Give me magic, gadgets, monsters, zombies, everything that seems impossible, and throw in some tough chicks with swords. That's the stuff.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Review: Any Other Name

Any Other Name (Split Worlds #2) by Emma Newman

Note: This is a book 2. I am going to try to be as spoiler-less as possible, but if you haven't read book 1, Between Two Worlds, then don't read this review. And go read book 1, it was excellent.

Middle books are not usually my favorites - I fully realize their importance, they just usually aren't the books I like best in the series. Any Other Name was fantastic and is high on my list of Best Middle Books in a Trilogy. I liked book 2 more than book 1 (and I really enjoyed book 1). Part of the reason is that there wasn't too much time between the reading of books 1 and 2. Also there isn't a lot of retreading past events or rehashing series info. You start pretty much exactly where we left off and you hit the ground running. The pace was fast but not rushed, and I felt that all of the players got enough facetime to keep the various plotlines coherent.

I gave up sleep to finish this book and was very glad I did.

Lots of conspiracies, a wedding, complex relationships, characters trying to navigate the very perilous path between their own wishes and those of their families and Fae patrons. Life in the Nether seemed like walking a tightrope with boiling lava on one side and snapping crocodiles on the other.

The characters are progressing too. In book 1, I didn't get as good a feel for Sam, but in this one I did. I always felt bad for him, and this just cemented my hope that he finds some kind of happiness. I still love Cathy. She is smart in some ways, so naive in others. Getting more of a backbone, or at least learning to navigate better, I liked her new sense of purpose.  Her character is so interesting to me. She has lived in both the strict society of the Nether and in the more liberated mundane world. To have tasted freedom and then have to be stuffed back into a role she never wanted is heartbreaking but I have hope that she will be OK. Her interaction with Will was a good part. I'm not sold on anything about them, but I think that is a good thing. [Note: If you are a die-hard romance fan, you might not like certain aspects of this book.]

I've read many period romances that gloss over the realities of living in a society where you really have no rights. I think this book conveyed well the horror of having the rights most of us take for granted stripped away, and does it without being preachy about it.

You know you are getting into a book when you want to pull characters aside for a little chat. Will, you are an idiot. An idiot with good intentions, but you pissed me the hell off. Max, you need to listen to your gargoyle more. Mr. Sorcerer - there is something so very off about you. I feel some good bits of secrets spilling in book 3.

Because this is a middle book, we are of course left with more questions than answers, but I anticipated that, so it didn't bother me. I loved the set up and can't wait to see what happens in the conclusion. Just a few more months to go.

[received an ARC to review]

Emma Newman also has some really fun stuff on her website. You can sign up for free Split Worlds short stories. Also, there is her Three Wishes campaign (I'm still pondering my wishes, but you can also see if you can help grant someone's wish) as well as her new podcasts, Tea and Jeopardy.

Emma Newman:

Angry Robot:

Any Other Name Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Powell's | IndieBound

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