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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Magic
Please be aware this review contains spoilers for both “Any Other Name” and “Between Two Thorns”.

“Any Other Name” is the direct sequel to the delightful “Between Two Thorns” and it picks up where that book left off, with heroine Cathy looking down the barrel of an unwanted marriage to William Reticula-Iris, while...
Published 1 month ago by Mr. C. Horner

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3.0 out of 5 stars a little disappointing
I really enjoyed book one of The Split Worlds, except for the fact that the gargoyle is actually a grotesque, gargoyles spout water. I let it ride as I enjoyed the story, but this one just seemed like filler, it doesn't really move the story on that much further. I am not ready to give up on it yet and hope the next book does more.
Published 15 months ago by Red Dragon


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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Magic, 30 Oct 2014
By 
Mr. C. Horner "hierath" (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Any Other Name (Paperback)
Please be aware this review contains spoilers for both “Any Other Name” and “Between Two Thorns”.

“Any Other Name” is the direct sequel to the delightful “Between Two Thorns” and it picks up where that book left off, with heroine Cathy looking down the barrel of an unwanted marriage to William Reticula-Iris, while Max and the gargoyle investigate the massacre of the Bath Chapter of Arbiters, whose hearts have been turned to stone in their chests by an unfamiliar and powerful magic.

Cathy discovers that she has escaped the clutches of her own family, the Rhoeas-Papavers, only to fall into the clutches of the Iris, who are possibly even more cruel and calculating. How can she carry out her tasks for former Patron Lord Poppy and escape into Mundanus and back to the life she longs for when a Charm placed upon her on her wedding day restricts her contact with any man who isn’t her husband? Dame Iris, the second wife of the Iris family Patroon, is merely unbearable, but Lord Iris himself is the very embodiment of sinister, and he has plans for Cathy that neither she or her former patron Lord Poppy will be able to fight against.

Meanwhile, Mundane Sam is losing his wife to sinister forces who have the power of the Elemental Court behind them, and not even Lord Iron’s protection is going to be enough to help him this time. When the Elemental Court start interfering in the affairs of both Mundanus and the Nether it could spell disaster for the Split Worlds and everybody in them…

Tea and cake are the cornerstones of the Split Worlds, as is only right and proper. The books have a sensibility that make them very lovably English, even now the action has moved from genteel Aquae Sulis to the more cosmopolitan Londinium, but they also have an inner core of steel. This is exemplified in Cathy, whose feminist way of thinking clashes at every stage with the oppressive patriarchy of Nether Society. What I really loved about Cathy, aside from her passion, was her ability to grow and change, to accept that she wasn’t the only one feeling this way, and her willingness to sacrifice a degree of her own happiness to stand up for her sisters in Society as it dawns on her that they might just feel as uncomfortable with their proscribed roles as she does. It will be interesting to see how she takes up that fight.

Max and the Gargoyle, and to some extent Sam, take a back seat to Will and Cathy’s struggles in this second volume, and that’s a shame as I wanted to see more of them and find out how their strange, strained relationship progresses. As for Will, it’s good to see a conflicted hero, who sometimes does sinister things for what he thinks are the best reasons. By the end of the novel he has been manipulated into doing something truly terrible, and while he is unaware of the manipulation, he can see that the consequences of his actions will result in yet more blood being spilt amongst the Great Families.

The book ends on a breath-snatching cliffhanger that leaves the reader grasping eagerly for the next volume, and wondering how this terrible situation is ever going to be resolved. It’s going to take more than tea and cake to solve this one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Split Worlds story continues and everything steps up a ..., 9 Aug 2014
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The Split Worlds story continues and everything steps up a level from Between Two Thorns; more depth, more plots and intrigue, more jeopardy, more butlers and most definitely more tea.

With a shift of focus away from the Nether version of Bath to the one of London, mysteries surrounding the intentions of the Fae, the sorcerers and the Agency plus an intriguing new player only hinted at before, the pace of events and the stakes for the characters have increased which seems to have had the knock-on effect of me racing through this in under a week and starting book three immediately afterwards.

There's still some aspects of the Regency society of the Nether that aren't to my taste and I've flipped back and forth between loathing and rooting for Will, but with the conflicting agendas and machinations of the various sides, a willingness to kill off some characters and a wealth of plot threads left to resolve it's no wonder I've leapt straight into All Is Fair.

So, time for some cake and a cup of tea then right back to see how this all ends.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Splits Worlds, but not a split decision, 3 Oct 2014
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Emma Newman is a fabulous author. She has taken one of the most loved cities in England (Bath in case you're wondering) and made it the epicentre of her wholly original and fascinating alternate universe. Split Worlds had me gripped from the very start and I find myself partially wishing that I could find an entrance to the other side. Great writing, great stories and a good bit of action. I can't wait for book 4. Buy them, BUY THEM ALL.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly superb, 18 Mar 2014
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I finished the first book in this series feeling a little meh. I wasn't that excited about opening this one, but thought I'd give it a go.

It is unusual for me to feel regret when my train pulls into my station after work and I have to put my kindle away. It is even more rare for me to simply HAVE to finish a book at home before I could possible sleep. That's what this book did to me.

