Any Other Name is the second book in Emma Newman’s The Split Worlds series, and it follows straight on from Between Two Thorns, which I loved with an uncontained glee, and reviewed here. So if you haven’t read the first one be warned that this review contains unavoidable SPOILERS!
Right then fellow Split Worlds addicts, as you no doubt recall things were looking up and down for our heroes. Sam was safely back home, unfortunately Cathy was back with her family too, whilst Max had unfinished business at his cloister house. At the beginning of Any Other Name Sam has decided that what he really needs to do is pop back to Exilium – the land of the Fae where one teeny-tiny transgression could see you trapped in limbo for eternity. Trouble is, Sam’s a decent bloke and he’s realised who the dancers he saw there on his previous visit actually are, and therefore he needs to rescue them. Some people are just drawn to trouble.
Cathy appears to be sleepwalking her way to the altar and her wedding day. Has she seen the error of her ways and decided to conform to her ghastly father’s wishes? Has she heck! There was an escape plan, it’s just she can’t quite remember what it was at this crucial moment. Sinister, no? Cathy is subject to even more duress, manipulation and unforgivable charms in this story than in Between Two Thorns. The men in her life have a knack of behaving very badly; the insights we get into the motivations do not excuse the methods employed in my opinion.
Max, the Sorcerer, and the rest of the gang are up to their necks in dead bodies as they try to piece together what happened at the cloister. Max’s Gargoyle seals his place as one of my favourite characters; I love that this great hunk of stone exhibits all the emotions and empathy that Max cannot. He’s the human side of Max! Elsewhere, Will, Cathy’s husband-to-be, is gearing up to make the most of his marriage, but has rather too much Amelia Alba-Rosa on his mind for my liking. If we learnt anything in the first book it was that Roses are not to be trusted.
It is possible that I loved Any Other Name even more than Between Two Thorns. The plot thickens in some areas, whilst other matters come fully into the light. As I indicated earlier, Cathy has a rough time and it’s not over yet. We meet a Fae Lord that makes Lord Poppy look like the original sweetie-pie. Will gets drawn into a terrible conspiracy that cannot end well. Sam does his best to reconcile his Netherworld experiences with his ‘real’ life, but the worlds keep bleeding into each other with tragic consequences. The book culminates in a dramatic showdown that left me desperate for the next book. Once again, there is still so much more to learn about the Split Worlds.
Thank you very much to Angry Robot for letting me read Any Other Name as an eARC via Netgalley. The Paperback is available now, and if like me you are anxious to read Book 3, All is Fair will be available in October this year.