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Touchstone / Melanie Rawn

Touchstone is a different kind of fantasy novel. It’s not about saving the world or even about defeating some smaller evil. It’s instead about the performing arts, drug addiction, and abusive relationships.

For a book about performers struggling to make it, it was surprisingly difficult for me to read and I had to give up on Elsewhens, the sequel, halfway through as I didn’t have the wherewithal to deal with how intense it was at the same time as dealing with some seriously intense stuff in life.

Plot summary

The various stereotypical fantasy races have lived together and intermingled for so long that virtually no-one is a “true” elf or human or whatever. The world consists almost entirely of mixed-race people, with some appearing more like one race than another but no-one is “pure”.

Using magic for violence is forbidden. Instead, magic is used in the arts, especially in public performances where the performers work together to create spectacular images and even directly affect the emotions of the audience.

Cayden Silversun is a small-time performer with big-time aspirations. The problem is, his troupe lacks a “glisker”,the member responsible for evoking the magic that Cade prepares in glass withies. Enter the mostly-Elven Mieka, a young but extraordinarily powerful glisker who adds an element of iconoclasm to the group that singles out the group as a unique up-and-coming act.

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