Scottish story Tam Lin.

BFF Charm: Meh

After her sister’s death, Finn really needs a friend (luckily, she makes two right away). I’m just not so sure we’d get along, since her only interest seems to be pursuing a strange fairy boy. Sit down, girl. Relax. Watch something terrible on Bravo.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

I didn’t buy the romance between Finn and fairy Jack at all – it was bordering on instalove – but I did like the idea of Christie, Finn’s best guy friend, as the romantic lead. There was enough chemistry between their characters that I was honestly surprised the story was positioning Jack to be the love interest (even though I knew that technically, it had to be Jack, given the story of Tam Lin). All the swoon points go to Christie and Finn. 

Talky Talk: Tale As Old As Time

The biggest issue with this book is that it could have been edited down a lot more. Lengthy descriptions, a touch of purple prose, and an occasionally meandering plot took away from what was an enjoyable story. Katherine Harbour creates a fantastic, moody atmosphere, but it needed to be tightened. The human characters all talk and act like normal, well, humans; the fey characters are prone to dramatic declarations and flowery language. There are names like SatyrNight, HallowHart, and BrambleBerry – things that are tempting to write in a fairy tale, but come off as a little overwrought in practice. Similarly, all the fairy people are preternaturally beautiful, which we are reminded of frequently. 

Bonus Factor: College

I always like a book where the characters attend college. If your book is heavy on plot, it makes sense that your characters should be in college so that they can miss a lot of class when the going gets rough. There are no truancy officers beating down your door! No administration calling your parents! (Usually.)

Casting Call:

Juno Temple as Finn Sullivan

Armie Hammer as Christie

Hunter Parrish as Jack

Relationship Status: See You Around

I enjoyed our date, book, but I’m not so sure you’re the one for me. I see your story isn't over, though, and maybe you'll get a little advice from the school counselor. I’ll see you around school, and hey, maybe next year we’ll hang out again.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free review copy from Harper Voyager. I received neither money nor a pet unicorn for writing this review, despite how hard I wished for one.  Thorn Jack is available now.

Jennie's photo About the Author: Jennie Kendrick lives in San Francisco and has an excessive fondness of historical fiction, spreadsheets, turquoise sparkly things, and bourbon. When she's not reading, writing, or writing about reading, she cooks obsessively, runs an Etsy shop, and thrifts for vintage everything.