This read along of All Is Fair was organized by the SF/F Read Along group on Goodreads, and has been broken down into four, one week chunks, each week participants are asked some questions on what they think so far.
There WILL be spoilers beyond this point – and probably (If books 1 & 2 are anything to go by) swearing, lots and lots of SWEARING! Prepare for profanity!
Here is the breakdown of the read along for All Is Fair, the third book in The Split Worlds series by Emma Newman.
Week 1: Monday 4th July, Chapters 1-6, hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow.
Week 2: Monday 11th July, Chapters 7-14, hosted by ME, Hisham.
Week 3: Monday 18th July, Chapters 15-22, hosted by The Illustrated Page.
Week 4: Monday 25th July, Chapters 23-End, hosted by x + 1.
All Is Fair by Emma Newman.
“Caught in the insidious designs of powerful puppet-masters and playing a life-or-death game for control, Cathy and her comrades face their greatest challenge yet: changing the balance of power in the Split Worlds.
Now at the heart of the Londinium Court, deceit and murder track Will’s steps as he assumes his new role as Duke. Faced with threats to his throne and his life, the consequences of his bloody actions are already coming back to haunt him…
Meanwhile, Cathy, wrestling with the constraints of the Agency and Dame Iris, comes to terms with her new status in Fae-touched society and seeks others who feel just as restricted by its outdated social rules. As Max works with Cathy to uncover the horrors that underpin Fae-touched society, he bears witness as the final blow is struck against the last Sorcerers in Albion…
Darkly imaginative, vividly detailed, and genre-defying in scope, ALL IS FAIR is at once a thrilling and intellectual journey into worlds beyond sight. ”
~ Goodreads Description.
All Is Fair is Book three of The Split Worlds by Emma Newman, a planned five part series. Check out my posts from the Between Two Thorns read along and the Any Other Name read along before reading any of the All Is Fair posts.
Previously in The Split Worlds…
Catherine Rhoeas-Papaver (Cathy) has been living in hiding in Mundanus (Our world, but specifically Manchester) from her repressive family and the society from which she was raised. That upbringing was in the Nether – one of the Split Worlds. Whilst repaying a debt to an old friend in London – Cathy is dragged back into the Nether after her family Fae Patron, Lord Poppy finds her and removes her only means of hiding. Back in Aquae Sulis (A Nether reflection of Bath) Cathy tries to resist the forced arranged marriage that her family arranges for her. Meanwhile, back in Mundanus. Sam an otherwise normal mundane man stumbles over a nefarious plot that could tip the balance of power in the Nether… If only he can remember or tell anyone about it! Max, is the only surviving Arbiter of Bath. His soul has become trapped within an animated Gargoyle which comes in handy every now and again… But, someone or something has attacked and killed his colleagues – why?
Later on the action moves to Londinium the Nether reflection of London. Cathy now married to Will (an Iris) has to come to terms with her new station in life and dance a fine line between the needs and obligations of two very different Fae Lords (Iris and Poppy). Sam now aware of The Split Worlds tries to do good, even though he lacks any detailed knowledge in that in which he meddles. Sam and his wife Leanne appear to be under some sort of protection from the mysterious Lord Iron – but what will that mean? Meanwhile, Max is pushing hard to uncover why his fellow Arbiters were murdered – He must also investigate the mysterious Agency that seems to hold so much power within the Nether. Cathy’s Husband – Will, is maneuvering to become the next Duke of Londinium. But Will is also protecting a brother and sister from a fallen rival family, Amelia and Cornelius – who don’t exactly have Will’s best interests at heart!
The questions for week one (Hosted by Lisa at Over The Effing Rainbow);
1. We get to visit the Agency in more depth than before here. What are your thoughts/predictions on their shady goings-on after what we’ve been shown?
I’d be very interested in hearing how The Agency came into existence without the support or Patronage of a Fae! The fact that they seem able to anchor their Nether Headquarters to a Mundanus ruin seems very different magic to anything else we have seen. Ignoring the ethics of how it works – I wonder If maybe another party (Elemental Court/Sorcerer etc) helped to set them up? It also appears that there’s a seam of corruption within the Agency too! Bennet extorting Cathy for money for his own benefit!
As shady as what we learned this week seems. I think we may only be scratching the surface of the dark and mysterious Agency. On another note, did the Agency people in charge seem to capitulate too easily to Max and Ekstrand? I wonder If they’re planning on fighting back somehow!
2. Will finally realises he may have made certain mistakes with all his assumptions… Do you think he’ll step up and correct them, or is it too late for him?
It’s clear that someone within the Iris family line is either in on or possibly responsible for the corruption within the London Arbiter chapter! I think Will’s problem is that he’s burned a bridge that he cannot go back over in challenging and killing Bartholomew Tulipa. Lines have been drawn and there’s no backing down for him now – especially as Lord Iris seems to be pushing him forward still.
3. “It’s nice not being called ‘puppet’ all the time.” Max and Cathy seem to be coming to a better understanding of each other and their situations. Max also seems to be coming around more to the gargoyle’s (more emotional) point of view. What do you make of their scenes here, and do you think he and Cathy can become true allies from here?
Max only seems to come close to the Gargoyles point of view when the Gargoyle makes physical/close contact! Otherwise I think Max would never have given in to the Gargoyles calls. I think Max may even be underestimating the intelligence of the Gargoyle in this respect. I think the Gargoyle has figured this out, and when he really wants Max to step up – is making blatant use of this mechanic to influence Max!
As for the Max/Cathy dynamic- I think that Cathy showing so much familiarity with Mundanus technology and culture is going a long way to making Max/Gargoyle warm up to her. I think It’s still early days yet though – too early to call it a proper alliance.
4. Things take an interesting turn for Sam with Lord Iron, following Leanne’s funeral. Do you have any new thoughts about might be going on here after the discussion they have at Lord Iron’s house?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… SHOW ME THE BODY!
Ok, now I’ve got that out of the way, let’s assume that Leanne is dead. Isn’t it a bit weird that Lord Iron went to her funeral. The same funeral attended by Leanne’s colleagues and Neugent. Yet Neugent and those same colleagues didn’t seem to find it unusual that their ultimate uber boss was attending? It al smells rather suspicious, especially as Neugent also appears to be very sick!
New theory: Lord Iron is looking to replace Neugent with Sam. The wedding ring thing is supposed to do something for Lord Iron’s ultimate benefit – but Neugent maybe failed somehow? Maybe Neugent regrets his history/actions on behalf of Lord Iron? Maybe that’s why he tried to warn Sam at the funeral to beware Iron?
There you go folks, another crazy Split Worlds theory from Hisham!
Other thoughts: Sophia has been conspicuous in her absence from the goings on this week, with just a throw away comment here and there about her… I wonder what’s happening there.
Elemental Court implies a Court of more than one person or figure. So far we have only met Lord Iron, but how many other Lords or Ladies might there be in this court? Are they all based upon metals or is it elements in general?
Max is still walking around with Titanium metal plates and screws in his leg. WILL this ever come back to bite him? Does Ekstrand know about this corruption within his only remaining Arbiter?
Ekstrand is coming across as crazier and crazier every time I read about him… What’s up with that?
The Agency has been well and truly rumbled by Ekstrand (as far as we know.). But the Charm shop is still a secret they remain unaware of. Are there possibly other Nether organisations or businesses we haven’t seen yet?
Well. Week one of book three is already charging ahead at full steam. What did you think? Any questions you’ve thought of?
Let me know.
I’ll be back next week, when I’ll be asking the questions… I hope I don’t muck things up!