Beautifully Dark: A Review of THORN JACK by Katherine Harbour

Thorn Jack 
Katherine Harbour
352 pages
Publisher: Harper-Voyager
Release Date: June 24th, 2014
Source: Hardcover from Publisher

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.

After Serafina Sullivan’s older sister, Lily Rose, commits suicide, Finn and her dad pack up their bags and move to Fair Hollow, an enchanting town with an aura of other-worldliness where she befriends Christie Hart and his best friend, Sylvie Whitethorn. And she meets Jack Fata, a darkly beautiful boy who belongs to the secretive Fata family. It isn’t long before Finn and her friends find themselves caught up in the secret of the Fata’s, and are soon thrown into danger.

If you want a book that will keep you up into the wee hours of the night, THORN JACK is exactly what you’re looking for. History, Fatas, and mysteries, this epic debut is a novel you definitely don’t want to miss out on.

Let us enter the world of Fair Hollow, New York, where it seems the people and places are from a totally different century – which was one of my favorite things about this book. It was darkly beautiful, with all the vintage stuff, and a dash of Edgar Allan Poe and William Butler Yeats.

I won’t lie, I was skeptical about THORN JACK. For starters, it doesn’t sound like something I would pick up. But I did pick it up. And I devoured it. Because it was amazing. I loved the witty and dark characters, the whimsical-ness of Fair Hollow, and the mysterious plot.

I loved each and every single one of the characters—they definitely stand out from the YA-character crowd. How many characters do you see with neon-orange hair? Or marmalade-colored eyes? Or have this thing about them where you can practically feel that they are otherwordly? Yeah, that’s all in THORN JACK. And there’s good humor. I love humor.

So why am I not giving this book an all-out five? Or ten? In the beginning I was confused by the amount of characters running around and couldn’t remember who was who in the Fata family, but after a while, that cleared up. I also didn’t like how some parts where a tad bit confusing. One star off for confusing. But as I said, it clears up, and you will love it.

By now, you should be scrambling out of your chair to read THORN JACK and be as dazzled as I was by this amazing debut. Katherine Harbour, you officially have yourself a fan in me. Albeit a crazy one.

Add THORN JACK to Goodreads

About the Author

I was born in Albany, NY (upstate NY is where Thorn Jack takes place) and now live in Sarasota, FL. I briefly attended college in Minneapolis, Minnesota, before attempting life as a painter (the artsy kind). I’ve been writing since I was seventeen and juggling a few jobs while doing it. I wrote Thorn Jack when I was seventeen—as well as many, many other things over the years—and I took it out of the trunk (a literal trunk) two years ago, dusted it off, and began revising it…

Find Katherine on Goodreads | Website | Twitter


Asma is a cat-loving co-blogger at IceyBooks. She's a 17 year old homeschooler who spends her time blogging (obviously), reading, and whatever else strikes her fancy. She's also a huge fangirl of Assassin's Creed, Marvel, and Six of Crows.



  1. Reply

    Karen Elizabath

    July 14, 2014

    Wow I was so entranced by your review I now have to rush out and get Thorn Jack because I love intriguing mysteries and it also reminds you of WB Yeats and Edgar Allan Poe both of whom I like. if this is dark, brooding and sinister which it sounds like it is, here’s my type of book. I was thinking about getting it when I read what came out back in June, just have not got it yet but will now! :) Thank you for re-fixing Thorn Jack in my head, just one question is it going to be a series? Thanks Asma.

    • Reply


      July 20, 2014

      It’s suppose to be a trilogy, the second book is titled “THE BRIAR QUEEN” and the third book “THE NETTLE KING”. The info is on the author’s website :) (I hope you enjoy Thorn Jack!

  2. Reply


    July 14, 2014

    I’ve been debating this one and now I want to read it! Thanks!!!

    • Reply


      July 20, 2014

      I was a bit skeptical about picking this one up, but I’m glad I did. Or else I would’ve missed out on something great.

  3. Reply

    Mary @ BookSwarm

    July 14, 2014

    Yes! I really liked this one! I liked the writing style and the atmosphere created through the imagery. I do agree that the beginning was a bit confusing because of all the things and characters.

  4. Reply

    Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    July 14, 2014

    This is the first time I’m hearing about this book, but this sounds amazing! I think I would really like it, especially the characters and the writing. Plus, a book that keeps you up until the wee hours of the morning? That’s a sign of a good book!
    Lovely review, Asma!

  5. Reply

    Kim { Book Swoon }

    July 14, 2014

    Yay, I’m so glad you enjoyed *devoured* Thorn Jack! I’m so excited to read it with its modern retelling of Tam Lin. I ended up buying this one- LOL, I just couldn’t hold back. Beautiful review :)

  6. Reply

    Jen Rothmeyer

    July 20, 2014

    I also found parts of the book confusing (sometimes the writing was a little disjointed in the e-arc I was reading), but overall thought the storyline was lovely. I can’t wait to read the sequel… sounds like you’ll be right there with me! My favorite was how myth-RICH the storyline was.

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