A Little Knowledge (The Split Worlds #4) by Emma Newman
A Little Knowledge is the fourth instalment in the Split World series by Emma Newman which brings to us three worlds. Firstly a little background to the world created by Ms Newman. Exilium is the world of the fae, Mundanus is the world of regular humans living in the modern era and the Nether is a completely different world which sits in between the two and keeps them blissfully unaware of each other. The Nether is a world stuck in time, it feels a little like a regency period world. The people there are each aligned to a fae Lord and Lady, they’re known as puppets because their actions are dictated by the whims of the fae. The worlds are ‘policed’ by arbiters, each belonging to their own chapters and each one with it’s own sorcerer. So, that out of the way lets move on and catch up with the story for No.4 – with a customary spoiler alert that if you’re planning on reading this series then spoilers may be lurking below.
At the start of ALK Cathy is once again experiencing the frustration of dealing with life in the Nether. At the end of the last book she’d made a stand and the ending felt like a great leap forward but, from the beginning, we can see that life in the Nether is pretty much going on as it was before, stuck in time with the women in society treated as property to be bartered for position and wealth. Meanwhile we have the alternate threads developing – Sam is floundering in his world, he knows little about the elementals and is already making enemies. Max and his gargoyle are still taking measures to protect innocent people from being tampered with by the fae and are uncovering mysteries from the past and the sorcerer Rupert is trying to re-establish his chapter.
The one thing that all of these books have in common is that they’re quite difficult to review without cutting to the chase and giving away massive plot points! In a way, these books are like little soap operas, similar to the world of the Nether, progress feels slow and yet, like a good soap opera, the storyline is addictive and makes you want to read more.
These stories are very much character driven and that’s what I’m going to focus on here. Cathy is still desperately trying to help the ladies of society and to empower them to have a voice, Will, meanwhile, makes all the right noises in that direction but behind the scenes is not quite the charmer we would like him to be. I’ve never really trusted Will and after this instalment I frankly wanted to slap him very hard or just hit him with a heavy object! I won’t elaborate further but OMG he really did make me so angry! And, as if the actions of the men from the Nether wasn’t bad enough we have those women who, in their own fight for power, enable the men to be so utterly chauvanistic I thought there was a fascinating development with Max’s story in which we start to learn a little about his past and how he came to be an arbiter. I really enjoyed his story arc and hope for more in that respect. Sam, well, like I mentioned, and actually almost similarly to Cathy, he’s finding his new status difficult to adapt to until he makes the acquaintance of a character who approaches him from one of the Chapters to seek a commission. This is also an intriguing storyline – one that I’m not sure whether or not I feel worried about yet!
This is certainly my favourite of the books so far. There were a number of revelations and the ending really does set the stall out for the next book which I’m really looking forward to reading. At the end of the book Cathy has taken a very firm decision and definitely one that will cause ructions – it’s going to be very interesting to see how everything pans out.