Second brilliant instalment in the Split Worlds seriesthat title rather than reading on: I cannot guarantee to keep this spoiler-free for book one.
The central characters from the first book all feature strongly again here. I was happy to see Sam, Cathy, William, Max and the Gargoyle above all. I love Sam's dogged persistence, even though he's very much out of his depth and kept in the dark. I'm also pleased by the structural symmetry that both books so far open with Sam and intrusions into his world care of the Fae. Cathy's struggles to balance her Nether upbringing and her feminist education care of her governess continue in this novel, even as the odds continue stacking against her - how could anyone do other than love her spirit? William's character grows and develops (or is revealed more) in this second instalment and I found myself alternately admiring and being suspicious of him, while Max and the Gargoyle keep stealing the scenes they appear in. That's easily one of the best things about reading a series - characters come to be like old friends that you welcome back into your life over and over, and these are great characters. I can't wait to see what they'll do next, and thankfully we're not having to wait a year between books - the third in the series is due in October.
I don't want to say too much about plot, except that: it all works perfectly; I didn't predict the twists; and this novels develops and runs away with the themes and ideas from the first book. The narrative style is again third person, with scenes following different sets of characters in turn. This style ensures that we view story events from different angles, which often increases the tension and makes it a pacey read. It was definitely an edge-of-the-seat experience at times and for the entire last quarter or so. I'm also pleased to report that once again, the book has a clear ending, even though it is a series and sets us up for more action to follow. I hate unnecessary cliffhangers!
In short, this is pretty much a perfect series - great characters, fabulous settings, complex plots, resolved threads within each book with plenty to arc across titles as well. I wholeheartedly recommend it!
The blurb says:Cat has been forced into an arranged marriage with William - a situation that comes with far more strings than even she could have anticipated, especially when she learns of his family's intentions for them both.
Meanwhile, Max and the gargoyle investigate The Agency - a mysterious organisation that appears to play by its own rules - and none of them favourable to Society.
Over in Mundanus, Sam has discovered something very peculiar about his wife's employer - something that could herald a change for everyone in both sides of the Split Worlds.
Published 6 June by Angry Robot
For more info, visit the author's website
My grateful thanks go to the publisher for allowing me a review copy via Netgalley :)