Life had once been normal but it was so hard to recall

I thoroughly enjoyed the Split Worlds trilogy by Emma Newman and heartily recommend it to absolutely everyone, but I feel there’s a limited amount I can say about books 2 and 3 without spoiling the plot of the first in the series, so here are my very brief reviews.

Any Other Name

Any Other Name
The Split Worlds book 2
by Emma Newman

The series continues with another excellent adventure featuring Cathy, the reluctant member of fae-touched society, and Max, the investigator whose soul is trapped in a gargoyle. I worried this would be the toughest of the trilogy – to set up the final part the characters most likely have to both start and end in a bad place. But of course I needn’t have worried. There were just enough new twists and reveals while continuing and building on the set-up of book 1 (Between Two Thorns). I still love both the lead characters and I really appreciate the wonderful plot contrivance that allows Cathy (and others) to be aware of the essentially historical setting they live in and the inequalities of their society. It’s tough to say much about the plot without giving away what happened in book 1, so suffice to say that both Max and Cathy find themselves embroiled in much bigger problems than they thought they were getting into. So much fun, and thoroughly absorbing.

“I would like it if once, just once, a man would not decide what’s best for me without seeing how I feel about it first.”

Published 2013 by Angry Robot.

Source: Forbidden Planet Bristol.

All is Fair
The Split Worlds book 3
by Emma Newman

Ooh, it’s all kicking off now! That was pretty much my feeling throughout this final(?) instalment. It had become clear in book 2 that the problems in the Split Worlds ran deep and involved all sorts of deep corruptions that it seemed impossible would be fully cleared up by the end of this book. In fact I worried a few times that too much was happening at once and it would be too neat to resolve it all so quickly. I hope it’s not giving too much away to say that, while some threads were wrapped up, others are left loose so there is certainly potential for the story of the Split Worlds to continue, though whether future books would centre on Cathy and Max I am not sure of. I’ll admit there were moments where the story went in a direction I didn’t want it to, but I always ended up persuaded that that was the right decision. Because no-one’s perfect, and no solution is neat and tidy for everyone. I loved the new character Rupert, the Sorcerer of Mercia; he was brilliantly eccentric in a completely different way from Ekstrand, the Sorcerer of Wessex (who you may remember is completely useless on certain days of the week). Also, big thumbs up for the appearance of the excellent Bath bookshop Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights (which I realise now may have had some influence on the naming of the magic shop that plays a major role in the trilogy, The Emporium of Things in Between and Besides). I really did love this book and hope that Newman does have some more Split Worlds tales up her sleeves!

“He knew, intellectually, that his life had once been normal but it was so hard to recall. The bereavement was like the camphor in his grandmother’s clothes; it perfused everything and the smell just lingered on and on after the mothballs were gone.”

Published 2013 by Angry Robot Books.

Source: Forbidden Planet Bristol.

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