Waiting on Wednesday: Brother’s Ruin (Industrial Magic #1) by Emma Newman

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme created by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  My book this week is : Brother’s Ruin (Industrial Magic #1) by Emma Newman

brothers-ruinThe year is 1850 and Great Britain is flourishing, thanks to the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts. When a new mage is discovered, Royal Society elites descend like buzzards to snatch up a new apprentice. Talented mages are bought from their families at a tremendous price, while weak mages are snapped up for a pittance. For a lower middle class family like the Gunns, the loss of a son can be disastrous, so when seemingly magical incidents begin cropping up at home, they fear for their Archie’s life and their own livelihoods.

But Archie Gunn isn’t a talented mage. His sister Charlotte is, and to prevent her brother from being imprisoned for false reporting she combines her powers with his to make him seem a better prospect. However, maintaining the charade will mean masquerading as Archie’s assistant, and delaying or destroying her own plans for marriage.

When she discovers a nefarious plot by the sinister Doctor Ledbetter, Charlotte must use all her cunning and guile to protect her family, her secret and her city.

Oh yes, colour me happy.  Emma Newman, gaslight fantasy, nefarious plots!  Sign me up.

Due for release from Tor in May 2017

A Little Knowledge (The Split Worlds #4) by Emma Newman

alittleknowledgeA 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.

 

Friday Firsts – A Little Knowledge by Emma Newman (Split Worlds book #4)

FridayFirsts

Friday Firsts is a new meme that runs every Friday over on Tenacious Reader. The idea is to feature the first few sentences/paragraph of your current book and try and outline your first impressions as a result. This is a quick and easy way to share a snippet of information about your current read.  Stop on by and link up with Tenacious Reader.

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‘Cathy listened to the argument, weighed its merit, and considered her response carefully, as the Duchess of Londinium should. “This is bullshit.”

That also summarised most of what Cathy had discovered about being Duchess of Londinium.  She’d had high hopes – once she’d overcome the sheer dread of having such high status – that the title of Duchess would confer upon her enough power to really make a difference in fae-touched Society.  In reality the only power Cathy had was confined to areas in which she had no interest whatsoever.’

My First Impressions

Being the fourth book in the series I have a very good idea (as you might hope!) about what this series is about.  This opening scene clearly gives me the impression that even though Cathy left on something of a high note at the end of the last book, things haven’t panned out as she hoped since then.

Other books in the series:

  1. Between Two Thorns
  2. Any Other Name
  3. All is Fair

 

What are you reading right now? Did it start out strong? Feel free to join in.

All is Fair (The Split Worlds, #3) by Emma Newman

All is FairAll is Fair is the third book, in the Split Worlds series by Emma Newman, that I’ve been reading as part of a readalong.  This is an unusual world where fae exist – in exile and the mundane world in which we live is separated from the fae by the Nether world.  I’m not going to elaborate too much on the previous books because, and maybe wrongly so, I’m going to assume if you’re reading this review you’ve already read the first two and, if you haven’t you really need to do so and you also need to beware of spoilers).

So, at the end of the last book Will has finally achieved the throne of Londinium in a rather ignominious way, Cathy is recovering following the attack upon her person, Max and his sidekick the Gargoyle are still investigating the deaths at their Chapter and Sam is becoming more embroiled in this alternative world than he ever suspected with the Elemental Court now playing a key role in his life.

How can I describe the Split World series.  It’s a series set in the modern world – with a period regency style world jostling alongside it seperating the mundanes from the fae and the elementals.  A world where nothing is ever quite what it seems and behind the morning dresses and polite afternoon teas is unrest.  This series is a slow burner, there’s no mad action here, things happen at their own pace and yet underneath, simmering under the surface are a number of storylines that are gradually heating up.

And, I have to hand it to Miss Newman, she writes these characters in a way that just makes you fume!  Literally!  Well, personally, I think she’s writing the characters in that way.  For example Will.  He’s a noble from the Nether world, he’s privileged and used to having what he wants but he’s also quite indoctrinated into this world and so, although he seems like he might change it seems that every other thing that he does right he does another three things that will just infuriate the socks off you.  Yes, this is a very sexist world, the women in the nether are repressed and those that speak out or either silenced using charms or transported elsewhere.  The Agency help with this.  The Agency are a strange and corrupt organisation.  They keep things running smoothly in this world but they’re far from above world.

Now on top of this we have the fae who are quite a bunch of schemers.  A surreal bunch of characters, scheming and wicked.  We also have the sorcerers – sorry I forgot to mention them earlier – of course there is a massive scheme afoot, one that I can’t mention.  What I can say is that the newest edition to the sorcerer’s world is very interesting – Rupert.

