Any Other Name is the second book in the Split Worlds series and therefore this review may contain spoilers for the previous book.
Cathy has plans to escape out the window the night before her wedding to William but her family have other ideas. She wakes up trying to remember what it was she was meant to do. Meanwhile, Sam is trying to get back to normal life and patch up his marriage but he’s not even sure he’s married to the same woman any more. There’s definitely something strange about her new employer.
At least his fiancée was more interesting than he’d thought. Catherine had successfully navigated a mundane through Exilium, carried out a secret spying mission for a Sorcerer and smuggled a sorcerous artefact into the most controversial party of the season. She was clearly capable in a crisis, so why was she so inept at the easiest aspects of life in Nether Society?
It did take me a while to get into the first book, so it was great to just dive into the story, picking up the threads that were left hanging from Between Two Thorns. The gargoyle has less of a part to play this time, but he’s there alongside Max who is still trying to work out who is to blame for the destruction of his chapter. Again, there is a lot going on, but this works as part of a series.
Again, there’s a lot about the oppression of women in the Nether Society. If it were as simple as Cathy marrying her parents’ choice and having her own life, it would be easier to swallow. But her every action is monitored and controlled. The Iris family make Lord Poppy seem like a puppy (I wish there was more of Lord Poppy) and the tension rises as you can’t see how Cathy can win. However Cathy reluctantly sets up house and I loved the insight into the customs and goings on behind doors. Of course, Cathy plans to shake things up a bit.
She’d said with such bitterness that women didn’t have any choices, but she didn’t realise that so few of the men did either.
This line stuck out for me because I was feeling a little bit sorry for William. He doesn’t have a choice in the marriage either and is in love with another woman. He brings forward the date to rescue Cathy from the abuse at the hands of her father and she throws it in his face. He is kind, and OK he has a bit on the side, but I found Cathy to be blinded by her own anger and couldn’t see that he was trying to make the most of a bad situation. He doesn’t even mind her reading books! I hope she is kinder to him in the next instalment as she seems to become aware of her selfishness.
“But we watched the telly. There were proper lights and a kettle that worked. So it couldn’t have been in the Nether.”
I love the world and I love the little bits of humour. The best part is, I don’t have to wait another year for the final instalment which is due out in October. You can also read weekly shorts stories set in the same world for free at Split Worlds.
Any Other Name is published by Angry Robot and is now available in paperback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.