These two books are the concluding books of Emma Newman’s Split World series. I read All Good Things before A Little Knowledge because I mistakenly thought that I’d already read the fourth book. Oops. I like this series a lot, but the fact that I could pick up All Good Things and not be lost at all kind of highlights one of the issues I have with it, which is that it is needlessly drawn out. The side stories that happened in A Little Knowledge were fun but not necessary at all for the final plot. I feel like this is a problem with a lot of modern fiction though *cough*GRRM*cough* and so I don’t mind it so much. Yes, some things were necessary to get the characters into their final positions, but I think Newman could have trimmed a lot of fat from the books. This is a comfortable world to spend some time in though and I enjoy the books. The ending was satisfying and really that’s all you can ask for.
The set up for this world is that there are three different planes of existence. Mundanus, which is the modern world, the Nether which is an in-between place where the Fae keep human pets, and then the realm of the Fae. We follow three characters through the novels, Cathy who belongs to a family kept by one of the fae in the Nether. Cathy longs to be free and starts her story hiding out in Mundanus. Sam is a human who stumbles upon this strange world completely by accident. And finally there is Max, a kind of magical police man who is charged by sorcerers to keep the fae, and those fae touched, from influencing Mundanus in any way at all. It’s honestly a really interesting set up, and I liked a lot about the books. It is a series that I would kind of forget about between books though. It’s good and fun, but there was just something missing about the books to really capture my attention.
Massive spoilers for all previous books in this paragraph. In A Little Knowledge we see our characters go through the final paces to set them up for the big finale. Cathy finally realizes how terrible her husband is, Sam comes to terms with his newfound powers, and Max reconciles to the idea that the sorcerers are not the good guys he was always taught. In All Good Things it’s finally revealed that the sorcerers split the world a thousand years ago and things are falling apart because of that. The magic of the fae is necessary in the mundane world to balance out the logic and order of elemental magic, and without a steady source of creative juices to feed upon the fae starve and become the villainous creatures that Cathy fears.
My biggest complaint with the book is how disjointed they feel and that they suffer from cliffhanger syndrome. We’ll follow one character for a while and the right as something big is about to happen we drop that character to go follow another character. It makes for very frustrating reading. I also think, as I stated above, that they books could have been condensed quite a bit. However, despite my complaints I really enjoyed the series, enough that Emma Newman became an author whose books I will read simply because I know I’ll be in for a pleasant, if not amazing, reading experience.