This is a good series. I like the world set up and I like most of the characters. And there’s one more, soon to be released volume to complete (I hope) the various narrative threads. The Split Worlds series is set in world where everyday normalcy exists, and is called Mundanus. But there’s 2 further dimensions; Exilium, where the Fey have been exiled to (get it?), and the Nether, where humans live who interact with the Fey and are stuck in time, literally and socially. In the Nether, you don’t age, but you are subject to the whims of the Fey rulers, who each control a family faction and manipulate them to presumably entertain themselves through eternity. The literally comes from the Victorian society and culture in which the residents of the Nether are stuck.
Cathy wants out; she’s wanted out, and she’s getting closer in each novel. She was born in the Nether to a high ranking family, and forced to marry into another. But now in A Little Knowledge she’s using her husband’s new position as Duke of Londinium to try and elevate the status of women to a more 21st century level. She encounters much resistance, but not just from the men and those in power. Cathy also has to deal with the pressure from her husband’s family’s Fey patron, Lord Iris, to have a child to continue the line, although Lord Iris is especially interested in Cathy and Will procreating. Cathy is naturally opposed to the idea, while Will, who seems to actually like her, wants to respect her wishes, but also not get killed by his patron or destroyed by others who would like to take his power. I sympathize with Cathy, but she spends so much of her time getting mad and being stubborn about how long things are taking, I’m getting annoyed with her. I don’t understand why the concept of doing what took 200 years in Mundanus to achieve can’t be done overnight seems so difficult. The cliff-hanger ending to this end on the one hand did not surprise me, but also kept me a little annoyed with her (without any resolution). One thing’s for sure though, given all the heavy hints about Lord Iris having some kind of past that explains his obsession with Will and Cathy, there’d better be some reveals in the final novel, or I may never be able to forgive Emma Newman.
What I really like about this installment in particular is that we’re finally getting to see why Sam matters in all this. For the first 3 novels, he seemed like more of a side-character with not a lot of purpose. But now seeing him start to learn his way around being Lord Iron, he clearly does have importance. Much like Cathy, Sam is placed in a situation where he has little control, but has some small power that he’s going to use to try and set things right; and plus, that little seeming power probably has something more to it. Probably in both their cases.
The only real problem was that there wasn’t as much Rupert. Rupert is a lot of fun to watch; why wouldn’t a centuries old sorcerer who acts like a modern college student, who is actually in charge of something at Oxford University, not be entertaining? Similarly, I wish there was a little more pagetime with Cathy’s uncle Lavandula. He’s a minor character, but he seems like he’s being set up as a fop who only pretends to be foppish, and is actually a lot smarter than he looks or acts. Again, if I get no help with this in the final book, I may never forgive Emma Newman.