It’s difficult to say too much here.  There is a grand sweeping plot and so it would be very easy to spoil the story.  What I can say is that by the end of the story the foundations have been laid for change and things look as though they’re about to get very interesting (by which I mean go to hell in a handcart).

I’m very much looking forward to No.4.

I received a copy of All is Fair from the publisher through Netgalley.  The above is my own opinion.

 

 

 

All is Fair by Emma Newman, #3 Split Worlds, readalong week 4 (final week)

AllisFairbanner

Today is the final week of our readalong of book #3 of Emma Newman’s Split Worlds series, All is Fair.  The schedule is below, all welcome and please be aware of potential spoilers lurking below.

Week 1: Monday 4th July, Chapters 1-6, hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Monday 11th July, Chapters 7-14, hosted by Hisham El-Far
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
Straight to the Q&A:
1. Apparently women can’t be Arbiters or Sorcerers. Is this another sign of Nether sexism, or do you think there may be other mysteries at play here? What do you think Rupert will do about it?
Well, given that the only female sorcerer who we’ve made the acquaintance of seems to be living in hiding and has felt the need to go to such dire measures as try to kill all the other sorcerers I’m guessing this springs from sexism within the Nether.  Perhaps she feels really bitter and by killing all the other sorcerers and being the only sorcerer left alive everyone will have no choice but to accept a female – seems a little extreme doesnt it?Obviously we haven’t met the character yet or heard her own reasonings – but let’s be honest, she is responsible for mass murder so far isn’t she, so it doesn’t bode terribly well in terms of her own mental balance!
2. Were you surprised at Max’s choice? What about his deliberate reaching for his emotions? What do you think the future holds for him and the Gargoyle?

Not really, I think both Max and the Gargoyle had reached a conclusion about Ekstrand – I admit that I’d been suspecting him of much more than simply being a bit eccentric and I think I’ve been proved totally wrong in that regard (another wild supposition bites the dust) so it did seem harsh that he had to die like that – but, he also seemed a bit unhinged (perhaps this is something that runs commonly amongst sorcerers!)  I was pleasantly surprised that Max decided to reach out and grasp his own emotions – it was really quite touching (and a bit sad – that part about his mother wondering what had happened to her little boy!)  I think Max and the Gargoyle could have a good future pairing to be honest – Max is clearly still capable of feeling some emotions and with the gargoyle as his companion he has help when he’s in the field.

3. Cathy has had sweeping success in beginning her rebellion. How do you think Londinium – and the Agency – and the Fae – will respond? 

Well, Cathy has certainly gone for it 100%.  I don’t blame her to be honest, I’m not sure that pussy footing around or taking baby steps would work here – in fact she’d probably just find herself with a doll curse or some such other.  The Agency will obviously be livid because this obviously takes from them a very lucrative business, the Londinium crowd – well, there will no doubt be some people who rail against a woman trying to change the rules.  I don’t really think there should be a knock on effect about taking staff away from the agency – the families will still have their staff and just pay them instead of the Agency.  Not sure how the fae will react – part of me wonders why they would be concerned about how the people in the Nether run their domestic affairs – but maybe they like to be in control of this and so Cathy’s actions will seem out of place.  At the back of my mind I can’t help thinking that there has to be an underlying threat of the fae wanting to escape but I’m not sure how that plays into the themes so far.  I predict lot of bother.

4. Will has finally become an ally. Do you think he’s strong enough to stick to it? Do his secrets make him vulnerable?

I think his secrets do make him vulnerable.  Cathy had a little bit of the same and decided to come clean about things which makes her a lot less vulnerable to blackmail for example.  I think Will needs to come clean with Cathy about a number of things – otherwise they’re likely to just come out further down the line.  I still don’t think Will is strong enough to be honest.  He seems to give a little but always hold back, or try to think of the line of least resistance and he comes across as a bit cowardly – he’s always got his eye on damage limitation in terms of the fae or his family and I really don’t see him rushing into the fray.  He just seems a bit lily livered to me.

5. Sam assumes the mantle of Lord Iron – what do you think of his intentions to pick up Leanne’s mission as well? Do you think he will find his deeds tainted just as Amir’s were? What do you make of his reflection that he’s found a way to look at the past such that it’s nobody’s fault?

I’m not quite sure what to make of Sam just yet.  He certainly seems to be getting comfortable making demands already – almost too comfortable in a way – and a little bit too angry to be making reasonable decisions.  Even his letter to Leanne – the way he was coming across.  He seems almost a little bit aggressive and feels like he’s pin balling around and ricocheting from thing to thing.  I think that Amir probably had a good idea about what he was talking about when he said everything he did was tainted.  Maybe Sam can find a way to change that.  We’ll have to see but at the moment I think he needs to take a few of the baby steps I mentioned above.
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