by Emma Newman
WARNING – while there are no spoilers for this book, there are some spoilers for previous books in the series. I’d advise reading books and 1 and 2 before looking at this review.
William Iris struggles to keep the throne of Londinium whilst hated by his own court and beset by outsiders, while Cathy discovers the legacy of her former governess. But those who dare to speak out about Society are always silenced. Sometimes for good.
While trying to avoid further torments from the mercurial fae, Sam finds himself getting tangled in the affairs of the Elemental Court. But an unexpected offer from the powerful and enigmatic Lord Iron turns out to be far more than Sam bargained for.
Max and the gargoyle are getting closer to uncovering who is behind the murder of the Bath Chapter and the corruption in London and Max finds the gargoyle’s controversial ideas harder to ignore. Can he stay true to his sworn duty without being destroyed by his own master, whose insanity threatens to unravel them all? (Synopsis from Goodreads)
I love this series! This is the third installment in the novels about the Split Worlds and its characters, and I enjoyed it just as much as the previous two.
As usual there’s plenty of intrigue as Max and the gargoyle continue their investigation, and Sam is pulled deeper into the mystery surrounding his wife and Lord Iron. We get to spend more time with Max and the gargoyle, which I loved, and there are some truly moving moments between them as they seem to grow closer together. It felt a little as if the soul was beginning to rub off on Max, and I thought he came across as more human in this book. There’s also a scene at the end that brought a lump to my throat.
I loved the way Sam’s storyline evolved in this book – I really wasn’t expecting this, and I’m curious to see how it will affect the power dynamics in the Split Worlds. Cathy is pushing ahead with her plans to help the women of the Nether, and this soon extends to anyone oppressed by the conventions and rules of her society. When she finds out the manipulative and disturbing actions of the Agency, she is determined to stop it. She’s taking on some powerful enemies now, and it’s fun and satisfying to see Cathy steadily gaining confidence and respect, and stepping up as a leader. I was a little disappointed with the way she treated her sister at one point, but it did make sense, and I think the problems from their past is something that will take a while to resolve.
And Will... when did I decide to forgive Will? It's been coming on so gradually, I hardly know. But I believe I must date it from his buying Cathy a library full of every science fiction book ever written. *nods*
Oh Will, just as he takes two steps forward, he takes one back again. I think Will’s journey has been a very believable one. He’s been hurt by the patriarchy of his society too, but has never dared to question it before. He cares a lot about what others think about him, and about his perceived responsibilities. But he also cares about people, and about Cathy, and the difference between him and his brutish brother, for example, is huge. He’s not as brave as Cathy, but in this book we can see him beginning to really admire her. When these two start working together properly, they’re going to be a formidable team!
This is a fun book, adding more characters and different perspectives on the Nether and the Split Worlds, plenty of humour and excitement, and a few revelations. It answers a lot of questions and wraps up all the main storylines nicely, leaving the book without a cliffhanger but with plenty of hints of things to come.This felt a little like the end of a season in a TV series, which has been wrapped up so that it could be the end if it needed to be. I'm not sure if this is the case here, but I do hope that the series continues. I want to know more about the world Emma Newman has created, and I'm not ready to say goodbye to these characters yet!
Thank you to Angry Robot and NetGalley for providing a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.