Posted in [fiction reviews]

[Fiction Review] “This Gilded Abyss” by Rebecca Thorne

Full Title: This Gilded Abyss
Author: Rebecca Thorne
Published: June 6, 2023 by self-publishing
Genres: Fiction, LGBTQ+ Horror, LGBTQ+ Fantasy
Edition Details: 287 pages, ebook
Source: ARC – requested directly from author
Rating: {5/5 stars}

This is a spoiler-free review. No details will be shared from the storyline itself that aren’t available or inferred from the book jacket and online descriptions.

First Glance

I thoroughly enjoyed Thorne’s writing style in her cozy fantasy novels, but I’m glad she decided to try a different genre here. I like a variety of genres, and cozy fantasy limits you on the amount of action and trouble the characters can get into.

There’s a detailed list of content warnings for the book, and I believe they cover all of the topics you might find triggering.

Positive Bits

This story handles worldbuilding with a deft hand, keeping us from drowning in details but also providing enough information for us to come along for the ride. Anytime I found myself curious about a royal title or a historical reference mentioned, it was explained just pages later for us.

The enemies to lovers relationship between Nix and Kess (referenced in the description) feels authentic. The reason they fell apart in the past makes sense, allowing us to experience Nix’s hurt and grief as well as her processing of those emotions. I find many romance plots lean on misunderstandings in a way that feels silly or frustrating, but Thorne made their conflict feel real and important. We get to watch the tension of the main plot and the romance grind forward in ways that can’t be ignored.

In the intro of the book, Thorne left a note for her mother that there was spice in Chapter 23. This is true, but I wanted to make note for those who aren’t as interested in spicy stories. The intimacy between Nix and Kess isn’t just spice – it’s so well done! It feels necessary to the plot, showing us their connection and using their actions (spicy and not) to show us how they’re feeling.

Less Enjoyable Bits

I don’t like cliffhangers! The story ends without resolving the major problems at hand (at least a few of them), and we’re not safe and sound when the last page turns. I’m eager for book 2 in 2024, but I’ll admit I often avoid series of books for this reason.

Without ruining any plot points, there are details about the world’s conflicts (war, different countries, etc) that I just didn’t get enough information about yet. This plays a large role toward one of the main plot points, and it’s largely on purpose as a device to build tension. I enjoy more info dumping than most people, though, so perhaps this is just a me thing.

Tidbits Worth Repeating

Not yet, little speck.

Is it worth the coin?

Yes – Rebecca Thorne’s book is fast-paced and imaginative. Assuming none of the content warnings are huge red flags for you, I think this book is a fun ride worth taking.


bookdragon, poet, witch

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