All Good Things
by Emma Newman
Book 5 of Emma Newman’s Split Worlds series came out in June and I bought it pretty promptly, keen to learn the fates of Catherine, Max, Sam and all the other great characters that populate these stories. I’ve been following the series since the start (I went to the Bristol launch of book 1, Between Two Thorns) and thoroughly enjoyed every instalment.
As the title suggests, this is the final part of the series (but is it an end rather than the end?). There are the same great characters and sense of humour, plus some seriously ramped-up action.
At the end of book 4 (WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD) Cathy has escaped the Nether and is under the protection of Sam, who as Lord Iron is the one person who can keep her safe from the Fae and their magic. But Cathy doesn’t want to rely on anyone else, even the loveable, well-meaning Sam, so she finds a way to make herself stronger. It involves facing a huge decision, one that puts a lot of lives in her hands. Has Cathy bitten off more than she can chew?
“Having no idea what to do next left her traitorous mind free to ruminate. How many times had she replayed that last morning with Will when he’d placed that choker around her neck? He’d collared her like a dog, reducing her willpower to that of a puppy. Sometimes it made her physically sick. She’d lost weight. Even now, when she was free of that damned magic, he was dominating her thoughts.”
And has she been unfair to the Fae society she’s left behind? Their world is slowly changing. Cathy’s American sister-in-law is from a much more modern, equal Fae society than the British version. Maybe with a little patience it would all move in the right direction naturally. But there is so much resistance to change, to equality, in the Fae society Cathy lived in. The reactions to her were brutal, as were the reactions of the Elemental Court to Sam’s suggestion that they all try putting people and the environment before profit.
Once again, the parallels to real life are clear. Those who have money and power will always be reluctant to share or dilute it. Change either needs to be backed by so many people, including some with power, that sheer force makes it happen, albeit slowly in most cases. Or it happens suddenly, in a revolution, but that carries risks of its own – will there be a power vacuum? Will the same old people step in to run things and potentially even worse rulers step up?
“To create change, to disrupt a system of control, one must carry radical acts. One must be prepared to destroy so that something new can be created. Those in control will never give up the power afforded to them voluntarily. It must be taken. If that requires the deaths of a few to give freedom to the many – and survival of the many – then so be it. This is not a gentle act.”
Also once again, characters are complicated, with sometimes unexpected motivations. Power corrupts, sure, but it can sometimes just be difficult to wield. This is a really satisfying ending to the story, hitting just the right tone
I am genuinely sad that this series is now over. Luckily, Newman has a handful of other books that I haven’t yet read.
Published June 2017 by Diversion Books.