Review: The Split Worlds Series by Emma Newman

Between two thornsThe Split Worlds Series by Emma Newman: Between Two Thorns, Any Other Name, All Is Fair.

Not your usual fantasy, and all the better for it!

Cathy’s already done the unexpected and terrifying – she’s run away from home and is currently in hiding, trying to live a normal life. But when her previous world catches up…

The Split Worlds series is a very different look on a fantasy world. There’s a murder mystery; a policeman with his soul in a (somehow adorable) gargoyle. There’s personal mysteries and quests. There’s wider politics. There’s a Victorian world, a Faerieland, a dose of modern culture and politics, a crazed mix of tiny private domains and familiar sites reimagined – and all put into wider circles and jealousies, rivalries, interlocking needs and wants and desires. The writing is excellent, and the storytelling very well paced and plotted; the wider politics and morality is never forced, and we’re shown the world rather than told, given examples rather than lectured to.Any other name

In terms of characters, the books are wonderful. There’s baddies and goodies, and most of the time they’re the same people…the mix of motives and personalities are brilliant; everyone’s likeable and unlikeable, nothing feels forced or cliché, and everyone’s allowed to grow and change. Cathy is a very sympathetic heroine and I wanted to know more, wanted her to succeed, felt the failures as keenly as she did – and I have loved seeing her grow over the course of the three books. Max and the gargoyle are interesting; I admit I wasn’t sure about Sam’s story to start with, but by the third book I’m hooked. The secondary characters don’t feel like it – their personalities and motives are as interesting as the main characters, and you feel you could potentially learn more about any of them.

All is fairThis is a series about tradition and modernity, change and freedom. It’s about equalities and the status quo, about quiet revolution and loud assassinations, about history and fantasy colliding. It’s an excellent and engaging story that you won’t want to put down. Read it!

Ps. There’s also a set of short stories in the same world at SplitWorlds.com!

Pps. I should probably have a grudge against Emma Newman as she gave me her cold at BristolCon…but she’s awesome even with that!