Split Worlds

wakarimasen

Journeyed there and back again
#1
Has anyone read any of Emma Newman's Split Worlds book?

They're getting a relaunch this year (and a new book) and I was wondering if they were any good. It's a mirror universe story... sounds quite quirky and I've got to give props to the lady herself for organising a masked ball for the fans...
http://www.splitworlds.com/enter-the-split-worlds/

Anyway, aside from trying them myself I was toying with subjecting her to questioning (There are THREE lights) so I thought I'd find out if anyone has any opinions on them
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#3
I haven't. To be honest I only really became aware of her books after The Vagrant was released last year. They sound fun though, so I wouldn't rule them out.
 

wakarimasen

Journeyed there and back again
#5
Following on from this.. I've just finished the first one so I'll give a quick review. Also - with the re-release yesterday of the original trilogy I've been made aware of a stack (I mean like 50+) short stories in this world all available out there. An impressive, if slightly overwhelming, addition to the experience. Certainly explains why the fans have a certain committed feel to them..

So.

Between Two Thorns - Split Worlds Vol1 - Emma Newman

Ever thought what Pride and Prejudice needed was psychotic fairies? Then BTT is for you. In fact there is probably a bit in it for any Austen fan as one of the titular "split" worlds is a fae reflection of that societal flavour. I found the dialogue in this reflected world lacked the same wit and sharpness of something like Austen, but then it's not trying to dine out on cloning that experience. Instead its a mystery book set in a very rich world. In fact one of the best things in its favour is the density of ideas, they're packed in nice and tight without apology.

I would be tempted to try and explain the story by saying it's Urban Fantasy, after all - this dual vision of worlds is familiar fair to anyone snacking on the Dresden books, but instead lets call it Urbane Fantasy. It's simply more classy. It has cufflinks and décolletage.

There are quite a few thematic questions asked in the book, about control, feminism and perspective. They provide a good framework for a bunch of interesting characters. Those characters could be a touch predictable for me. I found the spikes in the dialogue quality, when they really came into their own, to be noticeable. This could just be because there is a lot crammed into a relatively short tale so they had to move things along as well as engage. It's important to say though, that these characters are fully rounded. There's not much in the way of Mary Sues at the ball and the Austen tropes are background players rather than main cast. We have characters with marriage difficulties, characters with emotional dislocation (okay - he's a gargoyle - but it stands) and characters that hate their lives. The author has been writing a long time (so she told me in her own perfectly clipped tones at the end of the audio book) and it shows, there is a solidity and confidence to the writing that's very pleasing.

The biggest sense or sensibility I was left with at the end was one of potential. This is a great world, it appeals to the part of me that likes to wear the occasional double breasted waistcoat, and I want to see how it pans out for the characters. That's not to say the resolution was unsatisfying, it tied most things up and left a nice teaser. It's more that it left me wanting to see how a the tale went on now I had reached a certain level of knowledge about the world so that not everything needed explained.

In summary.
Pros: Rich world, confident writing, engaging plot and well rounded characters.
Cons: Occasionally predictable, if necessary, dialogue. If you hate Austen, you might not be able to get past that.

I'm going to stick a 4 out of 5 on this. It would have been a 3.5 but I reckon the next books, which I'm definitely going to read, are just going to get better.
 

wakarimasen

Journeyed there and back again
#8
@jo zebedee She seems to work hard for it. We're going to do an interview with her nearer the release of book four in split worlds, so if there's anything you'd like to know just pop it in this thread. I've also heard very good things about her scifi novel last year Planetfall. I've tried not to read too much about it, don't want to spoiler it for myself, but the protag seems to be striking a lot of chords with people.
 

jo zebedee

Journeyed there and back again
#9
@jo zebedee She seems to work hard for it. We're going to do an interview with her nearer the release of book four in split worlds, so if there's anything you'd like to know just pop it in this thread. I've also heard very good things about her scifi novel last year Planetfall. I've tried not to read too much about it, don't want to spoiler it for myself, but the protag seems to be striking a lot of chords with people.
She does work hard at it - there's no other way to crack this, I think. I'll look forward to it.
 

khrm

Listens to The Unbeliever whine about life
#10
I am going to read this next. I love Jane Austen. Have read all her works. And her pride and prejudice is among the few books that I have read more than once.
 

khrm

Listens to The Unbeliever whine about life
#12
I finished with all the three books. I like how she handles the romance. I didn't find protagonist to be a Mary Sue. Just lucky and a bit naive sometimes. There are still many things left unexplained (may be she will write another novel?).
 
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wakarimasen

Journeyed there and back again
#13
Wow @khrm - fast work
Yeah there's a fourth one out in August. I'm going to have a chat with her nearer then and post it on the site, so if you've any questions then please do post 'em..
 

wakarimasen

Journeyed there and back again
#16
Should be at some point... nothing arranged but agreed in principle. I might suggest interviewing the pair of them together (Peter Newman for The Malice) if anyone thinks that might be fun...
cue cheesy theme tune..."At home with the Newmans, da dah da dah.."

(clearly I'm not really going to go to their home... that'd just be stalky.. besides I've got a good view of it from right here in this bush)
 

wakarimasen

Journeyed there and back again
#17
Just as an update for this series.. pretty much done with number 2 and I'm pleased to say my suspicion that it improves was entirely founded. Dialogue was stronger, plot has more depth, caharcters are more complex.
I started number 2 on a whim but now feel compelled to see what goes down in number 3. A series hasn't intrigued me in that way since Dresden - not that that's a comparison - these are an entirely different kettle of fairies...