An unfortunate pattern for me has been the requesting of books that are in the middle or at the end of a series. I’ve gotten much better about looking at these things before putting in a request, but I have a backlog of granted request books from a time when I wasn’t so careful. This is such a book.
All is Fair by Emma Newman is the third book in The Split Worlds series (currently four books in the series).
William Iris sits on the throne of Londinium. He does not seem to be well-loved. Max, who has a talking gargoyle for a companion, is investigating a murder. Cathy is navigating the social mores of society and the heritage of her governess. And Sam is getting mixed up with the Elemental Court. Ready, set, go.
Right off the bat I was lost and confused. There’s a difference between being dropped into the middle of a story and making discoveries as we go along, and being dropped into the middle of a story and not learning things as you go along because the information was given in previous books.
The story grabbed me right from the start (mostly because someone was talking with a gargoyle) and I found everything very intriguing. The characters were well-formed and I wanted to know more about them, but the further I read the less I seemed to care about them. This was due, I think, in large part because of the nature of the story-telling. This felt like I was reading a soap-opera.
A big part of fantasy is world-building, and here, too, I wasn’t quite following where this was.
I realize it isn’t completely ‘fair’ to review a third book in a series without having read the first two. On the other hand, since it was released as an individual book, there are certainly going to be people (such as myself) who might choose to read it as such. If it isn’t capable of standing alone as an individual book, then it shouldn’t be released as such. All is Fair does stand alone … just not as well as it could.
I may read this again if I get around to reading the first two books in the series and we’ll see how it goes then. But for now, as a singular book … it was just lacking too much.
Looking for a good book? Emma Newman’s All is Fair is the third book in a fantasy series and it seems essential to have read the other two before going in to this.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, though Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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All is Fair
author: Emma Newman
series: The Split Worlds #3
publisher: Angry Robot
paperback, 416 pages