Author: Emma Newman.
Expected publication: February 26th 2013.
Publisher: Angry Robot.
Sort: Part one of ‘The split worlds.’
Source: Netgalley & publisher.
Something is wrong in Aquae Sulis, Bath’s secret mirror city. The new season is starting and the Master of Ceremonies is missing. Max, an Arbiter of the Split Worlds Treaty, is assigned with the task of finding him with no one to help but a dislocated soul and a mad sorcerer. There is a witness but his memories have been bound by magical chains only the enemy can break. A rebellious woman trying to escape her family may prove to be the ally Max needs. But can she be trusted? And why does she want to give up eternal youth and the life of privilege she’s been born into?
Meet the intricate and difficult world of Nether. It’s a place between our world (called Mundanus) and the world of the Fae (Exilium). One of the big cities is Aqua Sulis and all the important and Fae-touched families live here. This book tells the story of several characters. First we get to know Sam, a Mundane. He is in the wrong place at the wrong time and that makes him a valuable eye-witness. He has no idea what is going on when he is questioned by Max and a sorcerer. Max is an Arbiter and he is assigned with the investigation of the disappeared Master of Ceremonies. When he and the sorcerer discover that Sam’s memory is locked by a powerful Charm, he must find someone who can help them.
That’s when Catherine’s, also Cathy, story comes in the picture. Cathy ran away from her powerful family in Aqua Sulis. She lives in Mundanus, protected by a spell to keep her family from finding her. When Lord Poppy (a high Fae lord) takes a certain interest in her, her time in Mundanus is over. She is taken back to her parents and they already made plans for her future: she is going to marry William, second son from another rich family.
From all the people in the book, I found Cathy’s POV the best. Her story is sad. She is desperate to live in our world, far away from her fathers terror. I love how she never gave up and she stays true to herself. What I also appreciated was the fact that she was described as ‘plain looking.’ Finally something else than flowing, shining hair and dazzling eyes. I liked the original Arbiter. This is someone whose soul is dislocated from his body. The downside was the disconnecting I felt with Max; he has no emotions. He felt a bit flat.
The story was sometimes hard to follow. There are a lot of names and they all sound similar. I was a bit lost at some parts and when we got a glimpse of explanation, it was nearly at the end. There were some things lacking in the world-building. The plot was okay. There isn’t much mystery, but the story had a nice pace. The thing that really bothered me was the abrupt ending. It came out of nowhere and I felt like I missed something. Not a bad book, but it's nothing special. (I have to mention it: the cover is so pretty!)
He clasped her hand again, this time pressing it over his heart, but she felt no beat through the silk shirt. “Now I understand what a delicious creature of passion you are. It was buried so far beneath an inconsequential face and forgettable body that I almost missed it!”