From an uninspiring first book this book turns a corner into a book that kept me on edge throughout. Seething internally at the characters, feeling amazing joy and crushing hopelessness all int eh space of a few pages.

I'm so excited to read the third now I'm having to persuade myself that sleep is unfortunately more of a priority!
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5.0 out of 5 stars gret item, 14 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Any Other Name (Paperback)
this is a great item brand new, story is recommended but you have to read the series to understand the plot etc.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Second brilliant instalment in the Split Worlds series, 9 Feb 2014
By 
Mrs. B. S. Kemp "Beth Kemp" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Any Other Name (Paperback)
Having loved the first title in this series, I was keen to read the second – and I was not disappointed! If English urban fantasy featuring Fae lore is your thing, I would urge you to pick up this series. Emma Newman definitely knows what she is doing. I was captivated from start to finish and I am growing to love her cast of bizarre and mismatched characters. This novel follows on directly from the first, so if you haven’t read Between Two Thorns, I’d suggest you head over to that 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.

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!
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3.0 out of 5 stars a little disappointing, 30 Aug 2013
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I really enjoyed book one of The Split Worlds, except for the fact that the gargoyle is actually a grotesque, gargoyles spout water. I let it ride as I enjoyed the story, but this one just seemed like filler, it doesn't really move the story on that much further. I am not ready to give up on it yet and hope the next book does more.
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4.0 out of 5 stars More literary trifle, now with a dash of sherry, 22 Aug 2013
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Something I adore in writing is the sense that a world and story are bigger than the small part of it that we're seeing. These authors are world-builders in the truest sense of the phrase, and Emma Newman appears to achieve this effortlessly. Once again the modern world, Fae scheming and Victorian-valued Society come together in a delicious collage.

If you enjoyed Between Two Thorns you'll be far from disappointed with the sequel. It's the same gorgeous worlds, the same politics and the same intrigue but bigger, better and with a hint of added spice. Once again, whatever you think of characters going in to the book you're certain to have revised those opinions a dozen times over before you get to the end - which, by the way, made me swear out loud like a Game of Thrones wedding!

A superb sequel. And I still want my own gargoyle.
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5.0 out of 5 stars superb yet again, 6 Aug 2013
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I loved this book! Can't wait for no 3. The characters are engrossing, the story fast paced and true urban fantasy at its best
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4.0 out of 5 stars Going places..., 22 Jun 2013
By 
D. Harris (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Any Other Name (Paperback)
This is the second volume of Emma Newman's Split Worlds series (if you haven't read Between Two Thorns yet, go and do so - this isn't a series to pick up mid way). It improves on the first - which was already promising - I think, building the tension up nicely. The book picks up from right where the first left off - is Newman actually writing a modern three-volume novel? - with Cathy Rhoeas-Papaver dragged back into the Nether by her tyrannical father, about to be married to a boy she doesn't know.

The Nether is a parallel world whose inhabitants seem to think they're living in the pages of Jane Austen (without the good bits). They are encouraged/ motivated by links to the Fae, supernatural beings who live (or are imprisoned?) in a third world, Exilium. The Fae act out their quarrels and plans through the families of the Nether, named after flowers associated with the Fae. This setup is policed by Arbiters, spell-wielding policemen, and Sorcerers.

The meat of this novel consists of Cathy struggling against the marriage her family wish on her, and William, the boy she is to marry, on the one hand, and Max, the Arbiter, dealing with some fairly hefty loose ends from "Between Two Thorns", on the other. We also learn more of Sam, who featured in the first book, but whose relevance to the rest was a bit of a puzzle. Cathy is - necessarily - more constrained here, which could have made the book sag, but Newman avoids that by using her plight rather shrewdly to illustrate the position of women in a patriarchal society (yes, I know that sounds dull and worthy, but please believe me, it's not). William is also a focus both as he comes to terms with Cathy - and this isn't all nice by any means - and joins in Londinium politics, seeking to become "Duke" (on his patron, Lord Iris's, orders). It is a society of morning gowns, ball gowns, duels, etiquette, and hidden drudgery and oppression - one Cathy sought to avoid - all buttressed by the devious Fae. And there is another faction - the shady Elemental Court - which also seems to be manipulating the "puppets".

An excellent read, with the main characters becoming more distinct and three dimensional and even contradictory (even those we're meant to boo are allowed partially redeeming details, such as Cathy's abusive father, whose life is shown to have been constrained by the Fae, if not as much as his daughter's).

The only slight defect (perhaps) is that in the first few pages a fair amount of information is dumped from the earlier book through helpful exposition by passing characters, and it seems a bit forced. It's not that the information isn't helpful - it is, because even in a few months one tends to forget the detail - but I think this might have been done better through a short synopsis. But that's a minor criticism. In this book Newman seems more confident with her characters and her invented world and she is clearly going to do great things - I'm looking forward to what she makes of the next part.
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Any Other Name (Split Worlds)
Any Other Name (Split Worlds) by Emma Newman (Paperback - 28 May 2013)
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