FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Angry Robot (via Netgalley).
Series: The Split Worlds #1
Publisher: Angry Robot on February 26, 2013
Genre(s): Fantasy (YA)
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?
The summary makes it seem that this book is only about Max and it’s not. There are four main characters, the book takes us through four different points of view, the most of which seem to be Cathy, the “rebellious woman”.
Max is an Arbiter, which is some kind of law enforcement? I’m not entirely sure, it’s never clearly explained what his role is. If I could take a guess he is someone that keeps the “fae-touched and the fae” out of our world.
Our world is called Mundanus (which I giggled at every time I read) and regular humans are all mundanes. Then there is the Nether (where the fae-touched live) and the Exilium where the Fae live. Nether is the between world where no sun, no breeze and no one ages.
Exilium is referred to as a prison, but the Fae are apparently allowed to come and go as they please and they “sponsor” the people that live in the Nether. And the people that live in the Nether are able to do magic and they live like it’s the 1800s. If you are in a Lord or Lady Fae’s favor then you are super popular and rich and everyone loves you.
Cathy is a fae-touched person that hates the Nether because she wants to live her own life and not be abused by her father. She’s also constantly referred to as ugly and ungraceful and just an embarrassment to her social elite family. Once she is captured by her family and dragged from Mundanus back into Nether, she is being forced to marry Will, the son of another social elite family. Will was okay, I suppose. Nothing special.
Sam is a mundane that sees a Fae crime but is charmed to make him forget it. He is stuck in a marriage that seems to be falling apart though his character seems nice enough. (Honestly, I don’t know why but Sam’s character reminds me of all the characters Nick Frost plays in his movies with Simon Pegg; Shawn of the Dead, Hot Fuzz)
Honestly, this book was a big ole’ mess. The first 80% of the book is just set up and then there are a few paragraphs of action. I was left with a ton of questions (Why is Exilium a prison? What is the point of being sponsored by a Fae? If the Arbiter hates the Fae and the Fae-touched why is he helping them solve a crime? What is the point of the sorcerer? Why are they all named after flowers? Etc.). And the biggest plot point is left unanswered, I’m assuming to draw people in for the sequel.
The idea of an in-between world, and a girl struggling to be free is a pretty cool one, but the execution was terrible.